Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'll edit any video for $99.95!

Update: There were 2 reasons I bought the iPad2: Skype Video chat, and the ability to edit video with my fingertips.  Last October, I posted the article below regarding the emerging need for a low-cost video editing service for small businesses.  With the new iPad2 + iMovie, you can now pursue this service as a business easier than ever:

A person could make a very good business offering to produce quick videos for small, medium, and large businesses starting at $99 each. From HowCast, to Demand Media, video is on the rise as a powerful tool for business. This is fueled by low-cost technology, higher quality, faster mobile uploading, and the competition for advances in companies using social media. It's only going to heat up.

However, even with Flip cameras and hi-def mobile phones, it is the act of actual editing and posting online that is the great bottleneck for companies and executives. In fact, most of the actual video would/could be captured by the employees themselves, but sent through this company for clean editing, titles, etc. I have come to discover the real limitation is in editing resources, expertise, and cost. For the past few years, I have been working with Geek Squad employees to produce "Two-Minute Miracles", quick how-to videos. They are a wonderful showcase of our amazing people, offering useful tips on technology. I call our call center and ask them the most frequently asked questions, which then forms the basis for which videos to make. I then call the store, and ask the Agents to film a few minutes answering those questions. It's low cost and authentic.

I could and should be producing over 100 videos per week. The problem is editing. Without a dedicated service to produce, edit, and control this activity, executives are missing out on a massive opportunity. They could better communicate to their employees. Employees could better communicate with their customers. It can begin to replace traditional advertising methods, or at least enhance them.

Of course, $99 videos will not produce a large profit, but in higher volumes, it could be quite profitable. Imagine offering all sorts of extras: close captioning, multi-lingual, better graphics, hi-def: each for an additional fee. That $99 starting price point, can easily grow to $500 and higher per video. Even better, imagine a monthly subscription to produce 10 videos a week, or 100 per month starring employees, vendors, and customers. I believe there is a huge, untapped potential for large, sustained revenue streams. Combined with the efficiencies of larger scale, margins could be increased steadily.

It's no accident that there has been an explosion in the valuation of quick-video "how to" sites, like Demand Media. Just a few weeks ago, AOL bought "5Min Media" for $65 Million.

The role model for this all, is the eternal marketing consistency of Earl Scheib:


craigsanatomy said...

Since 4 of you were chiming in on twitter, and reply-all was hogging too many characters, I thought I'd peep up here.

Robert - this is absolutely a business that will happen. Soon. Kudos for the idea.

Don/Jake/David - Yep, it'll cheapen the value of video editing. Especially crappy video editing, and maybe (possibly) even good video editing.

But this idea isn't the 1st step in lowering the value of good video. Technology has been doing this for us for a while. The 1st Avid system made workflow faster, and turnaround time shorter. Digital cameras removed a couple steps in the process, and the infamous RED camera is the "film killer" that's putting telecine shops out of work.

Those ideas forced motion picture businesses to evolve, and this idea will too. To Don's point "we all know how it ends."

I suppose I'm arguing for cheapening arts...but I guess I see game-changing ideas as forced evolution. And I'm pro-progress.


Dave said...

It all depends on the end product, and how much time is required for the work. It sounds like these two minute, quick hits would essentially need file conversion, and maybe a title or two, which are the technical hurdles that get in the way. It sounds like these videos are more of a means of communication than a creative endeavor. This isn't the type of work production houses worry about losing.

jake said...

great points, all.

technology will always make the costs of creating cheaper and cheaper. when we started we were apologizing for not shooting on film. now clients call making sure we're using RED/7D/other and NOT film.

the same thing happened to music... even more so, i'd say.

bottom line for me (and dave nailed this) is the question of what, exactly, you're using video for. if it's the quick communication of a message you don't need an agency, production company or post house. but if you want to use video to do what it does better than any other medium — namely emotion — then you might want to spend a bit more time and money crafting your message — on paper, first and foremost.

some of this reminds me of vistaprints offering free/cheap business cards — if that's all you need, fabulous. they haven't put letterpress shops and truly artistic designers out of business. at least not yet.

Stemmler Productions said...

I agree. I think we're talking about a different type of product here, and that is part of the challenge in developing the business model. Knowing as clearly what business model is "NOT" is as important as knowing what it "IS". I don't think we're talking about Pro Video killers here. It will be a different type of product and could actually end up helping the Pro Services over the long run.

I think a good example is TurnHere.

I signed up as a Filmmaker with them when we moved to Minneapolis from LA as a way to make some income while we were in transition. I was impressed with their business model and thought this also might be the way of the future in production. I did a few projects with them and thought the workflow system they had in place was solid. To be able to source video producers from around the country and match them to customers and coordinate shoots/edits/uploads all virtually was a feat in itself. But it seems like they kept tweaking their services and operations every few months which led me to believe that they were finding challenges. I think partly because the company started moving toward the direction of a traditional production house and got bit when the quality and services didn't mesh with their low price point promise. I stopped accepting jobs from them after a couple times because honestly it ended up being a loss to me time/$$ And the quantity never built up enough to make it worthwhile.

Though I'm currently developing a production company providing low cost profile and home tour videos for the Real Estate industry, I'm still keeping my own business separate which provides the higher end video services. And there doesn't seem to be a lack of need or clients willing to pay for higher end quality.

I'm excited that this topic came up and that you brought this up Robert. With your history revolutionizing the computer tech industry and your position in a company like Best Buy, I think you have a unique vantage point to view this topic.

Greg said...

Good discussion. I'm not in this industry. Education, actually with an entrepreneurial spirit. As a K-12 administrator I see vast potential for this. I can quickly bring new staff up to speed on curriculum and policy issues with the Two Minute Miracles. Teachers would love to use this format for teaching, but simply don't have the time for production. I'm currently working with a group of teachers to produce some short spots to teach parents about our new math curriculum. Keep it going, guys!