YouTube alienates amateur users by courting pros |

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After struggling for years, in late 2010, Driving Sports TV, a scrappy, two-person video production outfit led by Ryan Douthit, finally began supporting itself with advertising income from YouTube.

It didn’t matter that the channel’s production set was simply a green screen in Douthit’s cramped garage in a leafy Seattle suburb; Driving Sports TV’s revenues were roaring like the rally car engines it featured.

Achieving self-sufficiency on YouTube was Douthit’s dream. Then it became a nightmare.

Over the past year, Driving Sports TV’s popularity and revenues have plummeted as much as 90%, Douthit said, as viewers abandoned him for slicker, more professional and better-marketed fare that’s suddenly streaming onto YouTube.

Douthit is among thousands of amateur video producers who helped Google-owned YouTube become the Internet’s most popular video-sharing site.

But YouTube’s thriving amateur core now feels squeezed out by the site’s sweeping transformation from user-generated clips to more professionally produced content, posing a potential dilemma for Google’s long-term ambitions in online video.

“I drank their Kool-Aid,” Douthit said. “I believed their whole pitch, that anybody with talent and drive could make a living out of YouTube.”

A year ago this month, YouTube embarked on an initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire original, professional content in an effort to compete for ad dollars against traditional television networks, digital streaming services such as Netflix and rival Internet companies like AOL and Yahoo.

Tom Hanks, Amy Poehler and other big-name talent are now backing YouTube projects, while Madonna, Jay-Z and Ashton Kutcher have signed up to curate YouTube “channels,” bringing hierarchy to an ecosystem that looks more like Hollywood by the day.

The influx of cash, celebrity and structure has left many small “YouTubers” – the bedroom pundits and aspiring guitar heroes who helped make YouTube popular – feeling alienated and shunted aside.

In July at Vidcon, an annual conference for the YouTube creator community, Jim Louderback, the chief executive of Revision3, a well-known digital video network recently purchased by Discovery Communications, said disenchanted YouTubers were fleeing for other platforms. As he spoke on stage, a slide presentation behind him showed a picture of rats scrambling off of a ship named “YouTube.”

Louderback’s presentation proved prescient – in the past year, as their frustration has mounted, some young YouTubers have begun uploading content elsewhere, a potentially damaging prospect for Google.

In an interview with Reuters at Revision3’s 4,000-square foot studio space in an industrial building in San Francisco, Louderback said many successful YouTubers were exploring how to stream video in their own apps, totally independent of YouTube.

He has poached some of YouTube’s biggest stars himself, signing them to Revision3’s talent roster and shifting some of their videos onto its own website.

“If you’ve got great content, you can find an audience anywhere,” he said.

MONEY VERSUS LOYALTY

YouTube executives say they’ve made a concerted effort to keep all the site’s content-providers happy. However, there is little doubt that the move to more professionally produced content is proving good for business.

“Our big advertisers like the path that YouTube has taken,” said Andy Chapman, head of digital investment at Mindshare, an ad agency that counts Unilever, Kimberly Clark and LG Electronics among its clients. “A number of clients say this looks and feels like the direction the market is going.”

Wall Street analysts like Citigroup’s Mark Mahaney say YouTube already contributes about $3.5 billion to Google’s top line every year, a figure that is expected to climb.

In the U.S. market, for instance, total revenue from digital video advertising is expected to grow from $2.3 billion this year to about $7 billion to 2015, when roughly 40% of the U.S. population will be watching TV online, according to advertising industry analyst eMarketer.

In recent years, YouTube has shared ad revenues with its content creators, based on how many views their videos get. But tensions between the company and video creators came to a head in March when YouTube, which says its streams more than 4 billion videos per day, changed an algorithm that governed which clips were recommended to viewers.

The tweaks, which lowered the number of overall views across the site but boosted the average time viewers spent in each video, prompted many of YouTube’s amateur providers to cry foul, arguing that the move favoured longer, professionally produced content. A group of young users started circulating the #saveyoutube hashtag on Twitter and, in May, when a Google employee sought feedback on the situation on the Google+ social network, she received more than 150 responses from users, many concerned and some bitterly angry.

