New Media Film Festival LIVE via MMTVN’s Red Carpet Report Opening Night + Audience Choice Winner Announcement

Online media and live web TV network company, Mingle Media TV, have announced the winners of the “Audience Choice” online voting category in the 3rd Annual New Media Film Festival, which officially kicks off on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. This year’s festival will take place at the Landmark Theatre in Westwood, California. Mingle Media TV’s Red Carpet Report will also be covering the opening night Red Carpet LIVE streaming on Stickam.com and Mingle Media TV’s site and their CEO will be moderating a panel on Wednesday.The winners of the Audience Choice Awards, where viewers online vote for their favorite web series for this year are:
1st Place: Almost a Turkish Soap Opera
2nd Place: Men e Men TV
3rd Place: Up Up Down Down, The Series
Winner of the Audience Choice Awards: Almost a Turkish Soap Opera

Winner of the Audience Choice Awards: Almost a Turkish Soap Opera

The festival will be screening 80 New Media Films from 14 countries and have a full day of panels starting at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 that read like a who’s-who in new media, gaming and Hollywood and include multi-genre actors, writers, directors, producers from Web, TV, Movies, and Games.

LIVE Streamed Opening Night Red Carpet

Watch the LIVE streamed Red Carpet from The Landmark Theatre starting at 7:00 PM PT on the Mingle Media TV Network Tuesday night at http://www.minglemediatv.com/specialevents.html.  To watch the live stream on your computer – go to http://www.MingleMediaTV.com/SpecialEvents.html where the stream will be shown – you can log in with your twitter, facebook or other social network to chat in the chat room.You can also watch the LIVE stream from your iPad/Tablet or Smartphone by getting the FREE “STICKAM” APP and at the time we go live search for “MMTVN” to find the live stream.

For more info about the festival, visit their website: http://www.NewMediaFilmFestival.com.
3rd Annual New Media Film Festival

3rd Annual New Media Film Festival

How You Can Make the Most of #WebSeriesChat on Twitter

Why #WebSeriesChat?

Over a year ago Patrick from Slebisodes and Stephanie from MingleMediaTV decided to host a weekly chat to help bring together independent filmmakers, writers, actors, fans, producers of web series to share ideas and build community.

Initially, we were pulling in guests which was really fun to meet people outside of the LA web series world and then we would have topics from funding to marketing to budgets. But sometimes it gets old. We have always been open to suggestions from our community and have supported community events from festivals to Celebrate the Web.

With that said – there are some rules of the road that we all should follow. Here’s the business side of my brain along with feedback we’ve seen from others in the community who have tried to join the chat but have found it somewhat disjointed at times.

We are not “Cat Herders” 

  • We announce via Twitter and Facebook the topic of the day before #WebSeriesChat starts, we also tweet it during the chat – so @MingleTVNetwork @Slebisodes or searching on #WebSeriesChat in Twitter will provide you with what we are talking about for that week.
  • If we have an invited guest, we encourage you to join in the conversation and ask questions about their series or expertise.
  • We ask that you keep OFF TOPIC conversations off #WebSeriesChat during the hour – you are free to chat with anyone on Twitter – but keep the #WebSeriesChat hashtag off if it is not related to the current topic
  • We ask that you keep your promo tabled until the end of chat as the last 5 minutes are dedicated to self-promo.

Respect your fellow creator.

Twitter is not like a BlogTalkRadio or Stickam show where the hosts can hold the conversation / topic without being interrupted by the chat room. In a Twitter chat – your off-topic tweets are in the stream. These tweets to other participants are a distraction and are disrespectful to the guests who have agreed to join the chat and share their expertise for that brief time period.

  • If you don’t like the conversation topic – then don’t use the #WebSeriesChat hashtag and hold your own conversations separately.
  • If you don’t like the conversation topic – and have a topic you’d like covered – tweet to @Slebisodes or @MingleMediaTV and suggest it for coverage for a future #WebSeriesChat session – that way your topic will get the attention it deserves
  • The weekly #WebSeriesChat is hosted by @Slebisodes @MingleMediaTV and we’re the hosts and the leaders of the “show” – so respect us, the guests and or the topic selected for the week – we’re trying to support the community and it is not all about YOU when it’s time for the weekly #WebSeriesChat on Twitter – it’s about the topic/guest.

