Quality in the UGC era


Uploaded by bigtentevents on 05.10.2012

Transcript:

MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL:This has been quite a conversation.
We've had everybody from industry leaders to insurgents
who have touted how extraordinary it is to have
the ability to broadcast yourself.
And as Kevin pointed out, anyone with a video camera and
anyone with access to the internet can make content
cheaply, quickly, and within a matter of seconds, get it up
to an audience worldwide.
And they can do that without intermediaries.
They don't have to ask anybody's permission.
They don't have to face an editor, or a curator, or a
publisher, or a studio.
They can just put it up there.
So that begs the question--
in this kind of egalitarian Wild West, how do we account
for quality?
And does quality even matter?

Is quality measured by the amount of hits that something
on the internet gets?
Is it measured by what Kevin defined as this kind of
creative community where in fact what really seems to be
important is the extent to which the content begins to
engage other content creators?
Or is it an issue is, as Michelle talked about, of
production values?
And how do we compare the quality of something on the
internet with conventional media-- with
television or film?
So we have a really spectacular panel this
afternoon who's going to address some of those issues.
And I'm going to take a moment to introduce them.
With us today is Brooke Posch, who's vice-president of comedy
and animation at Comedy Central.
And in her role, she oversees development for studio, game,
unscripted, and animated pilots.
And so that's on television and on the web.

