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Indie Spotlight: For ‘The Residuals’, Self-Awareness Is Key

19 hours ago

Another web series has added to the growing number of comedies about struggling actors, but unlike many of its contemporaries, it seems to be fully aware of its common premise. The Residuals, created by the husband-and-wife team of Michael Paul Smith and Gillian Pensavalle, follows its protagonists as they apply for commercial work alongside a horde of unqualified actors. In the first episode of The Residuals, Pete (played by Smith) goes to an audition for a pharmaceutical company, only to be paired with a dramatic over-actor who tanks his chance of scoring the role. The competing actors in The Residuals are like the townspeople in Parks and Recreation: They're an easy source of humor, but they also represent an industry where everyone wants to be the hero. This theme, intentionally or not, also relates to the series as a whole and its position in the crowded word of web series about struggling actors. »

- Sam Gutelle

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Amazon’s ‘Video Shorts’ Platform Puts A Spin On YouTube’s Formula

22 hours ago

We recently learned of Amazon's plan to spend a nine-figure budget on original video during Q3 2014 in hopes of competing with Netflix and its library of TV-length web content. While long-form video is at the crux of Amazon's plan, the company is also dabbling in a YouTube-style short-form library. TechCrunch has discovered a webpage called 'Video Shorts' that offers short-form on the Amazon platform. Amazon first announced its plan to incorporate short-form video last year, and according to TechCrunch's information, the Video Shorts page actually arrived on the site within the past couple of weeks. There is a clear effort to ape the style that has made YouTube successful, as evidenced by Video Shorts' emphasis on popular YouTube categories like beauty and gaming. The top featured video in the gaming category is a dead giveaway of Amazon's plan: It's a trailer for the video game Minecraft, which is hugely popular on YouTube. »

- Sam Gutelle

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Wil Wheaton Spoofs ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Reboot

23 hours ago

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles's upcoming release has sparked a wave of interest in the heroes in a half-shell, but not everyone is on board with the new reboot. Wil Wheaton has released a new video called "Literally Everything Else From Your Childhood: The Movie", and it spoofs modern-day efforts to stir up 80s and 90s nostalgia. Wheaton was born in 1972, so the actor, TV host, and geek king can safely call himself an 80s kid. That designation makes him a target audience for film reboots of iconic 80s franchises, but Wheaton clearly isn't a fan of the new versions of Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His response is a fake trailer that must make the Angry Nerd proud. Wheaton created the video as part of his SyFy show, The Wil Wheaton Project. The whole thing feels like your typical nostalgic Buzzfeed listicle, but with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. »

- Sam Gutelle

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Jerome Jarre And His 1.2 Million Followers Lead First Wave Of Snapchat Stars

25 July 2014 11:21 AM, PDT

Jerome Jarre made a name for himself as one of the first people to acquire a large following on Vine, but in recent months, he's focused his efforts on a new platform: Snapchat. The 24-year-old Frenchman is part of a new wave that is building an online video community out of pictures and videos that disappear after a few seconds. Jarre, along with fellow Snapchatters Shaun McBride and Chris Carmichael, is the subject of a recent Time profile of the nascent Snapchat community. Some of the platform's top users, such as Jarre and Carmichael, originally established themselves on Vine. Others, like McBride, have built Snapchat audiences from scratch. From a content creator's standpoint, the appeal of Snapchat is not hard to see. The app is hugely popular with teens, who are drawn in by the app's main gimmick. Since Snapchat photos and videos disappear after a few seconds, the app encourages fast exchanges that, »

- Sam Gutelle

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Top 50 Most Viewed YouTube Channels Worldwide • Week Of 7/25/14

25 July 2014 9:20 AM, PDT

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg's PewDiePie channel is at the top of the charts again this week and again in a very big way. The 24-year-old Swedish gamer is constantly bumping 100 million views with his steady output of Let's Play videos. In the last seven days along, PewDiePie score more than 96.1 million views. In second place is DisneyCollectorBR. The chart topper and online video destination for videos of adults playing with children's toys ended the week up 3% with more than 59.3 million views. Shakira is up next at #3. The international pop star's World Cup anthem, "La La La (Brazil 2014) ft. Carlinhos Brown" is not getting as many plays since the conclusion of the global sporting event. All in all, Shakira's YouTube channel was down 15% on the week to bottom out at nearly 50.3 million views. UK-based online video gamer, StamyLongHead, is up next in the #4 spot. The young man with a penchant »

