Tag Archives: YouTube

Flickr Burns

More Flickr zeitgeist

Flickr is the news — particularly its long, spikey tail. Here, Flickr user johndoe40 records the recent attack on the US embassy in Belgrade. Also note the Belgrade protestors staging a televised ‘fuck you’ by mooning at the mainstream media’s cameras. How long before we dispense with embedded news reporters altogether? Or are we just replacing the mass media’s agenda with that of the individual citizen journalist?

Source (typically): a blog (namely, Jezebel). We filter our news through our interests now; not the other way around.

UPDATE: more citizen journalism from Belgrade — two female looters are currently featured on YouTube.

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Britney Fears

Celebrity tragedy for sale

Footage of Britney Spears being hospitalised for the second time in a month hits YouTube and Google‘s search advertising hits postmodern paydirt. Running next to the clip is an ad for a ringtone of Britney’s current single, ‘Piece of Me’, in which she sings about her life of overexposure and exploitation:

I’m Miss American Dream since I was 17
Don’t matter if I step on the scene
Or sneak away to the Philippines
They still gon put pictures of my derrière in the magazine
You want a piece of me?
You want a piece of me…


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GI Jonny battles HIV

Action Men in new AIDS awareness campaign

The BBC and the Terrence Higgins Trust have collaborated on this ad to ‘raise awareness of HIV amongst 16-34 year olds’, although the language used (with references to ‘barebacking’ and ‘fisting’) makes it clear who the target audience is. The series of films also direct viewers to an interactive website, where they can find out more about HIV and AIDS and customise their own GI Jonny virtual action figure. Their own creation can then be forwarded to friends and downloaded to Facebook (this bit didn’t seem to be working when we checked it out).

According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, the number of people in the UK with the virus has risen from 30,000 in 2001 to 70,000 this year. Research by the charity also suggests there is still widespread ignorance about HIV, particularly amongst young people. A recent poll of 1,000 people found more than 20% of people aged 18 to 24 mistakenly thought there was a cure for HIV. Among the same age group almost a quarter believed condoms had holes in them which let HIV through. So the more information, the better then. Weird though that it took the agency — in this case Kontraband — to get the thing up on YouTube.

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Al Jazeera and YouTube To Share Ad Revenue

Google and Arabic news channel cozy up

TechCrunch notes that Al Jazeera has signed a commercial agreement with Google last week to share advertising revenue on their YouTube channel:

This comes even as U.S. cable operators continue to shun the 24 hour news service — only Toledo, Ohio based Buckeye CableSystem and the municipal cable suppler in Burlington, Vermont offer the channel to viewers.

Al Jazeera uploads all original programming and unique news to the channel. Interesting to be reminded that the US still has to go to YouTube to see Al Jazeera (whose worldwide audience rivals that of the BBC) while here in the UK the channel is even available via Murdoch’s network.

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Daft Hands

A nice slice of the enormous creativity OUT THERE.

[Thanks to Helen]

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Power to the People

YouTube’s Rodney King moment.

The BBC is reporting that a video showing two LAPD officers beating up a suspect has been posted on YouTube. The video shows two officers punching William Cardenas in the face and pinning him to the ground with a knee to the neck, while he struggles. The incident in Hollywood occurred in August and was filmed by a local. A report by the two officers said Mr Cardenas resisted arrest and they feared he would try to grab their guns.

As reported on the LAPD blog [which -- props to them -- clearly states that it moderates comments but has left a lot of critical ones up], Los Angeles police chief William Bratton described the footage as disturbing but said an investigation had to be carried out to decide whether or not the use of force was appropriate.

“There’s no denying that the video is disturbing,” Mr Bratton said. “But as to whether the actions of the officers were appropriate in light of what they were experiencing and the totality of the circumstances is what the investigation will determine.”

Hoax or not (and this story is being carried by Indymedia as well as the BBC), somewhat sinisterly, comments had been disabled for the footage that we found purporting to be of the incident. Is this more evidence of Google locking YouTube down?

