Jeff Jarvis at VON '07: "We are reinventing TV. It's ours."

At Video on the Net '07, Jeff Jarvis said nascent Internet TV creators and entrepreneurs need to give the advertising world what it wants, so they in turn can get what they want.

Jeff Jarvis at VON '07

The description of Jeff Jarvis's talk on the VON Web site captured precisely what he covered:

Our medium [Internet TV] is so new, we have the chance to do things right, to set ourselves up for success. What do we need to make our small TV revolution successful in advertising, measurement, networks, guides, marketing, PR? We need to get our act together. 

But you can judge for yourself; here are my notes: 

We can nurture an explosion of commerce, but we've got to get it right.  Weblogs didn't get it right.  "To advertisers, metrics are sex.  And size does matter."  Advertisers can't track our performance and their clients all fear us.  They lose, but so do we.  Helping people find the good stuff is important, but remember there's no uniform definition of what's "good" any more.  You don't have to be the blockbuster any more.  The tail of the dinosaur is far more powerful than the dumb brain of the dinosaur.  It's the vastness that matters, and video is now a form of communication.  Size doesn't matter; quality does.  Let's not get stuck in the same traps of old media.  We can do things right.  We are reinventing TV.  It's ours.  

Exploding Video is Jeff's new, very small, television network.  He's learning, learning lots about finding the right voice.  The roughness and bluntness of our new small television gives it credibility.  Our roughness is at least endearing.  We don't want to be old TV, and we're not sure what we should be yet but I hope we never decide.  Per hour cost of network television is $300k/hour as opposed to 18 Doughty Street:  $140/hour, all in.  

TV needs to go to where people are.  This is why Viacom's move against Google is such a collosal mistake.  Fans recommending good stuff is invaluable.  Jeff's 15-year-old son never clicks through channels with the remote.  He finds things only through recommendation.  Monetize and control is the wrong way.  Monetize, Jeff gets.  But we need to figure out a way to monetize without control.

This doesn't mean you ignore the big guys, you work with them.  When they showcase you, you get audience, they get "cool points."  Then there's money.  "I'm not getting enough.  I'm not getting any."  Dina Kaplan at is doing a tremendous job.  What do we need?  Measurement.  We have to give advertisers orgasms.  Metrics are sex.  We have to serve people where they are.  Metrics have to be standard, public, and verifiable.  We need to recognize the value of links and recommendation.  Every media element needs to have a unique identifier.  We need experimentation.  It's 1954, as far as this TV is concerned.

We need ad serving.  The only way the big boys will play is if they can put things multiple places.  We need to sell ads across networks.

We need trust and identity.  Who made it?  Advertisers won't go for anonymity.  It's also important for creators to get their money and credibility.  

We need guides. is one.  We're all critics, and we're all networks.  We need to get judged on our recommendations.  The idea of people as guides matter.  The whole role of criticism has changed.  It's social, it's trusting your friends.  But it's hard to find the good stuff.  It's a mistake to concentrate on the flaming farts.  There are gems in there, but it's difficult to find them.  There's hope on, where Jeff found the talent to do his show Idol Critic.  Dina Kaplan and company are developing talent and finding good people. is another chance to find where the good stuff is.  Jeff started Exploding Video to help find guides.  

The world isn't bifurcated into "premium content" and "the rest."  There's good stuff in the rest (even if it's not yet making money).Viacom is a fool for demonizing fans for recommending shows.  CBS on the other hand, also in the House of Sumner, is trying to find as much as they can to put on YouTube.  

Finally, we need protection against regulation.  Doc Searls:  it's a mistake to think of this stuff as content.  It's conversation, and when you regulate it you regulate our speech and our lives.  We have to be fearful, stand together, and fight together to keep TV ours.  It is our place, protect it.  

We're only going to make TV that's better (it's 1954).  We have a new definition of better, and best.

Q from a New York Times person:  if you do all these things, aren't you just becoming big media?  A:  The economics of this world are different, the definition of a hit is enough to survive.  

Q from a ZDNetter:  who's we?  A:  Anyone who wants to make TV. 

[tag: von07]

Update, 5:32 p.m.:  Consummate and indefatigable blogger that he is, Jeff blogged his own talk.