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Ashkan Karbasfrooshan

Member since November 2005

Articles by Ashkan All articles by Ashkan

  • Content Is Still King But Success Demands A Royal Family in Online Video Daily on 12/18/2015

  • Lessons Of Our $100 Million Pilot in Video Insider on 01/29/2014

    Google spent $100 million to figure out that YouTube users didn't place a premium on television content. It took me one pilot to come to the same conclusion. No, it didn't cost me $100 million, but the lessons we learned were probably the same as from YouTube's $100 million initiative.

  • Takedown! in Video Insider on 12/16/2013

    Last week, YouTube updated its ContentID policies; many channels suffered setbacks. As my company produces both fully cleared and transformative clips using third-party footage, I was wary that we would face similar issues. We got a few claims that we replied to immediately and largely resolved. By Sunday morning, there was no reason to be wary. Yet by 1 p.m., our videos had disappeared.

  • Can $35 Dongle Be YouTube's Trojan Horse Into TV Ad Business? in Video Insider on 12/09/2013

    A couple of weeks ago, I was at YouTube's Lean-In event in Los Angeles. At day's end, Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt gave a talk about his perspective on YouTube's past and the future of online video. During the Q&A, I asked him a softball question. But I really wanted to know more about the following:

  • To Succeed In Content Biz, Stay True To Your Vision in Video Insider on 12/03/2013

    Last week, I discussed and outlined the business rules that have served as the foundation to most of my licensing deals. Mind you, as much as we've walked to the beat of our own drum, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that we'd implicitly been at the mercy of others in two ways. For one, we were producing a lot of lifestyle-oriented programming that we often licensed to other media companies, who in turn wanted to create "push" inventory to in turn serve their own CPG clients. Second, we were producing the type of content that would-be acquirers were telling me they were seeking to acquire in corporate development deals.

  • How Hard Should Web Producers Try To Get On TV? in Video Insider on 11/25/2013

    A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that we had passed up the opportunity to put our content and brand on TV. A few people emailed me to ask about the details. Here they are.

  • Fair Use: A Legal, Business And Common-Sense Proposition in Video Insider on 11/18/2013

    Recently, U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin concluded that Google's book scanning amounted to fair use because it was "highly transformative" and "didn't harm the market for the original work." Judge Chin also rejected the Author's Guild theory that Google was "depriving authors of income, noting that Google doesn't sell the scans or make whole copies of books available," arguing that it helped readers discover new books, leading to new income for authors. Finally, Chin concluded that Google did "not engage in the direct commercialization of copyrighted works." The courts have repeatedly stated that commercial use does not nullify fair use.

  • What Does Youtube Really Owe The Content Creator Community? in Video Insider on 11/15/2013

    This past week, I walked away from an opportunity to have our content on television, because the deal simply didn't make sense. As a result, I was initially going to write about how the best deals are the ones you don't make, referencing an acquisition offer I walked away from in April right before our company's reach and financial metrics dramatically took off.

  • Sticking To Your Guns in Video Insider on 11/05/2013

    Eighteen months ago, I found myself sitting in Madison Square Park. I'd just stepped out of an investor pitch. It had gone well, and the investor wanted to invest in my company. The catch was that he wanted us to shift our approach fairly significantly -- changing everything from our content approach (moving from largely horizontal to vertical, focusing on the beauty, fashion and style category) to focusing on aggregation, to hiring a salesforce instead of letting YouTube handle sales. I had a lot to think about.

  • In Content Business, Nothing Good Actually Scales (And That's A Good Thing) in Video Insider on 10/28/2013

    Three recent storylines should serve as a reminder that nine women can't have a baby in one month. Creating a sustainable content business that is profitable and viable is hard work, takes a long time, and absolutely nothing can change that. If you can't handle that fact, you shouldn't try to fake it in this business, especially with how the Web empowers both the Millennial generation and Baby Boomers to spot a phony a mile away.

Comments by Ashkan All comments by Ashkan

  • Takedown! by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 12/16/2013)

    Pete, to be very fair & transparent: 1- I am given 800 words in these columns, I am pretty sure I submit columns with 800 words ;) 2- There were in fact 3 claimants. So I tried not to get into the specifics of each three here, but on other blogs and our updates to our viewers I certainly addressed the specifics of each one. 3- As per YT, the reason why our channel went down was because of YT and not technically the claimants. It was a procedural matter on YT's end, but when all things are considered, I basically hold no grudges towards YT and am just happy it was resolved in 21 hours... I think people could criticize me for being too nice towards YT, if anything, whereas you suggest I am blaming YT. In other words: while no one can really blame the Claimants, one could blame YT (and even then, I don't). Maybe I've become a zenmaster, but in the GRAND scheme of things (life, business, health, etc) I am just very grateful that it was resolved in 21 hours.