UPDATE: a video has now appeared of a recent incident where a UCLA student was tasered by police in the university library. Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and then taken into custody when he did not exit the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in a timely manner. Community Service Officers had asked Tabatabainejad to leave after he failed to produce his BruinCard during a random check at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Expect much more of this kind of sousveillance turning up on YouTube . Story via PerezHilton, of all places.

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YouTubers YouTubeing about YouTube deal

“Is this the Google apocalypse?” asks one…

As soon as the Google/YouTube deal was confirmed, YouTubers were busy yakking about it into their webcams. Fears over increased advertising and the sheer size and influence of Google seem to be the main themes. This of course gives Google a live and evolving focus group of users to help them decide if not what to do (we strongly suspect they already have a Big Plan — if not several) then how to do it. On the corporate side, Google are also having to assuage client News Corps’ fears about their burgeoning media empire… suddenly that scary little film about Googlezon doesn’t look so fanciful…

Source: Lostremote.

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Warner Music Gets It

Warner Music buys into fan-created content through a landmark deal with YouTube.

We’ve said before that the corporations and content owners who will survive in the convergence age are the ones that set their content free to proliferate. Warner Music have today demonstrated that they utterly understand this. As Warner proudly exclaim on their press release:

Warner Music Group becomes the first media company to embrace power of user-generated content. YouTube to deliver innovative new architecture to help media companies harness the financial potential of user-generated content.

What Warner have done is hand over all their entire library of music videos as well as behind-the-scenes footage, artist interviews, original programming and other formerly proprietary content. In doing this Warner have given YouTube users creative carte blanche with both the footage and their music catalogue to remix, mess up and distribute as they please. WMG has thus become the first music company to exploit YouTube as a distribution channel — as the press release goes on to state:

More importantly, [Warner] becomes the first global media company to broadly embrace the power and creativity of user-generated content through a wide-ranging agreement with the category leader, enabling its artists to connect with a vast new audience in an entirely new way.

So far so thrilling. But how (I hear WPP, Viacom, Fox et al cry) does anyone — the artists, Warner, YouTube — plan to make money out of this? Here’s the science bit:

WMG will have the opportunity to authorize the use of its content by the YouTube community by taking advantage of YouTube’s advanced content identification and royalty reporting system, set for release by the end of the year. YouTube and WMG will share revenue from advertising both on WMG’s music videos and user uploaded videos that incorporate audio and audiovisual works from WMG’s catalogue. WMG’s music video library and special artist content will be made available simultaneously with the launch of YouTube’s content identification and royalty reporting system.

Some guy who runs the company, with a nice turn of phrase which we plan to nick, adds:

Technology is changing entertainment, and Warner Music is embracing that innovation. Consumer-empowering destinations like YouTube have created a two-way dialogue that will transform entertainment and media forever. As user-generated content becomes more prevalent, this kind of partnership will allow music fans to celebrate the music of their favourite artists, enable artists to reach consumers in new ways, and ensure that copyright holders and artists are fairly compensated.

We wish Microsoft and Viacom all the best in playing catch up.

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That was Then. This is Now.

No one wants their MTV anymore.

The original music video channel is losing out to MySpace and must have been shaken to its soles by the news that YouTube is planning a bottomless music video archive. The music video success story of the 80s and 90s, MTV has done pretty well in the noughties with cheap-but-effective formats such as the Pimp My Ride and Crib formats, but can it survive the convergence revolution?

According to the Wall Street Journal, MTV has failed to migrate its viewers online. Its much flaunted online property, MTV Overdrive, attracts fewer than four million unique visitors a month, a minute proportion of MTV’s 82 million monthly US viewers. In contrast, MySpace gets nearly 55 million unique visitors in the US a month and YouTube draws 16 million.