Sitting next to Brooke is Mike Hale.
He's been with The New York Times for 17 years, and he is
now their television, film, and online video critic.
That's a new role now for him as an editor and reporter.
And Ben Relles who now oversees programming strategy
for YouTube.
And he comes to YouTube after establishing a successful
comedy channel online.
And last but not least, Shane Smith, who is the CEO and
founder of the global youth media company VICE.
And I think both Shane and Ben have videos which they're
going to show.
And so what I'd like to do is to throw out an opening
question and ask each of you to answer it.
And then I'm going to have questions individually
targeted to each of them.
So starting with you, Mike, now that everyone does have a
video camera and popular entertainment can come from
almost anywhere, what does that mean for the quality of
what we're watching and what's being programmed?
MIKE HALE: Well, I think the question of quality with
online video, to answer it honestly, is almost
impossible.
Because I think online video contains a variety of types of
content that's as great as, or really much greater than,
television itself.
The range is so wide.
And as a critic, when I look at it, I have to focus pretty
narrowly on kind of one end, a higher-end, more professional,
more entertainment-oriented end.
And when I think about quality and online video, that's where
I tend to think about it.
I mean, I think across the wide range of online video--
someone before in the previous panel raised the question, is
it art, which I don't think is really a relevant question.
It's online video and it's all interesting.
And in any category of it, you can discuss
the relative quality.
And I think there are areas in it where it's equal to or
greater than what you see anywhere else.
And some of them are kind of predictable in technology
reporting, say, or in gaming, or in certain specific areas
of news and lifestyle content for women.
There are things being done online that
are as good as anywhere.
The question then becomes, for me as a critic specifically--
and this is a very different I think for most
people in the room--
is that something so distinctive or different that
I want to write about it or I want to focus on it.
And often, it isn't.
And at that other end, at the kind of end of drama, I'll
just say one thing.
There a lot of things you could say.
But what very quickly happened, I think, was that
online video coalesced into something that looks and acts
a lot like television.
And in many cases, is in business with or is feeding
into or is somehow conditioned on television.
And without saying that's a good or bad thing, I think
that's a big part of the question of quality there is
that both as creators and viewers, I think, we've been
so conditioned by TV in a way.
And the economic setup is such that it's just inevitable that
this relationship is so similar.
And I think I'm waiting going forward to see, are people
going to find ways to tell stories that are more
different or not?
I don't know if that's going to happen.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So Brooke, you do programming
both for television and for the web.
And are there any differences in your mind in quality when
you're programming one or the other?
Do you have different ways of thinking about that?
BROOKE POSCH: Yeah, I mean, I think within looking at stuff
for comedy, especially Comedy Central, we sort of live by,
funny is funny is funny.
So you can watch something that maybe shot as crudely as,
say, Keyboard Cat, who's on the screen.
I bring Keyboard Cat up in every conversation.
Or you look at something like someone that's shot, say, on
like the Red Cam or something.
So if you're looking at quality for how it's shot,
that's not necessarily our meter for
what I'm looking for.
I mean, I look at whether it fits for our demo and the
types of jokes and the amount of jokes and obviously the
writing that's in it.
I would say now, quality for comedy, it's probably the
greatest time to be doing stuff online for comedy.
You also have a lot of these young comedians and these
companies, like Front Page Films which, is Oren Brimer
and Pete Holmes.
They come packaged as directors and
comedians as well.
So there are sort of these small studios themselves that
can create content, which is a very exciting time for me as a
buyer because you get both.
You get very funny writers and performers that have naturally
paired themselves with directors and creators, which
I think is a sort of--
before Comedy Central, I worked at MTV, and it's a very
younger mentality to come up and to be a creator and to
create better content.
But then at the same time, you can watch something that's
shot very crude, and I will call a meeting with those
people, because I believe the nugget of what they've done is
funny and I can help them along with their vision to
create more quality.
But I think when I say quality like that, I think visual
quality, like making sure it's shot and looks
beautiful and edited.
But as far as my level of what quality is to me, it's jokes,
and if it's funny, and if it laughs, and it's a right fit
for the network.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So Ben, you also did comedy as well.
So from your point of view, how would you
begin to define quality?
Is it for you, as Brooke says, is it funny?
That's the key, that's the kernel?
BEN RELLES: Yeah, I mean, I think if the question in part
is what has online video and sites like YouTube done for
the quality of content, I do think there's more quality
content being created right now than ever in history, just
because there's a platform for people to create it.
So in any given day now, there's thousands of people
posting comedy sketches, or short films, or makeup
tutorials, or whatever the type of content is.
I just think there's a lot more quality content now,
because creative people have a platform
they didn't have before.
And for me personally, that's definitely what YouTube did.
The first channel that I started was this channel,
Barely Political.
And it was a comedy channel that certainly wouldn't have
existed if it wasn't 2007.
In 2003, there would have been no place for us
to put those videos.
But like a lot of other categories in comedy, YouTube
democratized it a little bit.
And so instead of having to work through the Harvard
Writers' Group and then get a gig on SNL, and then finally
get my sketch seen by millions of people, it was actually
just create a video on a Friday, and six days later, 3
million people saw it.
And that was definitely an eye opener in terms of this levels
the playing field, and it creates opportunities for
people that weren't there before.
And that's true in a lot of categories.
I do definitely agree with your point that in some ways,
online video can look like TV.
But I also think it's exciting that a lot of times, things
break out that would not fit on TV at all.
Where in music, you have a channel on YouTube where a
girl's a violinist, and she's like a pop star on YouTube in
a way that you might not have seen through
the traditional system.
Or in comedy, you have a group like the Gregory Brothers who
remix candidates and make them say different things.
And maybe that wouldn't have fit somewhere else.
But online, it exploded.
So there's a lot of quality stuff that breaks out that I
don't know if it would have had a home
without online video.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So Shane, you've recorded
documentary video all over the world.
And I caught an interview that you did recently where you
talked about some of the youth, the
unrest that you've captured.
When you're communicating that, how do you think of
quality when you're putting that on the internet?
SHANE SMITH: Well, the first thing we ever made was, we
launched VBS, which later became vice.com, was Heavy
Metal in Baghdad.
And we launched it as a 15-minute piece online.
And then our editors said, hey, this is a feature film.
He'd worked on Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.
And so we said, OK, make it a feature film.
And then it went to TIF and won critic's choice, and then
it went to Berlin and won best doc.
And so at the time-- this is a long time ago.
It was 2006, 2007--
there was sort of online content, which was
