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YouTube isn't the problem.

A while back, I wrote an article for Gawker talking about our overall earnings from Break a Leg and how hard it is to maintain a full cast production with the current Internet model. The problem is, not only did the article get blown out of proportion, but everyone jumped specifically on how much I said we made from YouTube. A fact that is now spreading like wildfire and making it sound like we don't appreciate what the company has done for us.

Here's the lowdown.

YouTube has easily been the most supportive video service to us, rivaling even our great friends at Blip.tv. They've featured us constantly, they've promoted our work, they even called us down to their headquarters to ask us for suggestions on various things. At least to us, they've thrown off the cloak of corporation and been very, very personal and supportive of our work. In fact, YouTube has made a very, very conscious step forward to promote better material, they've been featuring shows like The Guild, Life from the Inside and so on -- they're committed to showing good content. They're also, like I say in my article, the only game in town as far as making money. While we've made a couple of grand or so, there have been other people who make $10,000, $15,000 a month -- and those numbers are huge considering that you're making that money completely independently, with no network or anything like that behind you.

That said, the point of my article is being completely ignored. The Internet model is not ready to handle content that rivals television. Why? Because that content can't be self-sufficient, unlike one-man, Ask a Ninja-type shows.

Am I complaining? No. Am I saying that we made Break a Leg as a cash cow? No. Am I saying YouTube is a bad company and doesn't support us? No. This has nothing to do with YouTube. It has to do with the current Internet model. If anything, YouTube is the only company that has at all helped us pay off some of our costs, as I say in the article -- YouTube is the only game in town.

Again, the point of the article was this -- to the people who say the Internet is going to replace TV? I say, no, the money isn't there. Can you make money from the internet? Oh, absolutely. Catchy sketches, fun, easy-to-shoot videos, shorts, etc. -- those can bring it some great money. A full production with a full cast? Not so much. Is that YouTube's fault? Not even a little.

I'll step off my soap box now.

Posted on Friday, April 18, 2008 by Registered CommenterBreak a Leg | Comments5 Comments
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Reader Comments (5)

yay, youtube!

April 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

YouTube IS the only game in town. And you're right, they have been remarkably personable for being harbingers of the apocalypse.

No, but seriously, YouTube is fantastic! And I'm not just saying that because (for no reason other than to support good content) they've been very good to my show (Life From The Inside)...

No...wait...that IS the reason that I'm saying that.

YouTube doesn't have to stick up for our shows. The amount of traffic that we drive (especially LFTI) is so insignificant, they could ignore us altogether, with nary a dip in statistics, but they don't. They PAY people to pay attention to us! Very cool.

But I hear you about the money issue. The internet is going to take a LONG time to rival TV, revenue-wise. Because there's just too much on the internet. It's too spread out. TV has grown since the days when there were only 57 Channels and Nothing On. Now there's a few hundred. But that's nothing compared to the "Channels" on the internet.

And all internet "channels" are the same. Advertisers don't care what kind of stuff you make. You can make as much money with a blog or a viral video as you can with a show. And a blog is a lot easier to produce. Or a one-off sketch. Or two chicks sharing a cup of poo.

It's all the same to the internet. The internet doesn't care.

Right now there's no real incentive to create quality internet content. And there won't be for a while. Not until the networks get really involved and invested.

Or... internet content creators band together en masse to create a kick-ass internet TV network. Not those crappy ones people have tried in the past, but a real one.

Or perhaps you could advertise on cable? It can cost as little as $25! Seriously. I'm thinking about doing it! Plus it seems deliciously ironic somehow.

April 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobb

Hahah, you crrrrrrazy Americans. What is this "You-Tube"?

April 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSimona

Nicely said...the one thing the internet can be good for in terms of fully produced shows is exposure, a chance to get something out there that previously would only have been seen by your friends and a handful of people at some local showings. The sad thing is Hollywood remains conservative and terrified of change or anything potentially controversial so they remain very timid about supporting new talent.

Oh, and The Circuit is awesome!

April 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael D.

One afternoon, I was in the backyard hanging the laundry when an old, tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home. But when I walked into the house, he followed me, sauntered down the hall and fell asleep in a corner. An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out. The next day he was back. He resumed his position in the hallway and slept for an hour.
This continued for several weeks. Curious, I pinned a note to his collar: "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap. "
The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar: "He lives in a home with ten children - he's trying to catch up on his sleep."

I cried from laughter
Sorry, if not left a message on Rules.

May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissik

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