Online Television: Successful Net TV Channel Shows Great Use Of Web 2.0 - Mobuzz.tv
Internet video production done well draws on an entirely different set of skills and strategies to the traditional mass media process. Carving out a presence for your video channel or vlog takes a good understanding of web 2.0 tactics. Mobuzz.tv has risen to great success using just such an approach. Here's how:
Web video is rapidly evolving into something more closely resembling Internet television, whether in the live video sphere of RobinGood.TV or Chris Pirillo Live, or the video-on-demand model best represented by shows like Rocketboom and the Madrid-based Mobuzz.tv.
A far cry from your mother's TV shows, or the grainy amateur straight-to-camera confessions of YouTube, Internet television has a foot in both grassroots media and professional production values.
But video production aside, this new wave of television content has one vital and discerning difference - its use of web 2.0 tools and technologies to blow apart the once firm divide between presenter and audience.
In this overview of Mobuzz.tv, one of the great success stories to have risen from this emerging landscape, I look at exactly how web 2.0 production values have created a knock-out news show from a small studio in Madrid, Spain.
Mobuzz.TV - Overview
Mobuzz.tv is a successful daily Internet TV news digest filmed and produced in Madrid, Spain by a small team of independent producers. Led by producer and CEO Anil De Mello, Mobuzz launched some three years ago in 2004 and has managed to grow and prosper while others have fallen by the wayside.
Producing an impressive two video podcasts a day, one in English, the other in Spanish, Mobuzz has grown to be one of the most successful international video blogs in the world, and this can be put down to a number of factors that we might gather together under the banner of web 2.0 production values.
Each show has content suggested by its viewers, inspires a devoted community to add tens or even hundreds of comments, and can be viewed on a frankly mind-blowing array of devices, from PSP and ipod to 3G mobile phones and HD televisions. Originally conceived as mobile phone content, the show quickly expanded into its current video blog format and has never looked back since.
As such, Mobuzz.tv serves as an excellent case study as to how dedication, a basic production set up and a whole lot of web 2.0 knowhow can grow a tiny independent production into a global business in the space of a few short years.
In terms of actual content Mobuzz.tv knows its audience well, and this audience seems to have a lot in common with that of popular sites such as Digg. Judging by the choice of attractive female news readers, quirky but web / tech-based content and slightly-geeky humor, I would hazard that this demographic falls somewhere in the 20-40 year old male geek ballpark, but demographics are dangerous things.
Whoever they might be, the Mobuzz.tv audience plays an active role in commenting and submitting news stories to be covered, via the community features that I look at in more depth below. This suggests that the content that the viewers are delivered is in direct keeping with the content that they want to see, which is not something that can be said for a lot of the shows put out by mass media broadcasters.
Each show is a compact, web-friendly five minutes or less, and is generally filled with two to four short, snappy content items along with interludes. This is the perfect length for the web both in terms of streaming technologies, downloads and the time that people are willing to spend sitting in front of a video while surfing the web.
Here is a YouTubeized example, which does the quality of the real thing little justice:
One of the things I particularly like about the show is its self-reflexivity and propensity to break the traditional 'fourth wall' of illusion put up in regular newscasts and TV shows. Very often the camera will pan over to the production crew, or reveal behind the scenes details that make it apparent that this is an independent production being shot in a tiny studio by a small and dedicated team. This gives Mobuzz.tv a human touch, whilst never breaking the high quality production values that prevail throughout.
The clean, minimalist design of Mobuzz.tv puts everything right where it should be from the moment you first land on the website. With a clean logo and obvious, instantly identifiable icons for language selection at the top of the screen, and the ability to easily subscribe to the video feed or navigate to the archives clear to see, the rest of the screen is rightfully devoted to the video, along with the links for the currently playing episode.
Everything is uncluttered, functional and obvious within less than a second, thanks to the use of pared-down navigation options, great design and plentiful use of icons. The key choices of subscribing to the feed, checking the archives, changing language settings, watching the video or downloading the content to my favorite device are all evident right away. That can only be put down to careful thought and great design.
The next level of content, that which focuses around the Mobuzz.tv community, can be easily reached by scrolling down. This makes perfect sense, given that those interested in leaving comments, suggesting stories or logging into the community are likely to be already engaged enough to check out the features underneath the surface.
Essentially, then, core functionality is presented immediately, with optional community features within easy reach. This is a great way of ensuring that both passive traffic and dedicated followers spend as much time on the site as possible - both being given what they need instantly.
Content streaming is very fast, especially considering the 16:9, high-quality video on offer, and I found it to be a significant improvement over that of YouTube, which invariably stalls at least once on my current less-than-wonderful broadband connection.
Overall then in terms of usability, navigation and interface design the Mobuzz.tv homepage is up there with the best of them.
The smooth video experience and consistent, quality content obviously play an integral role in the day-to-day success of Mobuzz.tv. Nevertheless, it could be argued that the strong community built around this core video component is of equal significance.
Mobuzz.tv is a company that understands the importance of community-forging and interaction in the web 2.0 enterprise. Those that have taken the time to sign up on the Mobuzz.tv site are rewarded right from day one by being offered an active, participatory role in the production process.
Tapping into the collective intelligence of its viewers Mobuzz.tv has set up a separate part of the website dedicated to the submission and user rating of potential news items. Replete with the personal profile you would expect to find on any social network community website, Mobuzz Newsroom 2.0 gives users the chance to pitch their story ideas via text, images or video, interact with one another and make use of a Digg-like voting system, to propel the most popular stories to the top of the pile.