synonymous with crap.
And then TV, which was OK.
And then sort of, ahh, the holy grail of film.
And so we went sort of this.
We went right to there, and that's when we came out of the
pond and said, OK, we're going to make what we call premium
online content, which just meant not crap.
But when we talk about sort of what we do--
because we sell to TV in 23 countries, and we have TV
here, and we have films--
we just make content.
And I guess what we're saying here is if it's funny, great.
It will work.
We try to make content.
But that content has to be good enough to go to film, or
go to TV, or online, or mobile, or what have you.
But what I think what everyone's saying here is it's
kind of like punk was as a kick in the ass.
Because if it's funny, great, put it up there.
They could be worse musicians.
They don't have to be prog rock, whatever.
The punk guys couldn't play as well.
But they had an energy.
And I think for us, what we try to do is we try to have
that energy.
We want to have that energy, and we want to have that
jaw-dropping story that nobody else has.
And the last point I'd like to say, and I said it in the
[INAUDIBLE]
referencing, is online is derivative of TV which I think
is a shame, because online is better than TV.
It's a better platform than television.
And therefore, what we see on there and how we interact with
it should be better.
And I'm a bit disappointed, and I think that online has to
be better than TV, and that should be the challenge for
young people out there and for the new YouTube channels, et
cetera, is we should be kicking TV's ass.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So I see a lot of heads nodding
when Shane says that online is better than TV.
So what do you think about that, Mike?
MIKE HALE: I don't think it's a yes or no question.
They're different platforms for many of the same things.
I would actually be curious to know the answer to this from
the other panelists as an outsider.
A lot of times, I wonder whether this has all happened
so fast and whether so much energy has had to go into
questions about technology, and
distribution, and marketing.
And often, the people doing the creating have had to do
those things as well.
And so what effect has that had on how much you're able to
focus on the creation itself?
SHANE SMITH: I won't talk all time, I'm sorry.
But that's exactly right.
Because everyone was concerned about building the platform,
the platform, the platform, the platform,
the tech, the tech.
What are we going to fill the pipe with?
And that came secondary.
And that's why I think it is--
you're exactly right.
There is more and better content being produced now,
but it was kind of an afterthought.
And now that everyone is saying, we have to fill the
pipe with something that's actually good, now people are
waking up to the fact.
And YouTube has woken up to that fact and said, OK, we
actually want to create great stuff.
And you're doing it.
So I think that that's what's happening now, is people are
realizing, oh, the platform doesn't mean anything without
the content in it.
BEN RELLES: And there's definitely a sense that a lot
of successful online video creators, especially
individuals, are having to wear a lot of hats.
They create the content, and they're the marketer, and they
do the community engagement, and they do the design of the
page, and everything.
And so that's something where a lot of times, it takes both
creating quality content and understanding how to get it in
front of people.
A lot of times, videos just are so good that all you do is
you put it up, and it explodes, and that's really
exciting to see.
But there's definitely times where we've seen videos, and
they have 240 views, and people around the room feel
like that thing is going to have 5 million views this
week, and it happens.
And then there's other times where it doesn't.
And a lot of times, the people who are creating these videos
are also starting to run businesses, especially on
YouTube, where some of the early successful creators like
Phil DeFranco and Shay Carl, they've gone from just
creating videos and building audiences to running media
companies, and not only producing their own content,
but other content too.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: Well, it was interesting to listen
to Issa Rae and to Michelle Phan talk about how
all-consuming it's been for them to keep up Awkward Black
Girl and Michelle's sort of how to put
on your makeup videos.
But there is sort of a drain on the content creator to a
certain extent.
So Brooke, how would you compare that then to
television?
I mean, do you find that it's easier for creative content
providers to work within the realm of television or to work
online as kind of do-it-yourselfers?
BROOKE POSCH: There's an argument too, which I mean,
even though I work in television, I agree.
I mean, there is a thing of like, it will be on the
internet and television will go away.
Yes.
But for the time being, I just did one web series to TV, this
web series, Tiny Apartment.
And if you are a creative exec in the right way, then your
job is to do exactly what you're saying.
They don't have the marketing, they don't have
the business model.
They're just these three amazingly
talented writers, producers.
So then my job, I consider myself sort of the financier.
Like here is my business model, come be part of it.
So then they come in and I say, oh, you used to be
spending x amount for making these three minutes.
Now here's [INAUDIBLE]
money to shoot this.
But we're going to keep the same story and what
you guys are doing.
But I'm going to provide you with the marketing, with the
plan, with the press, everything, and a built-in
Comedy Central audience behind it.
Obviously, there is the risk of your idea and content being
destroyed by the network, and I know that's a common thing.
But again, I think if, like I am, if you're a fan of comedy
and the things that I buy are things that I love and you
don't want to destroy them.
You just want to take them and give them a platform so that
this web series that maybe gets 2,000 or however many
hits, and now becomes something that's like in the
cultural zeitgeist or something that holds like a
primetime spot.
That's my goal for internet shows.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So Shane, you're developing a
series with HBO now.
So for you, how do you think about that differently from
the way you think about your online content?
SHANE SMITH: We don't at all.
So we have a number of channels.
And so when we shoot, we just get good stories.
And then we say, well this could go on VICE's YouTube
channel or it could go on vice.com or
it could go on HBO.
And in fact, the more salacious stuff will go on
vice.com, the middle of the road stuff, and there are sort
of Evergreen sort of stuff will go onto HBO.
But there's no difference in budget.
There's no difference in how we shoot it.
I mean, finishing costs are really the only difference,
because we have to finish it a bit different for TV.
But we actually have--
that's our business model, is we have content coming in.
This is me doing a pantomime.
Content coming in, and it can go to anything.
It can go to records, it can go to film.
For example, we shot a making of, which is a making of a
record which was Snoop going down to Jamaica and making a
reggae record.
And so it's just a making of.
But now we just released it at TIF, and it's being picked up
by major studio, because he converted to
Rastafarianism, whatever.
But we shot it in such a way that you
follow this whole path.
He talks about his whole youth as a Crip and then becoming a
peaceful guy as a Rasta now.
And that's a film.
But we didn't shoot it any different than-- we were just
going to release it on vice.com.
So we don't shoot anything or cut anything differently.
We cut it maybe shorter, but we shoot it, we cut it, we
have the same crews on everything we do.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So that's interesting, that
there's kind of a flatness, that there's not really a
hierarchy, where film is the holy grail, that in fact, all
of it is pretty much the same.
Do any of you want to challenge that point of view?
Or do you think that that's the correct point of view?
BROOKE POSCH: Well, I would say this-- and this is a
compliment to VICE.

