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VideoDaily Roundup: YouTube's Minimum Wage Model

Happy Friday, folks!

Today we start off with a glimpse into just how much (or how little) YouTube’s new channel workers are getting paid for their efforts. Next, could Facebook’s new sports video deal pave the way for brands? Amazon Studios serves up a new twist on a very old, very established Hollywood model. Comcast brings live streaming to its cable subscribers. Finally: social video ads hit a new record in the first quarter.

Report: YouTube Channel’s Workers Make $15 Per Hour

During its "Digital Content NewFront" presentation Wednesday, YouTube touted its new lineup of original content channels, including “WIGS," which will offer scripted series, short films and documentaries about the lives of women and features lots of A-list Hollywood talent. Well, The Wall Street Journal interviews several people working for “WIGS” and reveals that everyone in set-level production (which includes actors and crew) has agreed to work for as little as $15 per hour per day.

According to the report, the low pay is partly due to the fact that YouTube is giving its channels only a few million dollars each -- far less than the cost of a typical TV production -- making it impossible to pay average industry salaries. “Things were better without any money issues,” said actor Caitlin Gerard ("The Social Network"). “It’s creativity for creativity’s sake.”

WIGS co-owner Jon Avnet, a Hollywood producer, said actors and filmmakers are willing to make sacrifices for experience in the
emerging online video genre. “Scripted stories are what get talent,” he said.

WIGS launches with its first series, “Jan,” on May 14.

Facebook Sports Video Deal Could Pave The Way for Brands

A few days ago, social networking giant Facebook struck a deal with digital video provider Perform Group that brings the London-based company’s range of international sports content to Facebook users, who can now subscribe for the service using Facebook Credits. Perform had previously struck similar deals with YouTube and LG, but the company is now hoping that Facebook, with its 900 million users globally, will become Perform’s largest source of subscribers.

To be sure, the market for international sports content -- targeting mostly expats and foreign fans -- is small, but as MediaPost columnist Mike Bloxham points out, the deal is just one more example of potential revenue streams that Facebook, which goes public in a few weeks, could pursue. It also helps establish Facebook as a video destination beyond just clips and content shared by users, Bloxham says, adding that branded video channels could be a next step.

Amazon Offers New Twist On Original Video Content

With each passing week, more and more original video content is being made available to consumers. Among the newer entrants to a space long dominated by traditional media companies and television are Netflix, Hulu, Google/YouTube, AOL, Yahoo and now, Amazon.

As Digital Trends’ Geoff Duncan notes, Amazon’s Amazon Studios is somewhat late to the party, but its business model “turns the traditional Hollywood system on its head” by bypassing the established industry maze of executives and insiders that greenlight new projects.

Amazon is inviting anyone to submit their ideas for a comedy or children’s programming series. The requirements for
consideration are a five-page description and a completed pilot script of 22 minutes for a comedy, or 11 minutes for a children’s program.

The Web retaling giant says it will decide whether to buy an option for a given series in 45 days, for which writers get paid $10,000 upfront. If Amazon turns the idea into a full-budget series, it will pay the creators $55,000 along with 5% of its proceeds from merchandise. For writers that are just starting out, Duncan says this is pretty much in line with what the industry pays.

Will the idea work? One worry, Duncan says, is that Amazon Prime will cost subscribers $79 annually, which will turn off a lot of consumers who are used to seeing content for free. The other concern is that Internet video users have notoriously short attention spans, so the bet on long-form content is not guaranteed to pay off.

Comcast Strikes Live Streaming, TV Everywhere Deals With Disney

The convergence of TV and online video programming goes both ways: Multichannel News is reporting that Comcast has struck a deal with The Walt Disney Co. to give its subscribers access to WatchESPN, the media giant’s live sports streaming service.

It has also struck a "TV Everywhere" deal with Disney that will see content from Disney’s three children’s cable networks become available to the pay TV operator’s subscribers. The WatchESPN and Disney networks deals are part of a 10-year deal Comcast made with Disney in January.

WatchESPN carries most of the live events on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3, and is available on WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets. It is currently only available to video subscribers of Time Warner Cable, BrightHouse Networks and Verizon’s FiOS TV. WatchESPN apps have been downloaded about 8 million times to date, according to Matt Murphy of Disney & ESPN.

Social Video Ads Reach Record In Q1

People watched 1.3 billion social video ads in the first quarter of 2012 -- 40% more than the same period in 2011 and 225% more than the first quarter of 2010, according to a study by video analytics company Visible Measures.

“Social video ads,” in this case, refer to advertisements that consumers proactively search for and watched on sites like
YouTube.

It’s worth noting that, because of the Super Bowl, the first quarter will always be inflated when it comes to measuring the viral success of a video ad, but this year’s totals were also heavily inflated by the phenomenal success of Invisible Children’s “KONY 2012” video (not a Super Bowl ad, by the way), which came first in the Top 5 with 170 million views.

M&M Candies’ “Just My Shell” came second with 41 million views, followed by Volkswagen’s “The Dog Strikes Back” with 37 million views, Rovio’s “Angry Birds Space,” 31 million, and Honda’s remake of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” 25 million.

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