- Joshua Cohen

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Amazon To Spend $100 Million On Original Video In Q3 2014

25 July 2014 8:43 AM, PDT

In its bid to create an online video platform to rival Netflix, Amazon is dipping into a nine-figure quarterly budget. In the company's Q2 earnings call, CFO Tom Szkutak announced a plan to spend $100 million on original video during the current quarter. That budget will cover the ongoing production, distribution, and marketing for Amazon's library of original series, which has been partially determined by fans as part of the platform's pilot competitions. Amazon currently has four series in development: Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, Bosch, and The After. It will add to that total when it releases its latest batch of pilots, which it recently finalized by announcing a comedy series from Steven Soderbergh. "We like what we see on the content side," said Szkutak. "We've greenlighted a number of pilots [to be produced in the third quarter]. So that original content [spend] will be over $100 million in Q3." $100 million may seem like a large amount, but that »

- Sam Gutelle

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In Effort To Promote ‘Community’, Yahoo Hands Out Sandwiches

24 July 2014 4:03 PM, PDT

When Yahoo Screen picked up Community for an exclusive sixth season, the show's fans rejoiced. At the same time, however, many of them were confused. What is Yahoo Screen, they asked, and how can I watch Community on it? In order to build awareness for its online video platform and the upcoming sixth season, Yahoo has engaged with the Community fans who have descended on San Diego for Comic-Con. It has set up a promotion through which attendees can pick up free subs from the Subway restaurant around the corner from the San Diego Convention Center. Community fans will recognize Subway as a fixture in the Community world. The sandwich chain has regular appeared as a symbol of corporate influence, and the show's fifth season (its last on NBC) ended with Subway launching an attempt to take over Greendale Community College. The Comic-Con promotion seems like a good indicator that »

- Sam Gutelle

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Troye Sivan’s Debut Single, “Happy Little Pill”, Draws Buzz

24 July 2014 2:47 PM, PDT

On August 15th, Troye Sivan will release Trxye, his debut Ep. For the actor, musician, and YouTuber, the album marks a significant step forward in a music career jumpstarted by YouTube and other social media networks. With that in mind, Sivan has dropped his first single with one eye trained squarely on his fans. He has debuted a song called "Happy Little Pill", and days after its release, it has drawn attention on YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr. Sivan's rise to YouTube prominence was aided by a music video he created for The Fault In Our Stars, the John Green novel that has since been adapted into a film. Since then, his independent music videos have regularly drawn millions of views. "Happy Little Pill" doesn't have a music video just yet, but the jaunty pop track's Tumblr-based release drew more than 250,000 plays in the hours after its July 23rd debut. On YouTube, »

- Sam Gutelle

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‘Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee’ Goes Short With ‘Single Shots’

24 July 2014 12:29 PM, PDT

Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee has become quite the hit, and distributor Crackle is now offering a new way to consume Seinfeld's conversations with his celebrity guests. It has debuted Single Shots, a series of two-minute supercuts where Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee guests discuss specific subjects. Single Shots draws its material from previously-filmed episodes of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and each episode centers on a particular theme by featuring footage from multiple guests. For instance, the first episode is titled "Donuts", and it includes three different donut-related conversations from Seinfeld's web series: One with Tina Fey, a second with Brian Regan, and a third with Sarah Silverman. Single Shots, which Seinfeld describes as "a little espresso," is a versatile asset for Crackle. It extends the platform's crown jewel, finds a home for unused footage, and seems to be both inexpensive and easy to put together. »

- Sam Gutelle

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YouTube Millionaires: ClevverTV Talks “Exciting Time To Be In Digital”

24 July 2014 10:17 AM, PDT

ClevverTV has spent the past six years carving out a space as one of YouTube's strongest authorities on pop culture and celebrity commentary. More than 9,000 videos after its launch, ClevverTV has now passed one million subscribers, and thanks to its network of associated channels, it commands a large influence on YouTube. We talked to ClevverTV executive producers Dana Ward and Joslyn Davis about their continued online video success. Tubefilter: How does it feel to have one million subscribers? What do you have to say to ClevverTV fans? ClevverTV: It feels incredible to have reached this milestone! When we were getting close, we were constantly refreshing our channel page so that we could celebrate the exact moment we hit one million subscribers... and so we high fived and shouted "We did it!" It’s something that our entire team has been dedicated to accomplishing for several years, and it was truly »

- Sam Gutelle

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Bernie Su’s ‘Frankenstein, M.D.’ Gets August 19th Release Date

