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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Miles Beckett Post, Talks about his project’s!

“Is creating a viral hit really what you want?” It’s a question on the mind of every Web producer. In the first part of our Celebrity Guest Writer series, Miles Beckett, founder of YouTube hit lonelygirl15, divulges his secrets on building an audience.

This is the first article in a series of Celebrity Guest Writers offering their insight into issues close to their experiences.

by Miles Beckett

“Johnson, make me a viral hit!” Right now irrational demands like that are echoing throughout boardrooms and advertising agencies around the world. The question is: What is a viral hit? I don’t think most people know. Most importantly, is creating a viral hit really what you want? Not necessarily. Counterintuitive, I know, but hear me out.

A viral hit is a video, picture, or piece of media that spreads around the Internet like wildfire. Numa Numa. Bonsai kittens. That email from the Nigerian dude. A viral hit explodes into the global consciousness overnight and disappears just as quickly. That’s the problem. In order to create a sustainable business or translate awareness into increased sales, companies must do more than simply create a viral hit that disappears just as quickly as it appears. They need to build and sustain an audience and foster a relationship with the community that forms around the content they produce.

lonelygirl15, the online serial that I created with Mesh Flinders and Greg Goodfried, certainly has penetrated the global consciousness. We made the cover of Wired and we even won VH1’s “Big in ’06 Biggest Web Hit” award. But, was lonelygirl15 actually a viral hit? Not really. There’s no doubt that awareness of lonelygirl15 spread around the world like a virus, but none of the lonelygirl15 videos were actually “viral hits.” In fact, while some lonelygirl15 videos have over a million views, most average 300,000 views.

lonelygirl15 was a popular YouTube series produced by EQAL

The LG15 franchise, comprised of lonelygirl15 (which ended in August 200 8) and its UK spin-off, KateModern, is successful because it has attracted an audience that regularly visits the websites to view the episodes and interact with the community. To date, the two shows had over 190 million views combined. Rather than simply create a viral hit, we’ve built a sustainable audience around two online serials and fostered a relationship between the content and the community.

So, the question isn’t “How do you create a viral hit,” it’s “How do you build and sustain an audience around your content?” Some of the strategies are new, and others are as old as marketing itself. It boils down to three things: producing compelling content, integrating community tools into the show, and marketing to the right audience.

In terms of video production, the content needs to fit the medium. It should feel like user-generated content so that the audience can interact with it, but it also must be professionally produced so that it tells a compelling story. We have created a hybrid approach to online storytelling that merges the best principles of traditional television (weekly story arcs, A plots and B plots, and dramatic cliffhangers) with lightweight production teams and novel techniques including the use of jump-cuts, rapid editing, and concise and witty dialogue.

The communities that form around our shows are eager to interact with the characters and storyline. It’s important to construct content in a manner such that it demands interaction. Characters should reach out to the audience and ask for their input. We break the fourth-wall constantly. Characters talk to the camera, shout out to fans, and communicate via the comment boards, forums, and chat rooms. On KateModern, characters use the social networking tools available on Bebo, including status updates, blogs, and whiteboards.

Finally, it’s important to bring your content to the audience. All of our shows are tied to community websites (YouTube and MySpace in the case of lonelygirl15, and Bebo for KateModern) that are composed of a demographic interested in the content we produce. The members of those websites are young, tech savvy, and interested in short-form, interactive content that fits into their multi-tasking lifestyle.

So, who wants a viral hit? I don’t. I’d choose a sustainable audience over a flash in the pan viral hit any day. “Going viral” can certainly increase awareness of a brand, but the only way to build an audience and create a sustainable business is to do it the old fashioned way: hard work, thorough planning, and persistence.

original source:http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/265143

Courtesy Miles Beckett
Beckett, the founder of lonelygirl15 and KateModern

n1ckola airing on January 26 on the www.n1ckola.pl platform.

Leave a comment!


The girl appears to me n1ckola.~mm


  1. Should a guy who's constantly been losing viewers since the day Bree died, to a point where several hours of silence in chat and only a few posts a week on the forum are the norm now, really give advice on building a sustainable audience?

    Especially with community-alienating moves like the new website under his belt? -_^

    Sorry if I'm sounding mean, but this is the second time in two days where EQAL's world doesn't quite seem to line up with reality...

  2. who are those girls?

  3. I would think that Girl Tied Up would classify as a viral hit but of the 'one off" kind.

    What the early lonelygirl15 had was the most powerful kind of viral marketing which is very hard to reproduce.

    Advertising companies are certainly looking for new online ways to tell a product 'story' which makes it all the more shocking that TR launched without a sponsor. That was a huge mistake because after the views are down it damages your brand and your credibility.

    Still with HG and N1 and $5m in the bank Eqal, Inc. is not out of the game yet, so hopefully they can still pull a sponsor for TR2.

  4. The girl appears to me N1ckola.


  5. To Anon up there, EQAL does not "equal" lonelygirl15. They've moved on to other projects. Lonelygirl15 was an unprecedented phenomenon, and was the spring board that led the C's to create an international company.

    With their new shows they have actual budgets and backing. I'd think working for CBS as opposed to going thousands in debt, not being able to pay your actors and filming in your own homes is a success.

  6. Debt? I thought they were financed by Conrad Riggs.

  7. in the beginging they were majorly indebt, i believe amanda described visa as an investor at one point! lol. gosh this would ahve been majorly usefull for my thesis, i could ahve just plopped it right in as a quote and got a few more hundred words done lol. its very clear and concise!

  8. http://newteevee.com/2008/02/28/mark-burnett-not-funding-lonelygirl/

    A "small investment" does not "equal" being financed by Conrad Riggs modelmotion.

    But you can continue the negativity. It won't take away the fact that the C's pretty much created a new genre, and it won't take away from their success either.

  9. i think mm was joking, but conrad was a key angel investor. "small" is relative.

  10. Concise and witty dialogue? lolz - is that the way we described it on the forums?

  11. I was just stating a fact. Very early on it was financed by credit card from what I understand but Conrad's investment was substantial and I believe he was also providing office space for them. If anyone can accurately lay out the time line and the hard numbers it would make for a great article. I know that there has been some discussion of this over at Anchor Cove but to take things at face value in this universe is probably not the best option.

  12. Oh, I think they may have used their credits cards up to the point where they fired Yousef. I think that might have been around the time Conrad came on board with the angel investment which was substantial. If Miles wants to correct me on that then be my guest.......

  13. oh, and I believe that Miles dad was actually an angel investor in the very early stuff. He has now been rewarded with an equity position in Eqal, Inc.

    I think it is great that both Miles dad and Conrad financed the show because otherwise we would not have had all the fun over the past 2 years but clearly there was external money involved in the process as you would expect for any new venture. New companies do not grow on trees. You have to pony up if u want to reap the return but it is always risky. That is just how the venture world works and very few actually pay off in the long run.

    So, good luck Eqal, Inc.


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