Douthit, the producer of Driving Sports TV, said he was stunned recently when he saw YouTube promoting Drive – a competing professional program that received investment funding from the site – in ad slots shown before his own videos load.

“It felt like being kicked,” he said. “They’re forcing independent producers like us to go other routes.”

Douthit has since sold his segments to a TV network in South Africa and uploaded segments to Apple Inc’s iTunes, where, he said, they were downloaded 800,000 times last month.

For its part, YouTube executives say they recognize the importance of their “community” and that they are working hard to cater to both the “heartland, heritage YouTube” and the name-brand content streaming in from Hollywood.

“Any time you have a lot of changes, people get nervous,” said Tom Pickett, the company’s global head of content operations. “We’re trying to listen as best we can to the concerns coming out and coach folks through these changes.”

In recent months, company employees have held Google+ video chats to talk creators through their concerns, and next month, Google will open a sprawling, 40,000-foot facility in Marina del Rey, California, offering free studio space and equipment rentals to independent creators who otherwise wouldn’t have access to such resources.

“YouTube is nothing without its content creators,” Pickett said. “One of our key differentiators is that breadth and depth of content, so we’re totally about making it possible for anybody to have that opportunity for success.”

YouTube has in fact deepened its investment in its young would-be stars. Last March, Google acquired video start-up Next New Networks, and turned it into an academy of sorts teaching videography skills and publishing a Creator’s Playbook offering tips on how to promote videos.

The company invited up-and-coming YouTubers with fewer than 300,000 subscribers to apply for $35,000 US in funding and four-day stays at a “Creator Camp” to hone production skills with help from pros.

STRIKING DIGITAL GOLD

To a great extent, the frustration among YouTube’s amateur users stems from the ever-mounting competitiveness amongst their peers. Not unlike aspiring actors, aspiring YouTubers have flocked to Los Angeles with hopes of joining the handful of stars rumored to make million-dollar salaries.

An entire industry of production start-ups, perhaps ironically called “networks,” has sprung up, signing YouTube stars to contracts and helping negotiate ad deals and merchandising tie-ups.

These networks, among them Revision3, Maker Studios, Big Frame, the Collective, Machinima and Fullscreen, use subtle programming techniques to make YouTube’s recommendation engine to highlight their videos more often and also call on their roster of stars to cross-promote rising talent.

YouTubers say it’s becoming impossible to rise to the top without the support of these networks, who increasingly control the levers of stardom.

“The sad thing was when YouTube was first starting out, we didn’t need networks,” said Philip Wang, 28, an independent YouTuber who has made videos professionally since college. “It was people working together and exploring. But now there’s more at stake. People are all fighting for ad dollars, fighting for views.”

YouTube also benefits from the new networks. For instance, the ad deals Big Frame has independently struck with Home Depot, Levi’s and Electronic Arts in turn burnish YouTube’s reputation as an ad vehicle, said Jamie Byrne, the site’s head of original programming.

And not all of YouTube’s amateur providers feel disenfranchised by its move to more professional content. Many argue that the corporate dollars and Hollywood attitudes have had a net positive effect for them. In May, the company disclosed that “thousands” of its young stars now make six-digit salaries from YouTube, up from just a handful a few years ago.

“This is real money – and real businesses – being made. The ecosystem is getting that much stronger,” said Shira Lazar, a YouTube star who went on to host the “What’s Trending” show on the CBS News website.

“It’s incredible,” Lazar said, “if you think how this has all happened in the past three years.”

Source: TorontoSun


Zombie head bowling balls |

zombie-bowl

Guys, guys – the next time you want to organize an evening with the rest of the gang, why not take up bowling as an alternative to just drinking yourselves silly in a bar or at a club? After all, you can still get your favorite ale at most bowling alleys, not to mention this is an extremely social environment for you and the gang to chillax. Of course, being testosterone-laden, you will definitely want to stand out from the rest of the pack – so why not go all the way and send these bowling balls down the lane to knock ‘em pins while scaring your neighboring lanes? After all, it is not every day that you throw a zombie head down a bowling alley, right?

