Back in August Jim Louderback, the CEO of Revision3, wrote a really interesting post on Advertising Age called ‘There, I said It: Screw Viral Videos’. Jim’s post brings up some pretty controversial issues in the online video industry – many companies and brands put all their efforts into trying to go viral and Jim asserts that this is dragging the entire online video industry down. I had the opportunity to ask Jim a few questions about his aversion to viral video and what he would suggest companies and advertisers do instead of aiming for viral success. Check out what he had to say below.
For starters, lets look at the reasons why Jim thinks that viral video is bad for online video as a whole. He told me, “When you spend all your creative energy trying to be viral, and only a very small percent succeed, then online video overall is seen as unsuccessful, when it’s really just that type of video that doesn’t work so well.” Jim strongly believes, as he writes in his Advertising Age post, that rather than chasing viral advertisers should “start looking closely at online video that delivers repeatable, measurable and sustainable views.” In other words, they should be investing in web series and episodic content, rather than wasting their money on a video which has a one in a million shot of going viral.
I asked Jim what he would say to a company that doesn’t have the money or time to put together a series of videos. He asked, “What are you trying to accomplish? And when putting video together is as inexpensive as opening up the camera on your computer, that dog just don’t hunt no more.” So there you have it – all you whining companies who don’t think you have the time or money to create a series of videos of your own, open up your computer cameras and get to shooting!
Finally, I decided to play Devil’s advocate, and I asked Jim whether he agreed (all advertising aside) that viral is a great way for creators to make a name for themselves and brands to get their name out there? I told him, I know it’s a 1 in a million shot, but if you never try you’ll never have the chance, right? So what was Jim’s response? “Yeah, and the lottery is a great retirement plan too.” TouchÃ©, Jim. TouchÃ©!
Do you agree with Jim’s assessment of viral video? Or are you still holding out for your big, million plus view, viral break?