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Q&A: MyPod Studios on brands creating online videos

Last week, we had a chance to talk to Jay Miletsky, CEO of MyPod Studios. Launched October 2010, MyPod Studios was created to provide an alternative to the current video networks with content curated by the MyPod team.

Miletsky shared with us his top tips on how brands should create video content on the web and how he would like to see online video advertising and how we deliver it to change.

What led you to create MyPod Studios?

In the agency I ran before founding MyPod, we pitched a new video platform to a B2B client. They couldn’t justify the build so we decided to make it any way and license it to them instead. 

As time went on, I realized I was tired of doing social media marketing even though it is useful and I believe in it. After updating the technology, I took the platform to make it for general consumers and my partner took the clients. 

Do you host the videos yourself? How does someone become a content provider for you?

We have our own server, own database and own player so that we can neutrally brand it. Originally, we reached out to content creators who already had a significant reach or were the larger content providers. 

Since launching in September, we have 20 million uniques per month and creators come to us. On average, we say no to about 75% of them. It’s about watchability not just quality. People want content that is fun, entertaining, informative or educational. We’re OK if it’s cheesy or “bad” as long as it’s fun to watch.

The most popular content is food and drink and health and fitness – anything how to related. Actually this area is so popular that we are launching a how to section!

What makes your offer unique compared to services like Blip or Hulu? And how do you monitize the site for your content providers?

We put PR, social media and outreach behind what we do and all the ads onsite are pay per clicks. We use display ads that rotate every four minutes, pre-roll and mid-roll if the program is over ten minutes long Saying that, we also heavily rely on content providers to spread the word about their programming.

The original model we used (which is what most hosting sites like Blip, etc, do) gives content providers a certain percentage of the click throughs they get on their content pages or videos. This is usually so minimal, they make almost nothing! 

We looked at where most of the revenue was coming from and found it was from the homepage or the content pages but not the individual creator pods. This led to us take a percentage of total revenue and put it into a pot. The amount you’d get as a content creator, depends on the percentage of the total page views were to your pod. For instance, if all the content got five million page views and you got one million of them, you would get 20% of the revenue pot.

Something that we also do that’s a bit different, is we only allow each content creator 2GB of space. If you want to have more than that on the system, then you have to take something off. This actually helps us keep fresh content on the site and makes the creators think about which videos are working the best for them and removing the ones that aren’t.  

Your site isn’t currently mobile enabled as it uses flash? With 19% of phone owners in the US and 9% of all adults are on iPads watching videos online, is this an area you’ll be optimizing for?

By June 1 we’ll be mobile ready. But this isn’t really for that 9% but because we want to start making thirty minute informercials about our platform, our content and our creators. I’m a traditional marketing guy and I think TV is still important. I also know that when people watch TV they also use their mobile or iPad to look stuff up, so we need to be mobile optimized before we head down the television route.

A lot of organizations are starting to become content creators. What advice would you give them in making videos? How can they best reach an audience with streamed video?

Brands make the mistake of making content that shows how great they are instead of helping customers and potential customers. They are too focused on the sales pitch. Brands could, and should, educate in the areas they are expert in. For instance, Chase Bank (or any bank for that matter), could create a short, two minute video on “five ways to save for your child’s education.” They’d give real advice that people should use and could apply to them no matter where they bank. 

As for distribution, they should put their content on multiple networks – YouTube, Daily Motion, Metacafe, etc. Also, don’t just put it on your Facebook page but put it where your potential “fans” may be. In the case of the video on saving for college, maybe you could put it on the Facebook page of Universities or other fan pages that are appropriate for your content.

Also be smarter about where you’re engaging. You could do a blogpost but why not be the first to comment in long form on an article with high traffic, let’s say You’ll get more comments and interactive and then you not only have the thought leadership there, but you can repurpose the post and embed one of your videos on your own site.

What new trends and technologies are you seeing in video? How will this affect marketers?

The biggest one that I see at the moment is ad skipping technology. I don’t think it’s fair. If I’m an ad network, I want to have my ad seen if I’m paying for it to be there. Also by putting the words “skip this video,” it’s like you’re saying, “we, the network, recognize this is crap, so you can skip and don’t need to watch because we think this brand is crap.”

The brand needs to be treated fairly. Instead of saying skip, it should say “Can’t wait to get to my content. Take me there now.” Or you have to type the name of the brand before you move onto watching your video. I don’t like networks disparaging the brand who basically pay their bills.

The bigger problem we are facing is that most brands are repurposing ads for the web. You should be looking at online ads as a thing to itself and not a second cousin to TV. It’s a different type of audience so of course they want to skip the ads that are currently being served. Ads need to be content and be targeted better.

What are your top three video tips?

  1. Keep it short. By the third minute, people often drop off so try to keep it under that.
  2. Keep your videos around a central theme and don’t waiver.
  3. Come out with a consistent publication schedule.  I’ve found that repeat visits ground to a halt when videos are sporadic.

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