Flip Launches 2nd-Gen MinoHD

Pure Digital — which was acquired by Cisco earlier this year — launched its second-generation Flip MinoHD video camera today, featuring a bigger screen, more memory and the ability to share video straight to Facebook.

flipminoHD2

The new MinoHD is priced at $229 and records two hours worth of footage at a video resolution of 1280 x 720. Like its bigger Flip UltraHD brother, the MinoHD now comes with a 2-inch screen so you don’t have to squint to see what you are shooting.

The easy-to-use portable video space kicked into high gear this summer as Apple introduced its video-capable iPod Nano to take Flip head-on. Video is becoming an increasingly important part of our online conversations. And both the Flip and the Nano are meant to capture the quick moments while we’re out on the town or out with the kids.

Flip has always made it easy to share videos on YouTube, and with today’s update, the bundled FlipShare software adds the ability to share clips directly onto Facebook (once you’re hooked up the camera to your computer). As YouTube makes moves towards more premium content, Facebook is picking up the social video slack, and reaping the benefit of those views. Yesterday, Nielsen numbers showed that Facebook was a top-10 video site for the month of September with more than 110 million video views. Flip adding direct sharing capability certainly won’t hurt that stat.



Is There Anything You People Won’t Watch on the Web? Nope: Video Views Up 25 Percent.

Is there anything you people won’t watch online? Doesn’t look like it, based on the newest Web video numbers from Nielsen. While stats show that the overall size of the Internet video audience has increased by 12 percent in the last year, the amount of video consumed has shot up 25 percent.

Check it out (click tables to enlarge):

Nielsen total views

Note that these numbers are actually all down from August. Apparently some of you spent your last days before returning to work or school in front of your Web browser.

Meanwhile, Nielsen’s Top 10 list has the usual suspects. That is–Google’s (GOOG) YouTube and then everyone else. Interesting to note the disparity between total audience and total streams on Hulu compared to Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft’s (MSFT) MSN. Hulu is attracting a smaller but much more engaged audience than the big portals.

At some point, this could be a problem for the joint venture between News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox, GE’s (GE) NBC Universal and Disney’s (DIS) ABC since advertisers ultimately want reach. But it’s still astonishingly early for the site–recall that it only went out of beta in March 2008, and doesn’t have a major portal promoting it.

Nielsen top 10

One caveat: Note that for whatever reason, Web video publishers tend to push the numbers they get from comScore (SCOR) more than the Nielsen numbers. But directionally, they tend to say the same thing.

Allrighty, then. If you’re going to spend so much time watching Web clips, best to make sure you’re watching something excellent. Like this clip from last night’s “The Daily Show”–a classic evisceration of CNN. Jon Stewart and crew often go after the cable channel and its brethren, but this one is particularly good. Warning! It is more than 11 minutes long!

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Leaves It There
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Ron Paul Interview

Fighting Words! Time Warner Says Comcast/NBCU as Dumb as…Time Warner/AOL.

bewkesJust in case anyone thought Time Warner had any lingering interest in NBC Universal, this ought to put it to rest: Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes just compared the proposed Comcast/NBCU deal with the disastrous one his company made with AOL nearly a decade ago.

At an industry conference in Manhattan, Bewkes repeated arguments he has made in the past: Chiefly, that big media mergers have a lousy track record and that he couldn’t see how Comcast (CMCSA) could unlock any value by buying a majority stake in NBC Universal from GE (GE).

“Somebody has finally noticed that these things don’t work out so well,” he said, adding “We love to see our competitors taking risks.”

But just to hammer that point home, Bewkes compared the proposed deal to the one his company made nine years ago when it embarked on an ill-fated merger with AOL. That deal (made when Bewkes was running Time Warner’s HBO unit)  “basically made no sense” at the time, he said.