Wisely, community goes even further however, with the inclusion and prominent sign-posting of the Mobuzz.tv presence across the most popular web 2.0 community destinations.
Viewers are encouraged to check out the Mobuzz.tv Flickr, Technorati, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Revver and YouTube presences, each of which are great ways to drive traffic and work on social media marketing techniques.
Another point in favor of the Mobuzz.tv approach is that of its impressive breadth of content delivery options. The simple fact of the matter is that there are a growing number of ways to watch video content, and that's before you take into account the different platforms being used to access it.
Mobuzz.tv does a great job of covering its bases in more ways than one.
First of all each episode, in addition to being accessible online in the web-favorite Flash Video format, can also be downloaded to your computer or device in Windows, Quicktime, iPod, PSP, mobile and even (apple tv friendly) HD 720p, which is a very impressive addition. So, whether you are on a Mac or Windows box, watching the show from your 3G mobile, or piping it to your high-def television, Mobuzz.tv has a download just for you. That is very forward thinking in my opinion, and isn't something I've seen anywhere else.
But there's more. Because merely supplying a range of formats is one thing, but the next step is to provide a range of access points.
Mobuzz.tv episodes are all up for grabs via RSS syndication, which means that not only can you subscribe to them in your favorite media-ready news aggregator, but also that you can have the very latest shows downloaded right to your computer using services like iTunes and Democracy Player.
In short Mobuzz makes it easy for you to watch the show wherever you like, on whatever device you like, and all without ever having to worry about missing an episode thanks to the simplicity of RSS.
More Web 2.0 Tricks and Tools
And there are still a few more Web 2.0 tricks and tools that Mobuzz.tv has up its sleeve.
Crucially, each episode of the show is tagged. Tagging is as much a part of the Web 2.0 landscape as ice is to the arctic, so it's great to see tags being effectively used to cross reference shows and add an extra dimension to search.
By clicking on any one of the tag keywords featured next to a Mobuzz.tv video, I am shown any and all videos that feature this same tag. This provides an additional means by which users can browse and search through the vast archives of shows that span back as far as 2004.
What's also cool is that Mobuzz.tv makes use of Creative Commons licensing, the open, web-friendly, more sharing way to license your online work. If you haven't encountered the ideas behind the Creative Commons you might want to check out the Robin Good team's video remix that fills you in on the details.
If you are already familiar with CC licensing, you will be pleased to hear that Mobuzz.tv content is licensed under the Spanish edition of the CC Attribution Non-Commerical Share-Alike license, which affords users quite a degree of control over how they use Mobuzz.tv content, including the ability to mash it up and remix it.
One final feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of a bookmarklet that will allow you to easily submit web content for future Mobuzz.tv shows as you surf the web, at the click of a single button. This is a great way of making it easy for Mobuzz.tv fans to feed into the ongoing news content that makes it to the show.
Besides the consulting work generated by Mobuzz.tv, setting up vlogs and web video for corporate clients, the show does well with a combination of advertising-based revenue streams.
Each show is sponsored and a very brief pre-roll video advertisement for this sponsor runs prior to the commencement of the current episode. While I am not a huge fan of pre-roll advertising, the brevity and targeted geekiness of the ad-content doesn't actually detract significantly from the Mobuzz experience, and this brief imposition seems like rather a good fit overall.
In-video advertising aside the Mobuzz website features a combination of image-banner ads and contextual text-based ads, both supplied by Google. These are the stock-in-trade of blogs across the planet, and I'm sure that they yield at least a reasonable income for the producers of the show.
This seems like a winning combination for those looking to monetize their video regardless of how or where it is viewed on the one hand, while adding an additional revenue-stream to the community content built around the videos.
Mobuzz.tv is an excellent example of Internet television done the web 2.0 way. By investing as much time in making its videos accessible as it has in producing solid, daily content Mobuzz.tv has managed to build a strong and loyal community.
And community is the key word here.
Because rather than leaving its viewers out in the cold as a passive audience, Mobuzz.tv succeeds in making them very much part of the production team. From the start viewers are encouraged to become contributors, as to leave comments on a show you must first sign in. Once you have set up your account - which takes seconds - you now have the option of not only commenting, but also suggesting, uploading and voting on user-submitted news items for future shows.
Furthermore, in addition to this active viewer participation there are a wealth of ways of accessing and viewing content - from RSS syndication, subscription through popular services such as Democracy and iTunes, and the ability to watch Mobuzz.tv on devices that include the video iPod, PSP and even 3G mobile phones.
It isn't just about making your viewer involved, but also making it easy as possible for them to get their daily fix of your content with a minimum of effort on their part. Mobuzz.tv manages to achieve this on every level.
There has never been a better time to get involved on the frontiers of video-blogging, citizen journalism and homegrown content production. Trailblazers like Mobuzz.tv show how you can transform your small independent production into a global business, and there is much to be learned from their approach to web 2.0 style Internet video production.
Your fifteen minutes starts now.
If you would like to learn more about Mobuzz.tv, you might want to check out the following links:
- The Mobuzz.tv website
- Mobuzz CEO Anil De Mello's blog
- BBC coverage of Mobuzz.tv
- Gabe Mac video interview with Anil De Mello
- Joi Ito for Blog.TV visits the Mobuzz.tv studio
Originally written by Michael Pick for MasterNewMedia and titled: "Online Television: Successful Net TV Channel Shows Great Use Of Web 2.0 - Mobuzz.tv"