With that said – we are huge supporters of the Web Series community – we provide services to many web series by promoting their series through listings and hosting on our respective sites. We are panelists at festivals and industry events and have made the weekly chat something we didn’t give up on like so many others before or during us – it’s not easy to promote and hold chat every week – and we do it. We also are trying to bring NEW people into chat so you are exposed to other ways to launch your series successfully.

You may agree that sometimes the topic has been beaten to death over and over  in chat and nothing new is shared – hence the need to come up with new and fresh topics that are planned by @Slebisodes & @MingleMediaTV for that next #WebSeriesChat.

There are other weekly chats from other industries on Twitter and they are very focused and the audience is very in-tune with what is going on for that week. We want #WebSeriesChat to be fun and engaging – but if you aren’t happy with the topic, you don’t have to stay and disrupt it – we won’t hold it against you.

We want to make this chat something that helps all involved with web series meet new people, learn new things and we always welcome your suggestions AHEAD of TIME to making it even better.

Thanks for participating and supporting the weekly chat.

Are You a Cord Cutter?

It’s true… more Americans are gravitating to digital media and embracing services like Netflix, iTunes and Hulu where they can watch their favorite shows and movies on demand. Check out who’s leading the pack and saving money!

Are you a cord-cutter?

More Streaming Video in Texas?

More Streaming Video in Texas?

Funny thing happened along the way to the NMFF Web Series Audience Choice Awards…

It seems like a long time in the making… but when you’re working with a live film festival that has two events a year (Los Angeles and San Francisco) you want to get as much exposure for the content creators as you can… you learn a lot about the community at large and what you can do to make the next round even better.

Our goal originally was to help web series creators showcase their series in an online Festival that was an IMDb qualifier to help them get credits while participating in the festival. We created a specially branded webpage for each series with keywords, branding, contact info and links back to their website, Facebook and Twitter pages right on it and a player that had all their episodes in order. This model is a win-win for the series creators – they get new people to discover their content during the course of the online voting time period, Mingle Media TV promotes them on a regular basis for votes on Twitter, Facebook and their website, the content creators get their fans to support them, they get IMDb credits, exposure in a film festival dedicated to new media, a chance to be screened at the festival, and they get the views on their YouTube channel.

This year we had 57 entries from five countries – not bad for our first year. But we also saw that many entrants just put their series in and really never promoted it for voting. If it is just to get the Laurels for entering – that’s disappointing. We also saw that many creators who are not very Internet savvy, missing out on the benefits of participating in the retweeting and reposting of our promotion. In fact, we even saw some of their fans complaining that we were promoting the series they LIKED on Facebook…

On My Soapbox

Yes, I'm on my Soap Box...

One of the many benefits of creating indie content online is that you can do what you want…. no restrictions by ratings organizations. Same with film festivals – you meet their criteria, you get exposure and who knows what else. Mingle Media TV is an online, interactive TV Network – yes, I said TV. As a society we are programmed with the terms “Movies & TV” for entertainment. As a marketing expert, you learn that you brand and message to the lowest common denominator – so making up new ways to describe what you’re doing doesn’t work unless people adopt it globally. Think Xerox versus copier, Kleenex versus tissues, Bandaid versus adhesive strip – great examples of how a brand became the thing – and is used as a global term. The world is changing and the convergence of mainstream TV shows streaming through the Internet is happening now.

Indie web series creators have been here for a long time – especially considering the Internet is so new. Creators have had the home field advantage and only a few of them have grasped the reality of the need for audience, marketing, branding and building community. Creating for art or yourself and not caring if you are adopted by the masses or found is totally fine. However, most creators want to have that audience reach and have sponsors and compete with mainstream TV shows. But they lack in the basics of the medium they have chosen to publish to.