Because you guys, you have a company structure, so you can
say, I shoot it the same way because you're you, and you're
VICE, and you've been doing this for a while, and you've
built this up.
At least a lot of people at Comedy Central, I deal with
much greener talent, so I have to create a different model
for them, because it's a lot of, oh, we
shot all this stuff.
What do we do with it?
So it's how do you structure a show, how do we do that?
So I think that you could do it the same model, but you
guys can obviously do that because you're--
SHANE SMITH: VICE isn't the web.
We're a media company that happened to be there early on,
so we made our mistakes early on.
But for sure, a lot of people can't do that.
But that's how we do it.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So Ben, do you see it as a hierarchy
or do you see really everything as sort
of equal, on parity?
BEN RELLES: It really does range by the creator.
There's a lot of YouTube creators that feel like this
is my home, I have zero interest in the TV pitch
process or scripts.
I've built a community, they love me, I love them.
This is where I'm happy.
They even put that out when people approach them.
And then there's other creators that view YouTube as
the ultimate place to audition their content, and they know
people are looking.
And it's not even about views for them.
It's just about putting things out there.
And if a video gets 20,000 views, but the right person
sees it, that can make their career.
But I think what you're finding a lot more of is that
the YouTube creators that have been really successful in
building consistently great content, when they do get
these projects outside of TV, and movies,
and other media too--
albums, or Broadway shows, or whatever it is--
they're definitely not abandoning
their YouTube channel.
I think they recognize that's something that nobody can take
from them and that throughout their career, that'll be an
audience that actually will, A, stick with them, and B,
actually help them launch these other
projects, whatever it is.
A book, or a makeup line, or an album.
They've got this community that they've built this very
real relationship with.
And no matter what other projects they do, they're
going to keep interacting with that audience in some way to
keep those going.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: And they'll always have this
unmediated relationship between themselves and their
own content.
They won't have a whole bunch of committees coming in and
telling them what to do for a film, or a television show, or
something else.
BEN RELLES: Yeah, and that was always really rewarding about
running channels, that nobody can cancel us.
This is a huge place where we can experiment.
And honestly, if a video isn't that great, not that many
people see it.
So it's not like it's a big failure episode that's going
to sink the channel.
And then if a video does great, it brings in a whole
bunch of new fans.
So it allowed us to really experiment with formats and
programing types.
And that, I think in a lot of ways, helped us build
something that was consistent that early on, we were able to
have a lot of testing ground and not have notes coming our
way and things-- fix this and do that differently.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So I know that you guys have some
video that you want to show.
And so maybe you can show it and then we can open this up
for questions from the audience?
BEN RELLES: Yeah, could start with the VICE one.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: I think it's in order.
I think yours is--
BEN RELLES: Oh, is mine first?
I can set it up.
I mean, I don't know if any of you are familiar with the
first Barely Political we did was this video called "I Got a
Crush on Obama." It's kind of an interesting one to show for
a panel about quality online, because even if quality is in
the eye of the beholder, this one's like a tough one to say,
well, that is quality content.
We did it in a couple of days.
I found the directors the day that we shot it.
Not that I'm not still proud of it, because there's parts
of it that I think are interesting.
But the thing about that video is, in a lot of ways, it was a
different kind of storytelling than TV.
People didn't know--
so we did this video.
I had an idea to do a song called "I Got a Crush on Chase
Utley," who is the second baseman for the Phillies.
And then figured that was kind of a niche audience, and I
should expand it to this Obama guy.
So we did the Obama video.
And at the time, not that many people actually knew that much
about Obama.
So we timed it right, we put it out when it was kind of a
dead news cycle.
But a lot of people were trying to figure out who these
candidates were.
And when we put that video out, immediately, the video
itself wasn't really the story.
The story became who's the girl?
Why does she like Obama?
Why are they selling their t-shirts?
Does she really have a crush on him?
Is that really her meeting with Hillary?
Like, all these stories went out there.
And so the videos became a part of it, but it became much
more about the media story of, who is this girl, and why does
she have a crush on this guy?
So the clip, which I think you have, is a snippet of this
video, which again, I'm not trying to apologize for it.
But we did shoot it in four hours and in
front of a green screen.
And this was the first video on Barely Political.
[VIDEO PLAYBACK]
[MUSIC PLAYING - "I GOT A CRUSH ON OBAMA"]