24 July 2014 8:28 AM, PDT

The team that created The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved is close to releasing its latest web series adaptation of classic literature. Pemberley Digital's Frankenstein, M.D., which will bring Mary Shelley's most famous work to YouTube, will debut on August 19th through PBS Digital Studios. Frankenstein, M.D. will bring Frankenstein to the modern age by reimagining its titular doctor as a Ph.D. student named Victoria. Dr. Frankenstein's gender seems to be a calculated choice, since the majority of Pemberley Digital's fans are women. A press release regarding the series claims Victoria is "determined to prove herself in the male-dominated fields of science and medicine." Actress Anna Lore will portray Victoria, and she will be joined in the cast by SourceFed host Steve Zaragoza, who will play Igor analoge Iggy DeLacey. It's Ok To Be Smart host Joe Hanson is involved in the series as »

- Sam Gutelle

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Remember That Interactive Bob Dylan Video? Now You Can Make One

23 July 2014 4:42 PM, PDT

Last November, digital media company Interlude scored a viral hit when it created an interactive music video for Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone". As viewers listened to the folk rock classic, they were invited to flip through 16 channels, where they would find TV characters lip syncing in time with the music. The project got a large amount of attention thanks to its inventive, experimental approach, and after many requests from users, Interlude has now made the "parallel video" feature available to the masses through Treehouse, its video creation platform. Previously, Interlude only used parallel video as part of its own projects, including an upcoming series it planned with ill-fated Xbox Entertainment Studios. However, according to Interlude director of business development Matan Ariel, popular demand became so high that some users even tried to hack into Treehouse's features to unlock parallel video. Those hackers can rest easy now, because »

- Sam Gutelle

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Report: Chernin Group, At&T Buy Majority Stake In Fullscreen

23 July 2014 3:03 PM, PDT

After more than two months of speculation, Fullscreen is reportedly off the market. According to a report in Recode, At&T and The Chernin Group have agreed to purchase a majority stake in the multi-channel YouTube network, which they will value between $200 and $300 million. Fullscreen, whose network partners score a combined 3.5 billion views each month, became a hot target for investors after its major competitor in the multi-channel network (McN) industry, Maker Studios, was purchased by Disney. After the Maker deal closed, Relativity Media--which had previously made a last-minute bid for Maker--reportedly offered $350 million to buy Fullscreen. A wave of rumors followed, with Time Warner, AOL, and Yahoo all linked to Fullscreen. In the end, though, it was The Chernin Group and At&T that won the Fullscreen sweepstakes. Peter Chernin's media company has invested in Fullscreen in the past, co-leading a $30 million investment round in the McN »

- Sam Gutelle

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The Fine Bros’ React Channel Gets Over 500,000 Subscribers In One Day

23 July 2014 1:28 PM, PDT

The Fine Bros run one of the biggest channels on YouTube, so it comes as no surprise that a new channel under their umbrella has attracted a huge swarm of fans. Despite contained no videos other than a channel trailer, the new React channel has amassed more than 500,000 subscribers in one day. React is not the first offshoot channel launched by The Fine Bros; Benny and Rafi Fine previously created a separate home for their web series MyMusic. While React will not contain any actual episodes of the web series from which it draws its name, it will feature the kid, teen, and elder stars of those videos as they play games, answer fan questions, and host several other audience-approved formats. A channel trailer released on July 22nd served as React's first release, and as The Fine Bros noted in their introductory video for the channel, fans began to flock »

- Sam Gutelle

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Fund This: Stop-Motion Animator Pes Serves Up ‘Submarine Sandwich’

23 July 2014 10:25 AM, PDT

Project Name: Submarine Sandwich Asking For: $30,000 on Kickstarter Amount Raised Thus Far (At Time Of Post): $34,739 (a new stretch goal looks to extend the campaign's total to $70,000.) Days Remaining In Campaign (At Time Of Post): 21 Description: Submarine Sandwich is the latest short film from stop-motion animator Pes. The Santa Monica-based artist, whose real name is Adam Pesapane, has carved out a niche for himself thanks to his expertly-crafted animations that use household objects to represent food, and Submarine Sandwich will be the latest entry in that series. The most-viewed videos on Pes' YouTube channel utilize this random-stuff-as-food approach. In 2008, he crafted Western Spaghetti, which Time Magazine would eventually call the second-best video of the year. Five years after that, he turned hand grenades into avocados with Fresh Guacamole. That creation ended up with an Academy Award nomination in the Animated Short Film category, becoming the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar. »

