Web video and the film industry

In a time when television execs are calling YouTube 'parasites,' Benjamin Wayne, CEO of online video solutions company Fliqz, has some tips on how to use file sharing and social networking sites to your advantage.
September 18, 2008

In a prerecorded interview that was shown to attendees at the IBC technology conference in Amsterdam, executive chairman of ITV, Michael Grade, called YouTube and other file-sharing sites parasites. His statement highlights the continually contentious issue of sharing video and other copyrighted media online.

Benjamin Wayne is the CEO of Fliqz, a company that offers online video delivery solutions. Wayne feels that rather than rebel against the popularity of file sharing and social networking sites, companies should use the success of these sites to their advantage. Here are some of Wayne’s tips on how the film community can use web video to effectively promote a film.

Leverage existing sites
Trying to aggregate audiences toward a site that may only exist for the duration of a film’s life in the theatre or on television is a tough job. Wayne suggests that one way to make that job easier is to post video on other general film sites, such as Flixter, to direct audiences back to the product. ‘Many companies are trying to figure out how to engage the audience on Flixster around a property so that they have a community and a dialogue and an ongoing relationship with that customer base as opposed to just that marketing relationship, trying to drive traffic around a new film.’

Rather than having a cold start when launching an online campaign for a new program, try partnering with a brand that already has high recognition and high loyalty within the thematic space the program is based around. Wayne uses the example of PBS’ Carrier, a 10-part series following the crew on board the USS Nimitz. PBS partnered with, an online destination for people in the service, creating a microsite off of their website piggybacking on the loyalty of the audience that already existed there.

Viral distribution
This is the contentious part of web video: allowing viewers to repost content in other places like Facebook, Myspace and YouTube. Wayne feels doing this allows companies to get their brand into new areas. ‘If someone takes my video clip and puts it on their Myspace or their webpage I’m getting an explicit endorsement from a loyal user and I’m doing it in a way that drives traffic back to my site,’ says Wayne. ‘It’s allowing me to have a distributed audience rather than an aggregate audience.’

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.