In the past several months, I have been working with Rich from Web Series Network to try to help creators with these issues, education. Much to my dismay, many of the complaints on why more creators and producers are not joining in is no time or money. Then why complain about not having an audience – this is not the Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come…. I have also been slammed for not doing it for free? Really? Everything you need to know about SEO, promoting and marketing your content is available with a GOOGLE SEARCH, so why should I give away my time and knowledge if there’s nothing in it for me? On top of all we do at Mingle Media TV for our community members, asking for more free for those who are not members of our community is pretty insulting. We partner with Slebisodes.com to hold a weekly #WebSeriesChat and share ideas and interview hot web series creators to help open up dialog and community, I am a regular participant at the Web Series Network, I am a regular speaker at industry events, sharing my knowledge and we promote webseries at premieres, festivals and yet… there are a few voices who feel that I should not be charging for what I know. (funny cause there are several others out there who do and you don’t seem to be saying anything to them…. wonder why?)

We are on Internet time people, and while you are sitting back and spouting off more excuses why you cannot promote, market or build audience rather than just digging in and setting goals and making it happen… the rest of the world including traditional TV are moving into your HOOD and they are taking YOUR audience. Wonder why no one finds you… you are not doing anything. Personally speaking, when someone tells me I can’t do it or won’t be successful at it… I set my mind to showing them how wrong they are…. what does hearing that do to you??

Business of Web Series Boot Camp

Business of Web Series Boot Camp

Mingle Media TV Network will be offering several boot camps starting the first of June through their newest division: The Business of Web Series. These bootcamps will be offered to the series who are hosted on Mingle Media TV as well as the series who enter the next round of competition for the New Media Film Festival. We also offer our services for a fee –  and guess what, we get paid fees by TV shows and other new media producers to create winning programs for them…. That’s how we survive without trying to make pennies on banner ads (ever wonder why we don’t have “ads on our site”???  - cause we monetize smartly).

With that said – we want to make this next year of competition that much better for new media producers – web series creators and we are going to start with our Business of Web Series Boot Camp program. We are all about positive change and helping the community, but we are also about doing it on our terms and with those who want to participate in a program that will help them secure their place on the Internet.

Don’t forget  - today is the last day to vote for the 21 finalists in the 1st Annual Audience Choice Awards in the New Media Film Festival Sponsored by Mingle Media TV Network… vote 1 time per series… support your community. Winners announced at the festival red carpet on the 20th LIVE streaming on Mingle Media TV.

Web Series Creators Need to Get Savvy! Continuation of #WebSeriesChat Conversation

As you may know, I’m the co-host of the weekly #WebSeriesChat on Twitter and each week we chat about the business of “web series” in 140 characters. There seems to be a recurring theme in the chat which is somewhat due to new creators finding our weekly chat and some of the regulars still not figuring out all the pieces. So, I thought I’d share some of my knowledge with you in this post and hopefully inspire you to see the glass half full – not empty.

First, I have questions for webseries creators – are you creating art or do you want this to be your business? There is no wrong answer to this question. But this blog post is focused on the creators who want this to be a business – to get paid, sponsored, and continue to create.

There are several elements to launching any “product” and as a creator you need to have a plan and work the plan. As a professional marketing strategist, I spend a lot of time watching and reading trends in the industry that I work in. (In my career I have launched over 35 software/mobile products from startups in Silicon Valley to Fortune 500. You can read my resume at LinkedIn if you’d like to see more.) I consult with a lot of different companies including TV Shows about using social and new media marketing to engage with their target audience and getting sponsor love.

When I started pitching web shows over 2.5 years ago, I had to have some research to support the reasons why the brand / advertiser should sponsor my site / and shows. This is what some people refer to as marketing “spin” and it works if done well and in a way that makes YOU the trusted source. With that said – here are some questions and answers that might help you with your quest to build audience and get sponsored.

Question 1 – How many people do you need to have watching YOUR content to be valuable to an advertiser?

I got pretty frustrated seeing some comments today about needing a HUGE audience to get a sponsor. Not true. If you believe you can’t do something – guess what, you won’t. If you have a good product, a good presentation, know your audience potential and USE the Internet then you can get a sponsor. Now this does not mean you should not be building an audience while you are writing, filming, editing and producing your webseries. You should be a social media expert – you’re creating on the web – use it. Facebook, Twitter, connect with bands on Myspace and make a partnership where you promote their music and they promote your series (no more garageband music for your opening).

Here’s what you need to know – the value of a fan is worth something to the brand. You have fans. 100 – 1,000, 10,000. They have value – especially if you are talking to an advertiser who wants to reach YOUR audience. Let’s say your series is in the Teen Horror genre and you have 1,000 Facebook fans and your series gets 5,000 views an episode.

