What is “viral video”? It’s a term people use a lot these days — especially when they’re waving their hands and trying to impress you into giving them your money. When The Media Show started out at AfterEd TV, the channel was calling itself a platform for “viral video.” But our most-viewed videos only got a few thousand hits, not millions like, say, Sneezing Baby Panda, or Hamster On A Piano.
We came to the conclusion that “viral” isn’t something you can declare in advance; it’s only something you can see after it happens. But even in hindsight, when can you call a video “viral”? Does it mean it has been viewed a lot? Over how long a period of time? Does it mean the video has been linked to by a number of sites, or just one powerful site which gives it a lot of views? Do people have to forward it to their friends for it to be viral? Does it have to involve “Web 2.0″ technologies like blogs and Twitter, or can it just be sent over email? And the million-dollar question: can you make a video go viral, or does it just happen?
A number of advertising companies which dominate Times Square have websites you and your students can look at to think about how much the ads cost, exactly where they are located, and strategies for reaching Times Square visitors. Among these companies are Sherwood Outdoor, Spectacolor, and of course Van Wagner Communications. We actually did try to calculate an accurate CPM (cost per thousand) for ads seen in home movies using the costs listed by these sites and additional online resources for CPM calculation. You can try running your own with your students! You might also try using Google Maps’ StreetView function to look around the area and figure out where these companies’ billboards are located, look up the names of other billboard companies (check the names at the bottoms of most billboards), discuss the success of different tactics, or talk about how many ads you can see in Times Square.
When The Media Show had been in production for about a year, AfterEd TV’s managers asked me to write up a summary of the past year. This was what I wrote, covering production, publicity, and distribution. Note that our take on YouTube and deviantArt has changed in the year since.
Look at the episodes before and after this document. Did we manage to make the appropriate changes? Which parts of this assessment were correct, and which do you think were off-base?
Weekly production may be overrated.
By now, we have a good, if small, core of subscribers on YouTube and followers on Facebook. A large number of our YouTube views come from the subscriber pages. This probably means people are finding us automatically, without being reminded a new episode is up because of what day it is.