  • Fair Use: A Legal, Business And Common-Sense Proposition by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 11/18/2013)

    Wasn't gonna reply, as it's going to be hard to say this without coming across as vain etc. But I find that once executives and/or entrepreneurs have a fiduciary duty to shareholders, it's hard to do the right thing (or rather, it's easy to NOT do the right thing, because you can say "someone else made me do this or that.") In my case (and any one else in my shoes), you can't pass the buck. If you mistreat employees or do a disservice to a client, it's your fault/responsibility etc. So the reason you say "is there such a thing as a good corporate citizen" is because we no longer have real entrepreneurs (man, I am going to get heat for that...) we have ventrepreneurs (who answer to VCs) and wantrepreneurs (who don't realize that integrity and honesty trump dollars and cents). Anyway, I should stop now... ;) - but real honest entrepreneurs and executives exist, but the system is stacked against them.

  • Even Old Media's Disruptors Now Suffering From Innovator's Dilemma by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 09/30/2013)

    RJ, basically a publisher of an article will host that on his/her site and drive traffic to it and keep 100% of the revenues he/she generates. However, a video producer will need to put that on YouTube, Hulu, etc. and split the revenues and possibly not even be the one who is selling the ads. That's disruption. Where it gets confusing is: do you leverage social to drive audience to your video on your site or on the syndicated spots.

  • 8 Ways We Grew Our YouTube Subscribers 8-Fold In 8 Months by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 09/17/2013)

    Key words: nightmare + copyright bot destroys everything. There's really no way around it. Honestly, if you need not bother - don't, it's a lot of hassle when there are other less painful ways to skin the cat.

  • 8 Ways We Grew Our YouTube Subscribers 8-Fold In 8 Months by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 09/17/2013)

    Honestly, it's a mix of promotional/ licensed content as well as Fair Use sources. They key thing is by and large, we have explicit and implicit approvals and blessings of the rightsholders (but that is a separate article - or book - altogether and not an easy thing to have navigated). Bear in mind, of the 8000 videos we have, only 50% contains any third-party footage and those are transformative, pass the 4 tests of fair use and in no way damage the value of the underlying work. But as I've mentioned before, Fair Use is as much a business as legal decision, 99% of companies do not want to rely on Fair Use and honestly, shouldn't/can't. It takes a very rigorous in-house system and training to avoid any issues. Ironically, we have experienced many issues when a media company's Marketing team is working with us one a project WHILE their copyright bots are meddling... I've written on Fair Use extensively, here: and

  • Adblocking: Internet Right Or Racket? by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 09/04/2013)

    Douglas, unless I am mistaken, doesn't adblock also block prerolls? Or do you mean something else by "roll-in videos?"

  • Publicis, Omnicom Merger Is Recipe For Disaster by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 07/29/2013)

    Hmm... I'd use that Hemingway line about "write drunk, edit sober" but I am pretty sure I wrote this sober ;) - Salesforce bought Buddy Media; Adobe bought Omniture. Should be fixed soon...

  • To An Entire Generation, YouTube Is THE Channel -- And Content Creator by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 07/22/2013)

    Luke, my unedited submission actually addressed your first point: "YouTube has succeeded the way Google's AdSense succeeded: it's like a drug. The following may not make sense for a venture-backed company aiming to become the next billion-dollar exit, and it may not make sense for a media organization that has a battalion of salespeople and its owned-and-operated properties. But wishing for a different set of circumstances is not a strategy." As per your second point, we have 2 businesses now: YT and the Rest of Web, with each doing about 50% of our views. Bottom line: my point was those who focused on ONLY one will have a hard time.

  • How Google Is Hurting Ad Networks by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 07/15/2013)

    Not all patent trolls are the same, in media vs. tech, especially. FWIW, the Rightshaven precedent should be enough to scare some patent trolls as well as legitimate rights companies from over-stepping their rights. As I alluded to in last week's article, the main challenge is proving damages, sometimes Goliath overreaches and fails, whilst David can defend himself, prove damages as a result of Goliath's aggression and laugh all the way to the bank.

  • Six Stories Worth Paying Attention To by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan (Video Insider on 06/03/2013)

    Paula problem is most automated CC services are fairly hit or miss, usually miss. It kinda defeats the purpose when you are offering CC and the text is jibberish at worst or full of mistakes at best.

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