These bowling balls were the brainchild of advertising agency Jung van Matt, who decided to take the road less traveled and printing different zombie heads in various stages of decay and grossness in an advertisement which promotes the 13th Street chain. Definitely eerie when they are at a standstill, what with gouged out eyes and blood splattered all over the place.


Will Google Glass Be Legal To Wear Driving? |

google-glass-driving

As teenage and adult drivers alike continue to allow cell phones to distract their attention from the road, Google Glass advocates and critics alike are questioning whether the device will be legal for drivers to wear once it is available to the public. After all, it’s illegal to use handheld cellphone devices for calling or texting while driving, but Bluetooth headsets or hands free calls are permitted.

Google Glass is clearly a hands free alternative to traditional smartphones so drivers can keep both hands on the wheel, but the notifications show up directly on the screen so the device may be considered distracting for drivers. But since Google Glass provides such a unique experience for the wearer and the technology is so different from what we currently have on the market, only a few people have had the chance to wear Glass at all, let alone while driving.

But one man has already driven 1,500 clicks wearing Glass. Chris Barrett, Google Glass explorer and founder of PRserve, spoke to Venture Beat about his experiences of driving while wearing Google Glass. One of the first searches Barrett used Google Glass for when he received his pair was: “OK Glass, is Glass illegal to wear while driving?” When the search results didn’t indicate any reason he should not drive with Glass on, Barrett drove away from Google’s New York office wearing the device.

Now, Barrett says he wears Glass every time he gets into a vehicle and believes the device has the potential to save lives on the road. He hopes Glass will be categorized “under Bluetooth and wireless headsets…I don’t see this as being any different than an on-windshield display that auto manufacturers have been putting in cars for years.”

However, lawmakers in the UK and several States are already trying to ban Glass from being worn by drivers.

Read more about Chris Barrett’s opinions on driving with Google Glass at Venture Beat.


World’s First JVC GY-HMQ10 handheld 4k camcorder |

Untitled-11


JVC has announced that they have just released the world’s first handheld 4K camcorder, known as the GY-HMQ10, where it is capable of capturing, recording, and playing video images at four times the resolution of high definition television. Using JVC’s Falconbrid large-scale integration (LSI) chip, it is capable of delivering high-speed signal processing and a 0.5″ CMOS imager with 8.3 million active pixels. All that graphical firepower translates to the ability to deliver real-time 3840 x 2160 footage at 24p, 50p, or 60p.

Might this signal the start of a broad market for full 4K end-to-end production? Perhaps, and the GY-HMQ10 could very well, be hailed as a breakthrough product that opens up 4K imaging to users who previously would not even give it the time of day, years down the road should it take off in a big way. While high resolution 4K still picture imaging has been available for some time now in DSLR cameras, motion video capture still remains lagging behind simply because there was no processor fast enough to get the job done – until now, that is. The GY-HMQ10 will ship with manual level controls for audio, with audio metering in the LCD and viewfinder displays, while a microphone holder and two balanced XLR connectors with phantom power are located on the handle. It is not going to be cheap though, selling for $4,995 a pop as it arrives at world markets in March.


Vogel Flex Mount universal mounting system |

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Vogel Flex Mount universal mounting system

02 March 2012


Vogel has just announced its Flex Mount universal mounting system, making it the most recent member of the RingO family that basically allows you to place your tablet just about anywhere at home – in the living room, at the kitchen, in a car, or even at the office. Maximum flexibility is guaranteed here compared to its competitors, and thanks to its patented universal tablet mounting system, the RingO Flex Mount sports a fully-adjustable arm that has full swivel and tilt, letting you adjust your tablet to the perfect position.

The RingO universal mounting system will play nice with both generations of iPads, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Tab. In order to adhere the Flex Mount to the wall, doing so is a no-brainer as all you need to do is place one screw behind a wall plate, attach the holder to the different mounts and you are good to go. Expect the Flex Mount for the RingO Mounting System to retail for $69.99.