The main talking point in favor of that transaction–that connecting Time Warner’s content with AOL’s Internet distribution would create synergy–was “nonsensical,” he said. But “these kind of arguments, you’ll hear some of them this week, in the other merger that we’ve been talking about,” Bewkes said.

Clear enough?

Wall Street, by the way, remains unimpressed with the proposed deal as well: Comcast shares are down about 10 percent since word got out.

In other reiteration news, Bewkes also said, again, that he doesn’t plan on selling his Time Inc. publishing unit. Though he left himself a tiny window of wiggling room by noting that “no public company can ever say that it wouldn’t consider restructuring some part, whether it’s Warner, HBO, whatever.”

But Bewkes insisted that Time Inc.’s best-known magazine brands, including “Time, People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle,” are holding their own as print products and that the challenge will be turning them into online successes.

“We have basically a healthy business in terms of our relationship with readers. These brands mean something and they’re evolving…,” he said. “If you can’t take the leading titles that people have known for decades, and use the new world to make them relevant, really, shame on us.”

The Smearing of Obama’s ‘Safe Schools Czar’ Kevin Jennings

kevinjennings

With the resignation of Van Jones and the sinking of ACORN, the right-wing noise machine sits on a mighty perch.  The mainstream media shows every sign of capitulating to their new pimp, at the ready to swarm whatever prey is selected for them.  The latest victim-to-be is the Obama administration’s “Safe Schools Czar,” Kevin Jennings.

Before I get to deconstructing the mountain of smears against Kevin Jennings, let me tell you what he has done.  Kevin  Jennings has made our nation’s schools safer, for my children and yours.  As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network and the author of several books, he has striven to end discrimination in our schools, and to foster an environment that values diversity.

As the father of 2 teenage boys, one of whom is openly bisexual, the work that Kevin Jennings has done engenders a particular gratitude in me.  Before I ever knew his name, Kevin Jennings touched the lives of my 2 oldest boys when they each joined their school’s Gay/Straight Alliance.

There may be some who are unmoved by the plight of LGBT students and their quadruple suicide rate, and to them, I say that anti-gay bullying doesn’t just kill gay kids.

I remember reading in April that an 11 year-old boy had hung himself due to anti-gay taunts, and that his was the 5th such suicide this year.  The idea that being called gay is so horrible that you’re better off dead is not something that can be fought with zero-tolerance policies, or enforced by teachers who still think certain kids “make themselves targets” for bullies.  It has to be fought in the hearts and minds of our children.

This is why Kevin Jennings must not be driven out of office.  His work has helped my son to feel safe enough to be open about who he is.  My son tells me, however, that at back-to-school night last week, there were parents ripping GSA posters down off of the school walls.  Kevin Jennings still has a lot of work to do.

NEXT: The Smearing of Kevin Jennings: NAMBLA, Fistigate, Drugs


The Secret of Chad Hurley and Steve Chen’s Famous “Two Kings” Video. Revealed!

chad hurley and steve chenRemember the era-defining video that Chad Hurley and Steve Chen made three years ago? The one where they looked simultaneously giddy, groggy, and perhaps a tiny bit intoxicated, and announced that they had sold their video site to Google for $1.65 billion?

That clip, it turns out, is an unlikely homage to…wait for it… the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy. Really!

Go ahead and look at the first two clips at the bottom of the post. Note Hurley’s reference to “salt and pepper” and “two kings getting together”. See? In the Diddy clip, too. Who knew? (OK, so at least one of you did).

Anyway, Hurley references both clips in a blog post he’s published this morning commemorating the anniversary of the sale. He also announces that the site is now serving up “well over” 1 billion video views a day (last month Comscore (SCOR) estimated YouTube was doing 10 billion views a month in the US.)

And there’s also some general talk about the site’s evolution: Rather than focus solely on short clips, it’s also working to bring in movies and TV shows, etc. Nothing you didn’t know already.

Expect to hear more meaningful — but equally upbeat –  talk about the site’s progress next Thursday, when Google (GOOG) announces its Q3 earnings.