Value of A Facebook Fan

Value of A Facebook Fan

You find a sponsor who wants to reach the teen audience, you share with them your “social media savvy” i.e. community that you’ve built from your blog, press mentions, video, distribution, Twitter and Facebook activity. And you use these channels to post messages about your sponsors even asking your FANS to LIKE the sponsors… what’s that worth to the sponsor? There are a number of studies that show the engagement of a Facebook fan being greater than any other social media platform out there.

Additionally, these fans are also valuable to the brand this graphic shows the value at over $136 per LIKE. If you use your social media marketing arm and ask your fan base to LIKE your sponsors – and they get 1,000 LIKES from your community – that’s a perceived value of $136,000. Imagine getting 10% of that to create your season 1 of your series and then having a guaranteed season II when you double that audience and the fan base for you and your sponsor?

OH – and here are a few other things to think about when you worry about “video views”… If you are engaging an audience online – they don’t have to watch the video to talk about YOU and your project.

- 10,000 views translate to 10,000 people watched all or part of your video

What it doesn’t tell is how many places that video is embedded on (benefit of YouTube being easy to embed in reviews, articles, blog posts, social networking sites). It also doesn’t tell how many links to the video are out there with comments about the video, how many people on Facebook have seen the brand name associated with your project as the sponsor. It does not tell how many people were exposed to the brand and your project without ever watching the video or what the quality or influence of the viewer is on and offline.

This is where I use the marketing spin… the unknown can be a positive thing.

Oh, here’s ONE more fact for you: the entire Internet digital video market (advertising revenue) is around $1.1 Billion. Guess where $500 million of that comes from? The premium TV shows found on Hulu.com and other sites. There is $60 Billion spent on traditional TV advertising. We’re just getting started in tipping the digital advertising dollars towards digital web content. This means that video advertising inventory is scarce – and offering a brand a special social media engagement might net out more value to them as they are investing in content – banner ads are NOT content.

Online Video Viewership Growth Fast Facts:

  • 32% more people watched video online (Dec ’09 to Dec ’10)
  • 12% more time watching video content in Dec ’10 – i.e. 14 hours average
  • Watching TV online at the networks site grew 82% (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox)
  • Multi-Screen Viewing Habits are growing TV, Computer, Mobile with 68.2% of US Internet users watching video each month (158.1 million people)

Why you need to get Internet Savvy? The average number of sites that 70% of consumers visit is 20 and only about 16% of Internet consumers are trying new sites… if there are 158 million people watching video online today, you need to start thinking outside of the box to reach them.

Question 2: What’s your genre? Where do people go on the Internet to chat about it?

Fan forums, communities, search Twitter conversations (that’s what the SEARCH bar is for in Twitter) engage with people who are passionate about what your theme is… Start sharing what you are doing, get people to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, your YouTube channel.

Bottom line – don’t wait until you have produced your series to start engaging with your audience. Use the different social media outlets, post photos, story lines, character info while you’re creating your project – get engagement. You need to get on Internet time… and you need to get savvy about the business of online video.

Question 3: Do you know what a Meta-tag is? Do you use them? Do you ask for comments and Ratings? Do you use Hotspots and Annotations?

I can’t begin to tell you how many videos I have watched on YouTube that just have a name as the title – no description and 2 words in the tags. REALLY? No one will find you in search. Oh and Google is the #1 Search Engine with about 70% of all global searches…. and who is #2? YouTube. No one will find you if no one can find you. Put descriptions and links on your videos – to your website, twitter, facebook – make it easy for people to find you. Use more than 2 keywords in the tags! Use the space in the title to tell people what your video is.

Did you know that 43% of YouTube’s top 100 videos are from YouTube partners? Ray William Johnson has six of the top 20 spots. Do you know how he does this? (1) He asks for comments and ratings with specific questions about what you just watched. ShaneDawsonTV has gotten 70K comments because he asked for them. (2) Incorporate your viewer feedback – you can make your episodes longer, improve sound, lighting or whatever the feedback is and your audience will love you for it – in fact why not do what Ray does and give viewers credit for helping improve his content. (3) Use hotspots and annotations: after a viewer watches your video on YouTube guess what – something “related” comes up and it’s probably NOT something YOU created. When your credits are rolling at the end create an annotation and hotspot to drive people to your website, fan page or twitter. ASK and they will follow you – especially if they liked what you created.