BEN RELLES: Thanks.
So that was that.
[APPLAUSE]
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: Has he seen it?
BEN RELLES: But actually, the funny thing about that is I do
think it's a common story on YouTube, where early videos
are a little rough around the edges.
And then as the audience builds, and you get to pay for
better content, and you get to figure out what works, I think
the type of content we put it out now
does look a lot different.
But yeah, that was five and a half years ago.
And yeah, Obama returned my first email, and then he went
dark on me after that.
But when I first sent it over to the
campaign, I got an email.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: Shane?
SHANE SMITH: We could have brought something like
Reincarnated, which is the Snoop film, which looks great.
But I'm going to shamelessly plug myself, because I'm a
megalomaniac.
And we have a piece up now that you should watch.
But actually, this was shot for the HBO show.
And HBO's very nice.
So it's on Romney.
Well, Romney's vaguely related to it.
And so they actually gave it back to us, because we said,
look, it's not going to be worth
anything after the election.
So we wanted it to sort of come out before the election.
So they gave it back to us.
So it's actually something that we shot initially for
ourselves, then HBO picked up, then we got it back.
So it just shows--
it goes up and down from online to--
and it's actually doing well online.
You should all check it out on vice.com.
Or our YouTube channel.
BEN RELLES: The YouTube channel.
I'll go there first, yeah.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So let's see that.
[VIDEO PLAYBACK]
-We're going from America into Juarez, northern Mexico, why?
Because American Mormons came down here about 100 years ago,
and those same Mormon colonies are now fighting the drug
cartels, because the drugs cartels
started kidnapping them.
-The original story is they come down for the cause of
plural marriage.
-So they wanted to continue polygamy?
-Yes.
-Ahhh.
We've come to God's country.
-The only people here with weapons are the criminals.
-When it comes to protecting our family, if we have
to die doing it.
We're going to.
-That's some crazy shit.