The really devastating implication of this for MTV and other broadcasters is that its brand can’t seem to save it. In the shiny new world of fan-created and fan-consumed content, users couldn’t give a toss about who delivers their stuff — just that they get it. The other problem is how to keep up with a youthful audience shooting and distributing their own stuff faster than an MTV with its studios, producers, licensing, artist management and the rest.

MTV’s stumble has lessons for major media companies watching the explosion of video on the Web. In the closed confines of cable TV. where competition is limited, MTV has protected its niche by portraying itself as the iconoclastic outsider. But the Web is a free-for-all, and the roster of competitors grows every day. MTV, now part of the establishment and late to the game, wrongly assumed its famous brand name and product would have the same resonance online.

And — as many big media players have also found out to their horror — their big corporate structures and strictures won’t protect them either. The anarchic aspect of sites like YouTube and MySpace is precisely what makes them havens for teens. MTV and other Viacom properties are subject to the kind of censorship of content that saw CBS fined $500,000 for Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction‘ in 2004.

One 15 year old quoted by the Wall Street Journal reasons: “MTV is supposed to be ‘music television’, but they don’t really have the music part, they have a lot of reality shows.” And as we know, if you’re not speaking clearly and honestly in the new emergent world, then no-one’s listening. And, as a teen, if your options were MTV vs. the Land of Do As You Please which would you choose?

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The Legend of LonelyGirl15

An online fiction with a life of its own.

We’ve written before, and as believers, that a future of narrative involves transmedia: the tactical use of multiple media to build and spread a many-faceted story, or to sketch a fictional world. Transmedia, at its best, promises to punch through the screen, tear up the page, and engage audiences in a fluid, immersive experience somewhere between traditional story-telling and alternate-reality gaming.

With a few notable exceptions, transmedia is as much media-geek theory object as it is template for successful fictionalising — but it’s a hot topic getting hotter by the day. This week’s case study is the story of YouTube star-in-the-making LonelyGirl15, whose transmedial existence is described in loving detail by New York magazine. Word on the Internet is that her site is set up to promote a film. Or not. Whatever. The sign’o’the times is the degree to which the fantasy has been bought into and built on by others online:

Ironically, her most prominent critic—a YouTuber named ­Gohepcat, a film-geek hipster in mirrored sunglasses and a cowboy hat—has become a mini–YouTube star in his own right. And because anyone on YouTube can post responses or theories about Lonelygirl (and plenty have), her story now has its own metastasizing, David Lynch–worthy cast: Not just Lonelygirl, Daniel, and their ­monkey puppet (don’t ask), but the ­Javert-like Mirrored Cowboy; her defender, Nerd With the Headset; a nemesis called Lazydork; and Richard Feynman. (Yes, Richard Feynman, the famous physicist. He doesn’t appear personally—it’s a long story.)

There’s always been a section of the fan community willing to dive into co-creation, but post-Reality-TV, post clip culture, everyone wants their 15 click-throughs of fame. LonelyGirl15 is just the kind of cultural attractor to encourage them on their way.

If you haven’t read Convergence Culture yet, now’s a good time to get it on order: the wave of transmedia is still gathering speed, and when it hits the mainstream, it’s going to hit hard.

[Thanks to Andrew for the tip-off].

UPDATE: The LA Times has an interview with the LonelyGirl15 film-makers. In a nutshell, like the charming ‘How to be a chav’ Film, the work is the creation of aspiring film-makers:

“We did this with zero resources. Anybody could do what we did,” Flinders said Tuesday. The sum total of the equipment they used to create a sensation on the Internet, as well as perhaps the web’s biggest homegrown mystery: “Two desk lamps (one broken), an open window and a $130 camera.”

Goodfried said Creative Artists Agency in Beverly Hills got involved about a month ago — well into the lonelygirl15 story — through a friend who works at the agency. “We went in there one afternoon. I walked around the place, and met some cool young guys that got the idea and said they would help us,” he said.

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