Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How Old Is Too Old For Internet Video?

"The difference between the 20-something Internet video entrepreneurs and the rest of us is that they aren't afraid to just go out and do it."

Not that Rocketboom needs any more publicity after its recent auction of five 60-second commercials for $40,000 generated tons of mainstream media coverage but a recent article about the company (and the auction) in May's Business 2.0 magazine begs an important question: How old is "too old" for Internet video?

Rocketboom is a five-times-a-week video blog, or vlog, in news show format that covers "whatever we find interesting," according to host Amanda Congdon. She and her producer shoot the Internet video segments in her New York apartment. None of the segments runs longer than five minutes and many include video submitted by "freelance correspondents"—a euphemism for viewers.

Rocketboom has 250,000 visitors a day and estimates 1.6 million segments were downloaded per week in March, up from 910,000 in February.

Congdon is 24 years old.

So what does all this imply?

1. Internet video is proliferating as fast as we thought it would.

2. It can be monetized faster than we thought it could.

3. Advertising and marketing is rapidly trending toward Internet video.

4. Internet video is a young person's domain.

According to the Business 2.0 article, after Rocketboom leveraged its solid niche audience to earn $40,000 in its commercial auction, it quickly won more advertisers and a deal with TiVo to offer the show to a million broadband subscribers "to snare younger, hipper viewers."

But hold on a minute. Who's to say we once-upon-a-time-20-somethings can't play in this sandbox? The largest consumer market in history is well out of its 20s and it comprises thousands of viable niches. Who do you think are paying for all those broadband Internet connections, now estimated to account for 70 to 75% of all U.S. Internet homes?

The difference between the 20-something Internet video entrepreneurs and the rest of us is that they aren't afraid to just go out and do it. Have you checked out Google video or YouTube or any of the 40+ free online video hosting services lately? Young people are just making videos and putting them out there.

Now, think what you could do with all your knowledge, experience and marketing savvy if you put your excuses and fears aside and just started building an Internet video-based business or incorporating video in your existing online business.

We often hear from Internet marketers about this issue. Their questions go something like: "How can I make Internet videos? I'm 60, balding and have a face that's meant for radio." And our response is usually a battery of questions like:

1. What is your market? People your age? Men your age? Balding men your age?
2. What are you selling?
3. Could you leverage your experience and unpretentiousness to connect with people and let them see how believable and capable you are?
4. Do you have a compelling story to tell?
5. Do you have a sense of humor?

Accentuate the positive and just go out and do it. You can start with a vlog or even a video up on one of the free services. The new technology has no age bias and it's pretty easy to learn. Do you think 40+ new free hosting services would have come online in less than six months if it was prohibitively difficult?

What's stopping you from learning how to make your own Internet videos or infomercials and putting it to work for you?

Rocket Helstrom and Michael Koenigs are co-creators of the Internet Infomercial Toolkit and the upcoming Internet Video Starter Kit. |


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