-America, America, America.
All the guns are from America.
Holy Jesus.
Wow, it's a lot of drugs.
-We shot them four times in the head each.
-His family lives right across the mountain here.
-I think he needs to change.
As long as you have a swimming pool over there, this is going
to be the diving board.
-God bless America.
Thanks, you guys.

-Have there ever been any Romneys kidnapped?
[WHIP CRACK]

[END VIDEO PLAYBLACK]
SHANE SMITH: The answer is yes.
They have kidnapped some of the Romneys.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So let me open this up to the
audience, because I know you probably have a lot of
questions for each of our panelists.

SHANE SMITH: Not as scintillating as we think.

MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So I'll ask a question, then.
The fact of the matter is that you don't need any permission
to get this up online.
You can do it yourself.
What then is the role of having a critic?

MIKE HALE: That's a long-standing and unanswerable
question, I think.
Well, in some ways, I think with web video, it could be
more invaluable than ever in terms of
helping people find things.
Because obviously, things go viral and everyone sees them.
But there's so much content that people don't see and that
we could bring attention to.
I mean, I have to be honest.
I'm a full-time TV critic and one of several at The Times.
And I work in web video where I can.
But even given that, I'm pretty sure that I write about
it more than any other critic at a mainstream, quote
unquote, "legacy publication," which says something.
You could look at it as they just don't get and there would
be some truth to that.
But then you can also turn around, and kind of as I was
saying before, I look at a lot of stuff.
I don't look at as much as most people in this room.
But looking for the thing that's different, that is
distinctive.
And sometimes, it can be a little harder to find that.
So selfishly, I would claim that there's value there.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: Help people find things.
Well, that's interesting, because a couple of you talked
about marketing.
And you've got a huge global media company.
And so the marketing for you is part of just connected to
your content creation.
But how do you go about finding some stuff that's new
and fresh and different when you go online?