Last quarter, Google executives went out of their way to talk up the site, and CFO Patrick Pichette said YouTube could start generating significant profits soon. This week, CEO Eric Schmidt also made a point of praising the YouTube deal, and the site’s performance during a New York press conference.

Here, once again, is that famous clip.

And here’s the one Hurley was apparently referencing.

And here, once again, is the most popular clip in YouTube’s history:

Has YouTube Finally Figured Out How to Play Nicely with Big Media?

YouTube snuck up on big media, then scared the hell out of it, then tried to do business with it, more or less unsuccessfully.

Now, three years after Google (GOOG) plunked down $1.6 billion for the video site, it seems to have figured out an approach that works for at least some big players: Hand over a chunk of the site to content creators, who get to control it, sell ads on it, program it with their stuff, and share some of the ad dollars.

It’s a pretty straightforward compromise: YouTube gets some of the ad dollars that “premium” content — stuff you’d see on a TV screen, basically — can generate; content-creators get access to the the gazillion eyeballs that the world’s biggest video site attracts. Examples: See the pacts that Sony (SNE), Disney (DIS), Time Warner’s (TWX) Turner, Warner Music Group (WMG) and Universal Music have hammered out in recent months.

And that sounds like the deal that YouTube and Britain’s Channel 4 have reached. Telegraph:

YouTube and Channel 4 have been in talks for at least the last six months and a contract is expected to be signed imminently. The Telegraph understands that Channel 4 has negotiated the right to sell its own advertising around its content on YouTube and share the revenue with the Google-owned site.

A senior television source close to Channel 4 said: “It was key for Channel 4 to be able to sell the advertising around its own inventory so it could extract maximum value from the deal and retain commercial control over its own property.

“When the Channel 4 content formally appears on YouTube, it will be branded exactly the same way as it is on the Channel 4 website. It will be a fully Channel 4 branded space and look as if someone has picked up 4 on Demand (Channel 4’s online catch up service) and put it on YouTube.”

.,.The partnership will be the first formal arrangement YouTube has agreed with a British broadcaster in which the majority of its content will be shown in full on the video-sharing site.

No comment from YouTube. If the report doesn’t pan out, I’m assuming it won’t have any impact on anyone reading this in the U.S.: The Web is worldwide, but these content deals tend to be specific to various territories, which means you won’t be able to watch British programming from the States. Fair enough: My non-US readers always gripe about not being able to watch Hulu clips.

Look Who’s Selling Warner Music’s Videos on YouTube: Veoh’s Sales Team

green_day_Last month Warner Music Group (WMG) won the ability to sell ads on its YouTube videos. Next step: Getting someone to sell ads on its YouTube videos, since the music label doesn’t have its own sales team.

Warner is handing those duties over to Outrigger Media, a New York-based rep firm that specializes in Web media  (Outrigger’s preferred description: “Internet video sales and marketing firm”), the companies announced today. (Oddly, Warner’s release goes on and on without ever once mentioning Google (GOOG) or YouTube once. Go figure.)

I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of Outrigger before this morning, but I had heard of its CEO, Mike Henry, an ad sales veteran who was previously running ad sales for Veoh, one of the many video sites that aimed at becoming the next YouTube during the past few years. Turns out Henry is still running ad sales for Veoh — it has outsourced its ad sales business to his new company.

Warner’s strategy is different than the one that its rival Universal Music is taking with Vevo, the “Hulu for music videos” joint venture it has launched with Sony (SNE), with help from YouTube. Vevo is creating its own in-house sales force, to be led by Nokia and and Viacom vet David Kohl.

I can understand Warner’s reluctance to build one of its own — if you really want to do this stuff right, you’re looking at 20,30 people — but it seems that long-term, if the labels have a future, it’s going to be primarily as a sales and marketing force, and you’d want to make a bet on that now. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.