- Sam Gutelle

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The Guy In Charge Of YouTube’s Music Service Just Quit His Job

23 July 2014 8:33 AM, PDT

YouTube's long-delayed music streaming service has suffered yet another setback. Chris Larosa, who served as the product manager of YouTube Music, has left Google months before the planned debut of the company's Spotify competitor. Larosa, who had worked at Google since December 2007, will join an unspecified startup. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story, cited a source who claimed that Larosa's departure was partially caused by internal struggles related to the ongoing development hell of YouTube's music service. According to the source, it has been more than a year since the first version of the service was developed, but there have been disagreements about its pricing model and the degree to which it should be integrated with the main YouTube site. As a result, there is still no version of the service available to the public. Larosa's departure may have an effect on the other problem facing the upcoming music service. »

- Sam Gutelle

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‘Epic Meal Time’ Teases Its New TV Show Ahead Of July 26th Launch

22 July 2014 5:02 PM, PDT

On July 26th, Epic Meal Time will come to A&E's Fyi channel (formerly known as Bio) through Epic Meal Empire, a TV-sized version of the self-proclaimed "#1 online cooking show." In order to give viewers a sneak peek of what their TV show will entail, the Epic Meal Time crew has provided with a studio tour and a three-minute trailer. As you might expect, Epic Meal Empire combines the bacon-loaded, super-sized culinary creations of Epic Meal Time with a TV budget. Part of that budget has gone to a massive kitchen, where Harley Morenstein and his crew have everything from an ice cream machine to a deli slicer to a "sword wall" at their disposal. The studio also contains a wall of famous Canadians, because in case you missed it, Epic Meal Time hails from north of the border. As for the show itself, Epic Meal Time and partner network »

- Sam Gutelle

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The Fine Bros Build Out ‘React’ Series On New Channel

22 July 2014 3:08 PM, PDT

The Fine Bros have spread their YouTube influence across a number of different web series, but Benny and Rafi's quartet of React iterations--Kids React, Teens React, Elders React, and YouTubers React--remain the cornerstone of their online presence. In order to build on the success of their four star performers, The Fine Bros have launched a new channel centered around the kids, teens, and elders featured in React episodes. The React channel will not feature any episodes from the core React web series themselves. Instead, episodes will still roll out every week on The Fine Bros main channel. The React channel will instead feature a host of new web series, all of which are included in a channel trailer: Games: The Fine Bros will jump onto YouTube's "Let's Play" trend with a weekly series in which kids, teens, and elders play through popular video games. The first episode of this series »

- Sam Gutelle

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Rhett And Link Go On Vacation In A Branded Music Video Masterstroke

22 July 2014 1:23 PM, PDT

Despite serving as two of the YouTube communities most familiar faces, Rhett and Link only release a new video on their main channel about once a month. This causes any new offering from the comedy duo to merit celebration, but their latest video is particularly brilliant. Rhett and Link teamed up with Choice Hotels for "I'm On Vacation", a music video about hitting the beach, working at an ice cream sandwich factory, and the zombie apocalypse. In "I'm On Vacation", Rhett and Link do their best Lonely Island impersonation. Just like in "Spring Break Anthem" or "I'm On A Boat", they wear billowy shirts, don silly sunglasses, and sing a bombastic tune about fun in the sun. The video's sudden, surreal turns also have a Lonely Island-esque feel to them, as do its numerous guest appearances. Shanna Malcolm, for instance, shows up as the duo's overbearing boss. "I'm On Vacation" is branded by Choice Hotels, »

- Sam Gutelle

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Weird Al Yankovic Teaches A Lesson In Internet-Age Music Distribution

22 July 2014 10:49 AM, PDT

On July 21st, "Weird Al" Yankovic finished up his #8videos8days project through the Wall Street Journal, where he released a music video for "Mission Statement", a song about business jargon. That video wrapped up an impressive week for Weird Al. His decision to scatter new material all over the web made him a hot topic on the Internet, and his forward-thinking approach has drawn plenty of commentary. At the same time, there seem to be a few aspects of the Weird Al discussion that aren't drawing enough chatter. In particular, much of the talk around Weird Al's #8videos8days project reduces him to a parody trailblazer who is attempting to reclaim his appeal on an Internet replete with imitators. This is a big part of the discussion, but Weird Al's unique distribution strategy offers some tips for any artist--big or small, serious or not--who wishes to effectively »

- Sam Gutelle

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