BROOKE POSCH: I do go to a lot of YouTube stuff.
I look at a lot of Funny or Die.
I definitely don't go online and Google funny.
I trust--
you'll be there all day.
I trust the curators.
There are certain curators that I like and that I go to
specifically to look for stuff for us.
I mean, Mail Order is how Comedy Central found
Workaholics.
But yeah, I basically go to comedy-driven sites that I
like the curation of, and I sort of trust their taste and
go through and find people there.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: So curators, critics, they still
have a role for online.
BEN RELLES: I would say-- this is a little bit more specific,
but with me personally, on YouTube, I subscribe to 100 or
so channels.
And so for me, most of the quality stuff that I like is
very consistent from the same group of 100 creators.
Maybe half of it.
So that's a very easy way for me to scan through on a daily
basis what did my favorite channels--
The Onion, and VICE, and whoever else--
put out that day.
And then I don't know if the audience wants to write down a
couple websites that I find helpful, but a lot of times,
what the internet is deciding is the best stuff is a good
place to start based on viewership.
But that can be tough to track down.
So I go to sites like Viral Video Chart, which lists the
most viral videos and the most shared videos.
I go to a site called VidStatsX which is a site that
ranks the YouTube channels that have the most subscribers
and views and traffic that day.
I often go to-- again, very specific--
I go to reddit.com, a subreddit called Videos, and I
check that every morning to see what videos the Reddit
community decided were the best.
And then I go to BuzzFeed's video page, and then I go to
the Digg video page.
So for me, it's kind of looking for both curators who
I trust, and then also for communities to determine what
videos are worth watching.
Because you'll get very different videos out of the
Reddit community's favorite videos of the day than you
will from maybe a different community.
But especially now that I work at YouTube, that's really
interesting to observe, to see what type of content is shared
most on a daily basis combined with what's being put out by
the channels that have just shown that they are very
reliable for putting out great stuff.
AUDIENCE: I have a question over here, Dean Campbell.
When you guys are creating your own content and you're in
your own universe, are you able to derive significant
enough revenue to make it worthwhile, or do ultimately
to make the really significant profits or whatever, do you
have to ultimately intersect with Comedy Central, or HBO,
or a larger corporation that can really make it worthwhile?
I mean, except for people just starting out who are not
really needing a lot of income, how does the
monetization of this work?
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL:Who wants to tackle that?
BEN RELLES: Who was that directed to?
AUDIENCE: For you guys, anybody.
I would say for you guys, since you guys are the guys
creating content--
I mean, obviously, she's Comedy Central.
She brings in big bucks.
But before you get to--
[LAUGHTER]
AUDIENCE: --relatively speaking.
Before you get to Comedy Central, are you able to
develop significant revenue to stay afloat, or do you
ultimately have to hope to intersect with a network or a
large corporation?
SHANE SMITH: Well, that's a big question.
When we first started, we didn't have a lot of money,
and we found that if you make good content, quality content,
you can get it sponsored, or you're going to get
advertisers on it.
It's a great time now, because there's YouTube channel
initiatives, there's mobile initiatives.
People are willing to take a risk.
Brands are willing to take risks on sponsoring shows.
Look, it's hard to monetize if you're starting with no
platform, if you're starting with no sites.
But the good news is, there's a lot of sites out there,
there's a lot of brands out there, there's a lot of ad
networks out there.
So it's never been easier to monetize.
But if you don't have some sort of plan other than I have
a camera and a computer, then it probably won't last long
unless your parents own a lot of Apple stock.
So you definitely have to have a plan.
But that said, if you have-- and this has actually been
proven by YouTube--
if you have a huge amount of people coming to watch your
stuff day in and day out, you'll have people falling
over themselves to advertise with you.
So it's kind of a case of build it and they will come.
But if you get scale, they will come for sure.

MIKE HALE: Actually, I'm going to skip back to
your previous question.
I really should plant a flag for traditional high cultural
values and just make a point that videos become popular and
become shared for all kinds of different reasons that don't
have anything to do with what critics have traditionally
weighed when it comes to reviewing television, or film,
or any of the associated art forms.
And while it's a valuable thing for a critic to look at
those things, to look at Obama Girl and talk about why did
this become popular, it as a separate question from--
quality isn't a word that I'd like.
But from impact, from lasting value.
And it sort of goes without saying, but the role of the
critic hopefully is to be looking at this field and
looking for things that we think will be talked about 1
or 2 or 10 years from now.
MARY SCHMIDT-CAMPBELL: Well, I thought it was very
interesting that Michelle said that she pays a lot of
attention to production values because she expects these
things to be archived, and that people will be watching
them for a very long time.
And so I thought that was a very interesting observation
about her work.
Anyone else?
Well, I will say that any time any one of you wants to come
to the Tisch School of the Arts to help us start a
channel, you're perfectly welcome.
This has been great.
So thank you.
[APPLAUSE]