Tuesday, June 12, 2007

YouTube And Viral Features

This weekend I attempted to watch Four Eyed Monsters by Susan and Arin on YouTube. I say attempted because I've never taken too kind to whiny emo shit. But given the face of the social Internet, I'm clearly in the minority. In all fairness, what I saw was really quite good. Anyway, Four Eyed Monsters is the first feature length video ever to be featured on YouTube. Clearly, it's not the first on the Internet, as we all remember Loose Change, but it's the first to have promotional tie-ins with the likes of YouTube as well as a social movie reviews site called Spout.com. Spout has agreed to give the indy film team a dollar towards the film's negative cost for every sign-up referred through this one week YouTube promotion. While I would say that this video has had a relatively low number of views (roughly 283,000, while a video of some guy solving a Rubik's cube has nearly three times that number in almost the same time period), Susan and Arin are still the the big winners. Their dollar-per-sign-up Spout.com promotion is yielding a conversion rate of about 5.67%. They've already earned over $16,000. Spout.com committing a buck a sign-up says one thing: They are clearly selling your personal information to telemarketers. Because there's no other way they are recouping that dollar. Granted, they have experienced one hell of a traffic boost since the Four Eyed Monsters promotion began. But still, they've had traffic volume this high in the past which has not stuck.
So, here are the big future-forward questions: What happens when more people want to exhibit features online? If there is an inundation of features, will recouping through a-buck-a-sign-up promotions be feasible? Do such YouTube pushes result in expanded DVD sales following the free viewing period? In the long run, who gains from this? The creators? The exhibitors/aggregators? Can studios with real production facilities compete? It goes on and on. Hang on to those vague questions and we'll dive in more specifically at a later date, cuz right now, I need a nap.

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