While online video is nothing new, there have been several developments in the space over the past few months that have convinced me it’s never been more important than right now for every comedian to embrace videos and develop your own personal video strategy.
In light of this belief, I’ve decided to put together a couple posts to help you better understand why now is a moment of incredible opportunity and how you can best take advantage of it. In a couple days, I’ll offer some suggestions about how to develop an effective video strategy, but before I get to that I want to outline why I think now is the time that you have to put effort and resources into creating online videos.
Production Costs Have Dropped And Audiences Have Grown
It’s likely you’ve already posted at least a handful of videos online, but it’s just as likely you haven’t had the time, resources, or production knowledge necessary to commit to an ongoing video strategy. But, thanks to rapidly improving technology and the fact that just about every phone has a built in camera at this point, it’s never been cheaper or easier to produce high quality video content.
At the same time, the audience for online video continues to grow rapidly and the viewing experience has been dramatically improved as the technology has gotten better and broadband and wi-fi have become ubiquitous. On top of all of that, the growth of social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever before for audiences who like what you create to subscribe or connect to your creations, which makes distribution of your creations easier than ever before as well.
This all has combined to create a perfect storm in which it’s never been easier to create video content and get it seen by lots of people.
Money Is Pouring Into The Online Video Space
Another of the big reasons that you may not have put much effort into creating videos is the belief that there’s ultimately no money in it. While that may have been true a few years ago, it’s not any more.
Money is pouring into the online video space from all kinds of different sources including major video distributors like YouTube, brands and advertisers, traditional networks and studios, and assorted other entertainment industry players who are seeking content they can monetize in one way or another. And this isn’t even counting the potential for you to monetize your own videos through merchandise, increased ticket sales, and other means.
YouTube recently invested over more than $100 million to various content producers to create new channels on YouTube and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not uncommon for popular YouTube channels to make more than $1 million a year, and all of these numbers are growing fast.
I’m not saying you’re going to get rich as soon as you upload a video to YouTube, but there is no doubt we are in the midst of an online video gold rush and many of the “pioneers” who invest their time and effort in the space will reap huge rewards as more money continues to shift from traditional media to online video.
This Is Where Talent Is Being Discovered
You can spend all the time you want in comedy clubs and on festival stages, but if you really want a career as a writer or performer in Hollywood then the quickest way to get there is through online video.
I’ve had multiple meetings in the past month with some major traditional media companies in the entertainment industry and even I was blown away by the extent to which people who came out of the digital comedy world (specifically online video) are now at the center of that universe.
Hollywood executives have come a long way from the days when they wrote off YouTube and online video as second-rate crap – now, when they want something funny often the first place they go to look is online. That’s where comedy talent is being discovered and if you’re not living in that world, you’re drastically reducing your chances of being found.
Online Video Will Be The Same As TV Within Five Years
Just about every comedian has a goal of being on TV, but here’s what most of you don’t realize – online video is going to be the same as TV within five years (or less). If you’ve ever used an Apple TV or accessed YouTube through an Internet-connected TV, it will instantly change the way you think about what online video is and what it isn’t.
Within five years (probably sooner), there will be no difference between what is considered TV programming and what is considered online programming. This means that the best way for you to get yourself on TV isn’t to spend your time chasing down representation and auditions, but to spend your time producing your own videos and putting them on “TV” yourself by uploading them online. Create your own show, your own channel, etc., and carve out a spot for yourself that people will be able to watch on their TV sets from the comfort of their couch sooner than you may realize.
There’s a war shaping up between the traditional TV companies and tech companies like Apple and Google for what happens on your television set and trust me, the traditional companies are going to lose. And when they do, people will be able to watch your YouTube channel just as easily as they watch NBC – but they’ll only be able to do so if you actually have a YouTube channel. That’s yet another reason you need to start embracing video now.
The Longer You Wait, The More Behind You Will Be
You may not think you’re ready to start producing and posting videos online, but here’s something to keep in mind: the longer you wait to do so, the more behind you will get.
As with just about everything online, there’s a learning curve and the best way to learn what works or doesn’t is by doing it. You have to experiment to find your voice in much the same way you need stage time to hone your stand up comedy act. At some point, you’re going to need to make videos and no matter when that moment comes, it’s going to take you time to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
That’s why I’d recommend you start now – we’re at a moment in time where new opportunities are being created every day and the longer you wait to start, the less likely you are to be able to take advantage of them.
What To Do Next…
Hopefully, this has at least convinced you that now is the right time to start seriously thinking about what your video strategy will be. But, assuming that’s the case, it leads to a much bigger question – how do you figure out a video strategy that will work?
I’ll tackle that question in a post in a couple days, but in the meantime if you’ve got some specific questions you’d like me to address in it feel free to leave them in the comments below…