Daily Video Thoughts: Ryan’s PopCrunch Show

Filed as Features on March 11, 2008 4:44 pm

PopCrunch ShowToday, I got to talk to Ryan Caldwell, the Executive Producer of the PopCrunch video show which is switching from a weekly schedule to a daily schedule. While he didn’t have all the information on the logistics, he gave some great insight on the continued development as well as thoughts behind the show.

1.) You have a video production on PopCrunch.com. Can you tell me a little about why you started it and how the format was decided?

I’ve known for quite some time that online success depends on differentiation. I’ve also never been one to back down from tackling competitive niches. When I started working in the celebrity niche, my goal was to differentiate upwards to the top of the figurative niche mountain, with the ultimate goal of being competitive with TMZ and Perez Hilton. As others have noted, those sites are worth millions of dollars. I thought to myself, how can PopCrunch be worth millions of dollars someday?

Video seemed like the clear answer. Create something fun that would make people laugh and you can’t go wrong. Add some quality production value, a great host, and you’ve got something that sets you apart and draws in an audience.

2.) Why are you bumping it up to a daily format? Hasn’t the weekly show been successful enough?

The weekly show has garnered over 1 million views, but we wanted to crank it up a notch and capture the attention of people in Mainstream Media. Our ultimate goal is to build the PopCrunch brand to the point where everyone who cares about celebrities cares about PopCrunch. That wasn’t happening with the weekly show, though the response we were getting was fantastic. On top of this, our viewers were demanding more frequent episodes…so we thought we’d go ahead and deliver. ;)

3.) What kind of costs are associated with producing a weekly show versus a daily show? Do you think you’ll get five times the value out
of the faster releases?

Value is the important word. Our company tracks value not based on direct monetization or even current revenue streams but based on long term equity. So yes, we do believe that we’ll get five times the value in this new format, probably more. Sarah East, the show’s host, is now working on this full time. She’ll now be the face of PopCrunch. She’ll go to events, interview celebrities, do radio, tv and newspaper interviews. The value in having her work on this full time is priceless.

4.) You are an Executive Producer. What are your normal job responsibilities related to that? Didn’t you want to be in the video every day?

My responsibilities involve providing concept and direction, developing show ideas, creating boundaries on acceptable types of content, monetization, distribution and promotion, paying the bills, etc.

5.) If a blogger is looking to produce video, what kind of tips would you have for them?

Develop a concept. The success of a show hinges on your hook. Why are people going to watch this show? It’s not critical that you get everything right from the very beginning, but your central theme, the “reason” for people to watch, needs to be well defined.

6.) If someone said that you are silly for focusing on video due to the fact that search engines currently can’t “read” your content from
the video, what would you say to them? Has that been a concern for you?

I would say this: your mistake is to look only at short term value and short term monetization. Thinking big sometimes requires that you blaze an uncommon path. Video is the future of the ‘net – there’s no question in my mind about that. People use the Internet for 4 main reasons: 1) to socialize 2) to consume news/information 3) to consume visual content and 4) to buy things – it’s my belief that there will be a time when three of those4 elements will be done primarily through the use of video. Like I’ve said recently, there is no reason to expect anything other than a world in which YouTube is the most used, most consumed resource on the planet.

Why? Because the most stimulating of the 5 senses is vision – and because of that, it is the most sought after content medium (there’s a natural explanation for why TV and movie watching have replaced book reading in cultural history).

7.) How many views are your videos averaging and how does that compare to the total readership on PopCrunch?

We’ve had one video hit over 200,000 views and we’ve had some as few as 4,000. It’s not completely predictable. However, I’ve reached the
conclusion that the principles of search apply to both video production and article writing: cover topics that people want to hear about, and more people will consume your content. Our best performing videos tend to cover the hottest cultural icons. Our worst performing videos tend to be the ones that are myopic (narrow niche).

Right now, we get far more pageviews on PopCrunch than we get views of the show, but we expect this to change over time.

8.) You work on so many projects right now, and so how do you find the time to work on all of these projects?

Basically by finding other, quality people who are reliable, passionate and skilled enough that I don’t have to micromanage them. That’s the key in my view. Cheap labor tends not to be reliable, passionate or skilled, though that doesn’t always hold.

9.) Will you continue to be standing behind video for other topics you cover or does the PopCrunch celebrity aspect just work the best for
that medium?

I’ll be starting a new video show on cars (ridelust.com) and on advertising and marketing (adsavvy.org) in the next few months.

If you want to hear more about producing a daily video show like the PopCrunch Show, check out the second episode of the PerfCast where Ryan is interviewed about it by Chris Garrett.

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