This concludes my blog rant… I hope that it has given you some good food for thought and that next week on #WebSeriesChat you come with some tips for the chat about what you’ve discovered that works for you rather than make blanket statements that you don’t have enough views.

Yes – I Rant More: Google TV? IPTV? What Do The Consumers Want?

Well… of course, this is one for the books… I’m right? LOL.

A recent study showed that HALF of Americans HAVE or Want Internet- connected TVs!! This week on our #WebSeriesChat (Wednesdays, 11 AM PST on Twitter hosted by Patrick Bardwell of Slebisodes and Stephanie Piche of Mingle Media TV) the discussion came up on length of an episode and earlier conversations were about what the impact of GoogleTV for Web Series creators. Of course, we all have our opinions and many creators are still creating short-form (3 minute average) length video content while our position at Mingle Media TV is that for our audience long-form (30-60 minute average) length video content is perfectly acceptable (in the past two years, I have executive produced over 3,040 hours of long-form video content.)

Other interesting factoids to contribute to the conversation about Connected TVs, Audience and Age:

  • The average age of social networking site users: 37 Years Old
  • The average age of a Facebook users is 38 Years Old
  • The average age of a Twitter user is 39 years old – and 65% of Twitter users are 35 or older
  • Average time spent on YouTube per month in the US: 1:12:20
  • An average of 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute (which is equal to about 150K full length films over the course of a week)
  • YouTube streamed 5,799,702,000 videos in June 2010 in the US
  • Hulu streamed 598,812,000 videos in June 2010 in the US (about 1/10th of YouTube)
  • 36% of YouTube viewers are between the ages of 18-34 and are 50% male

What does this all mean? Well, first there is Venus and Mars to contend with. Men like the remote control option (you know, channel changing) hence the multiple short form viewing of “college humor” type videos…

But then there are women, if we’re going to watch video online, we become invested in that story, the characters and don’t want it to end after 3 minutes… we will watch long form and we are watching it.

I digress… a recent study showed that we are becoming more comfortable with alternative ways of viewing long-form video, including watching those missed TV episodes from last night on Hulu. What does this mean? We need to adjust for our audience – we need to create for our audience… we need Internet connected-TV’s not apps (yes more of my rant).

Organizations like iSuppli Corporation say by 2014 there will be 148 million web-enabled TV’s sold, up from an estimated 28 million in July this year which is double that of 2009.

Internet-Enabled TV Sales Worldwide, 2009, 2010 & 2014 (millions)

However, DisplaySearch, thinks the numbers will be higher in their projections with 45 million being sold in 2010 (we still have 2 more months)  but only about 119 million sold by 2014. Considering most of us had to buy a NEW TV in the past 24 months due to broadcast changes – a slow down in purchasing web-enabled or 3D TVs are not a surprise to me… but then again, I do connect my Vizio flatscreens to the Interwebs already and surf… remember AppleTV? It’s really not hard if you have a Playstation 3 or MacMini to do it today… our other methods for the other TVs.

Internet-Connected TV Shipments Worldwide, 2010 & 2014 (millions of units)

So with 50% of us already doing it… what are people in such a huff about GoogleTV? Because they want to sell you apps and try to monetize on apps and make life a living hell with – say it with me… APPS!!

TV Connected to the Internet, June 2010 (% of US internet users)

So if there are 221 million US internet users today and about 50% of us are already connecting to the Interwebs…. why are people clambering for the GoogleTV option? why is there a question about how long an episode created for the web should be? Or for that matter, what the future of TV is going to be? By the time GoogleTV is adopted at any high rate to make sense – TV viewers will already have had their existing HDTVs connected to the Interwebs and watching their favorite TV shows on the nice, big FLAT Screen TVs…

Oh yeah… and if you are creating for the WEB – keep in mind that you need to create for your audience and if you don’t have an audience or a plan to build an audience, then I would recommend stepping back and thinking about that as part of your creative process. Nothing worse than losing your audience because you kept them wanting.