Paradigm of Publishing Friendly Animal World Stories And Documentary Video In An Unfriendly People World
The following email interaction between myself and a fella named Beau at LittleThings.com quickly illustrates the current dynamics of new media publisher and new media producer. We'll dissect and recap after you read the interaction:
Beau O'Brien <email@example.com>Feb 8
Hope you're having a great Wedndesday!
I just watched and loved your video "Skinny Gorgeous Blue Pit Bull Puppy Rescued by Detroit Pit Crew" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeDoL2V_U5o
The video was absolutely amazing! (IT'S NOT EVEN A WA2S FILMS PRODUCTION)
My name is Beau, and I work for LittleThings.com, a website dedicated to sharing the most uplifting content on the web, and I would love to get your permission to feature your video in an article, and upload it to LittleThings.com / player and Facebook.
our content will of course remain on YouTube, and it may reach a much broader audience when uploaded through our LittleThings.com network. Additionally, our video player is partnered with AOL, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Today.com, NBC, and LittleThings Networks. It would be great if we can potentially get your video even more of the exposure it deserves. Please let us know when you can, as I'd like to run this by our editorial team as soon as possible.
Look forward to hearing back from you! Thanks so much!
Beau O'Brien <firstname.lastname@example.org>Feb 8
Sorry, regarding this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeDoL2V_U5o). Thank you!
Thank you for reaching out to WA2S Films.
You wish to share this WA2S Films production (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeDoL2V_U5o) with the LittleThings community. And you want permission to take our video and upload it to your site. What does the World Animal Awareness Society get out of this arrangement?
Our videos are created by volunteers and support the work of hundreds of animal rescue non profits around the world. I just want to understand your request correctly here.
Thank you for clarifying.
WA2S Films Team
Thanks for reaching back out!
Completely understand where you’re coming from and your concerns.
What we'd like to do is write an article about the video, and feature it on our site / player. We have over 200 million visitors that come to LittleThings.com monthly to read our feel-good and uplifting content. By uploading the video directly to our player, we feel we can potentially increase the video's reach and the amount of people that see it.
We can include links to The World Animal Awareness Society Facebook page, website and YouTube channel, as well as any info about the video and your organization.
This is cost-free, so you wouldn't have to pay anything. Here is what we're offering...
Our partnership offerings include the following:
We can include any info that you would like within the article about the video or the people in it.
Thanks so much,
This is a bad arrangement for the World Animal Awareness Society. This does not provide our all-volunteer-based non profit any add revenue to support the hundreds of non profit rescues we support each year. We do not care how massive your reach is if we do not benefit from our own original creations. Like your following statement is supposed to be a good thing for the WA2S: "Additionally, our video player is partnered with AOL, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Today.com, NBC, and LittleThings Networks." Why is that good for the WA2S? You just sucked out all the value to those networks of our original content - and you got it free.
Unfortunately you are de-valuing our original productions by taking it for free and not paying for it. WA2S Films has sold video content to Littlethings in the past - before you figured - hey there's so much video content, we really don't have to pay for it... If this is your "NEW" model of how you get "back to animal content" we want nothing to do with it. Shaddy does not begin to describe it. At least when we share other rescue' videos on our blogs, we make sure their videos run with their ad revenue in tact. It's the least we can do to support their hard work, they're already making the content free to use!
Further, the World Animal Awareness Society & WA2S Films will be putting out a NEWS BULLETIN to the animal welfare community in general stating: "Doing business with LittleThings.com is bad for their business!"
You know what's really unconscionable about this? We are already providing you the content free of charge - just by sharing our YouTube videos in their native Ad Wrapped player, but that's not enough for you greedy Mother Fuckers! FREE TO USE is apparently not good enough for you.
This business model you are currently embarking on - just as The DoDo and others are - will not be met without fierce resistance from the World Animal Awareness Society and our growing community.
Entities, such as LittleThings, The DoDo, etc., are shit business models - you create virtually nothing, yet attempt to steal other people's hard work. The only thing that truly comes to mind as I prepare to sign off is, GO Fuck Yourself!
