You might not realize this but you and Youtube/Vimeo have totally different intentions with the person you just linked over to them. You want the person to be a viewer, they want them to be a user.
It’s a pretty fundamental difference if you think about it. And when you promote the latest episode of your independent series or the trailer from your film with a link to Youtube or Vimeo, you are giving them what they want.
Don’t get me wrong. I love them both dearly. They have both entertained me for hours and it’s quite remarkable what can be learned from Youtube videos. They are technological marvels. And, boy, do they have audience. Youtube served 202 million people in March 2015. They make it so easy to post a video, it seems like a good trade-off, right?
Well, not if you’re trying to build a brand. I might be channeling Marshall Mcluhan when I say this: the site is the brand.
Siteroll, a forthcoming web product from Human80, is aiming to change this.
Siteroll is like a player for the programming that you put up into Youtube or Vimeo. It’s an interface you put between your work and Youtube/Vimeo. Then, instead of promoting Youtube or Vimeo with a link to their site, you promote your work with a link to your own site. Instead of sending people off into an environment cluttered-by-design, you bring people into a space where they can focus.
It’s the same video, stored in the same place. But there’s no distracting related videos. And, it’s got a url that matches the name of the show. And all of the episodes are right there. My god, this is a site about your show or film, not a entry point into a compendium of all online video!
This is what’s at the core of Siteroll. A privately-branded web environment for your independent series or film that promotes it as a brand, as a thing greater than any single, individual part. As a place someone might bookmark and come back to. As something they remember.
A brand new way to broadcast your original series or independent film on the web.
I spent time with some of my favorite filmmakers and series creators to figure out what they would want in a site about their projects. There was a lot of clarity in how the web could be used to engage an audience. But, there is nothing really available that could, as Picard used to say, make it so. So, they are being built into Siteroll.
There is trouble brewing in the hearts of these media makers. It’s hard to cut through the clutter of links and ads and messages and emails and life that everybody faces. How can an independent creator hope to build an audience?
Well, it’s my view that the way to start is to create a peaceful, focussed environment in which people can actually focus on the work you are presenting. And then you have to do the work of promoting your show.
I will humbly propose that Siteroll is the only solution that does this.
Sure, there are a million ways to create a web site. But none of them has the range of elements that cater to the needs of independent series creators and filmmakers like Siteroll. It really is a brand new way to broadcast your original series or independent film on the web.
Eric Mofford, producer of the Love and Loathing series, has more experience with Siteroll than anyone on the planet. Here’s what he said: “Great way of tracking viewers and building a support system for the series. We had a run on Dailymotion and Mishorts but the Siteroll site seems to be the winner with our audience.”
Highlighting a few elements.
I would like to highlight a few of the components that I think are particularly noteworthy. A more complete is on the Siteroll site.
Mobile: Siteroll sites look amazing on mobile devices, too. Did you know that up to 60% of Facebook’s traffic is on mobile devices? Did you know that more than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices? These are two big ways to get traffic to your site, so mobile is really important. Siteroll is not the only mobile play in town (by a long shot) but it’s a base that is very well-covered.
Sharing: When you post a url to a video to Facebook it either sucks it into their system and plays right on Facebook or it links people over to where the video is stored. Siteroll contains special coding that mandates exactly what is shared and how. So, it always loads up the thumbnail, the name of the show, a blurb and — this is the important bit — always links the person back to your site.
Extras: I was standing in the office of a local filmmaker of some prominence and listening to a conversation about releasing a show on DVD and what extras they would include. So, I built an “Extras” section into Siteroll to contain outtakes, interviews, trailers, lost episodes etc.
Marketplace: I heard an interesting interview on NPR with Bernie Su (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) about how web series creators can make a living. One of the five income streams he cited was selling swag and DVD’s of the show. An optional component in Siteroll, the marketplace is very simple to use: picture, name, blurb, price. And all the money goes through your own Paypal account so you don’t have to worry about a revenue split.
Donations: “I’m done with crowdfunding,” Kim Williams (The Unwritten Rules) told me. It’s not that she’d just won the Lotto and was done with it that way, it was the effort it all takes. A Kickstarter campaign is a major undertaking. Why not give people the means to contribute at the point in which they are enjoying the show? Ok, it won’t replace a major effort but it seems like a good place to put the option.
There’s plenty more, like the Production Scrapbook, but you can go to Siteroll.com and poke through them there.
The road from here.
Siteroll’s not quite live. It’s in beta and I’m working with several series creators to work out the kinks. I got a tremendous response from the Web Series Today group on Facebook. But, I have a few big things on my to-do list–pricing, for instance–that I need to address.
I’m hoping that in the next week or two, Siteroll will be available. If, in the meantime, if you’d like to find out more detail, go to the Siteroll site or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.