It’s been almost six months since we launched our internet television network, so in the interest of becoming more transparent about how we run and what direction we are heading, I thought it was time to start running a personal blog. I’m no stranger to blogging, as I have maintained a few over the years, but I’ve never made any kind of personal diary blog.
Let me bring you up to speed on how things have gone:
- I started watching YouTube videos pretty much since the platform came out in 2005. I was honorably discharged from the United States Army at the start of that year, and was unsure what to do with myself. I ended up spending a lot of time on the internet and stumbled across Youtube. I finally made an account in 2006 when I decided to try my hand at making my own videos, and I became a Youtube Partner in 2009.
- My company formed what is referred to as a “Youtube Partner Network” in August 2012. We’ve been running for six months now, and have around 63 channel creators signed up with us. We are currently focusing on building an HTML5 web application that will redefine how people use Youtube, which I’ve dubbed “Martell TV”. You can learn more about that project here.
- I am currently taking part in the Venture Forth program offered by Tech Ranch Austin and receiving mentoring from its founder, Kevin Koym.
All in all, things have gone pretty well considering this operation has been bootstrapped by myself.
My challenges this month have been to refine my pitch slides for presenting to angel investors, which means I also needed to prioritize my focus. I have a lot of big plans for the future but I need to break it down into digestible steps. Right now we’re focused on developing our app so we can drive traffic to our content creator’s videos and generate more ad revenue.
Strategizing on how to scale in a socially responsible way has consumed most of my time in the past few months. Our competitors (Maker Studios, machinima, Broadband.tv) have built their companies by granting Youtube Partner status to practically anyone who applies to join their networks, allowing them to generate millions of dollars worth of ad revenue each month. We haven’t gone down that road because, as a content creator myself, I genuinely want to help indies build audiences….and I can’t do that if our library largely consists of low quality videos. While the competitor networks might make a lot of money because they take a % of all ad revenue, the individual partners tend to make a few dollars a month because they only receive a % of their own video earnings.
Being more selective is not the correct plan with how Youtube currently works. Youtube is really great for being a low-cost entry for video hosting, but it is terrible for content curation and discovery. The overwhelming majority of videos at the top of most search results are garbage, and the watch experience could truly be better. Youtube has not had any significant improvements to the video discovery functions since it came out, and the recent re-design doesn’t make me believe Youtube’s team actually cares about this problem.
But that’s okay. That means our company can fill that gap by providing a valuable service no one else is.