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Voice Controlled ivee Digit alarm clock |

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Voice Controlled ivee Digit alarm clock

18 April 2012

Let’s face it, we’ve all woken up in the morning before no thanks to our alarm clocks, only to have to fumble about in a half asleep stupor trying to locate the snooze button on the darn thing. If you thought it’d be a good idea to have an alarm clock turn itself off simply by telling it to, you’re in luck thanks to the ivee Digit Voice Control Alarm Clock, an alarm clock that comes with a built-in voice command feature.

According to its listing, the ivee alarm clock will come with a voice command feature that can not only be used to tell it to turn itself off, but can also be used to ask for the time, the date and even the temperature, and will also allow users to set the alarm via voice commands. Apart from its voice command feature, it’s pretty much your standard alarm clock with three different sleep sounds which supposedly have been “scientifically” developed to produce a state of complete relaxation, and will come with a snooze feature with 9 minute intervals.

The ivee alarm clock can be powered by either 3 AAA batteries or an AC adapter and is available from Brookstone for $49.99. So, any takers?

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Watch An iPad (And GoPro Camera) Survive A 100,000 Foot Drop |

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Watch An iPad (And GoPro Camera) Survive A 100,000 Foot Drop

12 December 2011

There were doubters last time. They stated a 1300 foot drop wasn’t all that a lot. It wasn’t a correct test. It fell onto grass, they stated. Nicely, G-Form is back with a further advertising and marketing ploy.

This time they sent an iPad encased in G-Form’s $45 Extreme Edge case towards the cusp of space and back. The iPad obviously survived. It is an impressive feat if it really occurred. When the iPad at some point touches down, there’s a bit a russling the weeds that sounds far more like footsteps than a parachute crashing.

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Vexia Econav 380 and 480 GPS Devices |

Vexia-Econav

Vexia launches in UK and Europe its Econav 380 and Econav 480 GPS navigation devices. Both units are powered by 500MHz dual core processor and SIRF Atlas IV GPS receiver. They have 128MB RAM and 2GB of flash memory.

The Econav 480 comes with a 4.3-inch 480×272 touchscreen while the Econac 380 has a 3.5-inch display. These GPS devices feature voice instructions, Lane Assistant, Tunnel mode, Road Sign Panels, 3D View, and Pedestrian mode. There are a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card slot.


Vibrating glove improves sense of touch |

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Vibrating glove improves sense of touch

22 July 2011

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology might have come across something which will definitely help one improve their sense of touch – via a vibrating glove which is currently in the prototype stage. This glove sports a special fingertip that was designed to improve your sense of touch, where a small vibration is applied to the side of the fingertip so that tactile sensitivity and motor performance are improved.

After all, previous research did point towards improved sight, hearing, balance control and touch when a certain level of white noise is introduced into the environment. The more scientific among you would call this stochastic resonance. This unique glove prototype is widely believed to be the first wearable stochastic resonance device of its kind, and in the future might be “used to assist individuals whose jobs require high-precision manual dexterity or those with medical conditions that reduce their sense of touch.”

Who knows? It might end up in a gaming peripheral down the road as well, although I would think the more practical implications in the working world would depend on it far more than zapping dead zombies that are trying to overrun the world.

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USB Typewriter is compatible with the iPad |

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USB Typewriter is compatible with the iPad

21 March 2012

We’ve come across many keyboard docks and casings for the iPad, but if you’re a bit sick of the whole sleek and portable concept, then you might be interested in taking a look at this USB Typerwriter Computer Keyboard which works with not only the PC and Mac, but as pictured above, will work with the iPad as well, although granted it will probably cause quite a scene if you were to bring it out to Starbucks.

The typewriter itself is fairly standard as far as typewriters go, those who have used typewriters in the past will know what I’m talking about. It will feature shift, space and return keys and function buttons along with ESC, CTRL and etc will be accessible through a special toggle key. As the name implies, it will connect to your PC or Mac via USB, but will require an adapter if you wanted to connect it to the iPad.

If you’ve missed the sound of typewriter keys clacking away noisily and you’d like to get your hands on it, expect to pay a pretty penny as the USB Typewriter Computer Keyboard will set you back a whopping $699. Alternatively if you’d rather not fork out $699 of your hard earned money, you will be able to pick up the conversion kit for $74, but that’s assuming you have an old typewriter lying about that you can convert. So, any takers?

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