World Animal Awareness Society
501c3 non profit media company - EIN 27-1918794
Website = www.WA2S.org
Facebook = www.facebook.com/WA2S.org
Youtube = www.youtube.com/user/WA2Sorg
A 2016 certified "Top Rated" Non Profit
Let's just say, my board was not too pleased with my flowery response. However, I do believe it is imperative to mark time by communicating the issues we deal with every day - responding to requests daily from around the world - pleading with us to tell stories about their rescues and to help scale their impact. This is now made infinitely more difficult as "boutique digi-pubs" begin to take advantage of a huge market segment filled with well-meaning non profits who do not know the value of the content they are generating that could help their enterprise.
Two years ago LittleThings.com carried this video on their digital platform and across social media:
This video performed amazingly well across their social platform - specifically through their main Facebook page. This video was shared in it's native YouTube ad player just as it is here. The video amassed more than 150,000 views in just a couple of days just from the post - which you can see here: https://www.littlethings.com/mr-cookie-rescue So I wrote LittleThings a little note.
Tom McPhee <email@example.com>6/18/15
I am always so blown away by how robust your audience is and how they respond to WA2S videos, thank you for being a great presenter of our work!
I am interested in producing content that we would make specific to your audience. What do you think is the best way to go about this?
Have you seen this video?
Woman Tries To Save Burned PitBull Puppy - Now She Changes Dogs Lives Forever https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LSdRSrI6Xg
Maia McCann <firstname.lastname@example.org>6/18/15
This is Maia, I'm the Director of Content at LittleThings.com.
I would love to chat re: partnerships plus a license for the video you sent in the email. I am launching an initiative to non-exclusively license content from producers. Do you have some time today to chat?
Maia At LittleThings <email@example.com>6/18/15
I haven't forgotten about our convo! Will put together some vids we would like to test for tomorrow before the end of business. Have a great night, it was great chatting earlier.
Maia McCann <firstname.lastname@example.org>6/19/15
to Mark, me
This video is great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p45ADnzj49k
I like the part with the kids at the end. The one thing that I think is missing for our audience is the AFTER portion of the dog's story. Do you have any images or footage of the dog post-rescue?
If yes, I would love to try this in our player.
For this test, I can pay $150 for the non-exclusive license on this video, but no more because I need to prove the concept to the founders of the site before I can get a bigger budget. I can say that we'd be willing to pay more for a video with our name in the pre-roll in the future. I can also guarantee that we're looking for meaningful, long-term partners. I've cc'd the head of PR, Mark LoCastro on this email, who will be involved in future conversations after our test.
A few notes about the potential of this relationship: When we batch out DIY videos (a proven concept) we order batches of 20 at rates that work for our partners and for our crew. Also, even for this test, I'm ready and willing to provide you with key insights on what works and what doesn't work. I'm happy to pull in my data analyst to help you with any specific questions you might have about engagement as well.
Let me know if this works for you!
I'm looking forward to working together,
Tom McPhee <email@example.com>6/19/15
to Maia, mark
There is actually 3 parts to Penny's story. And lots of pictures - I can send to you.
I am interested in long term - beneficial to WA2S. To that end, at $150 I would like to have at least 2 of our program links attached and promoted in the copy - does not need to be in the video - you can get clean video - such as the Good Pet Guardian Lesson Plans and the American Strays Project - raising awareness is good, raising capital is best (this would be potentially different for each video / series). In regard to insights, the most important aspect for the WA2S is to grow our own WA2S Films YouTube Channel subscriber base. We need to be at 10K subscribers by end of July 2015 and 100K subs by end of June 2016. We have a partner agreement with YouTube / Google and many great things become available to us at those points I would really need to tie in our programs/sites to the copy for the videos with your control. We can tailor front ends, end credits, sponsor partners whatever Little Things needs for larger blocks. I try to keep "real" production costs down by filming many things concurrently - that tie together.
Here are all the links to Penny's videos from the American Strays series that tell the full story:
Penny Goes To Prison Part 1
Penny Goes To Prison Part 2
Penny Goes To Prison Part 3
Here is the longer video that the Good Pet Guardian kids were involved in:
The WA2S will be happy to take your $150 donation - you cover payment costs - for this video provided we can agree in a mutually beneficial way to move both our enterprises forward. We could make all 4 videos available as a one time deal for $500. It is also possible to tell the follow on story with just episode 3, which you may also have for $150 with a total for just the 2 at $300.
I understand you need proof of concept, WA2S Films would very much like to be your partner in this initiative.
If you think we can work this deal out, I will send over payment options and follow up pics.
Let's do this!
Maia McCann <firstname.lastname@example.org>6/19/15
Can I non-exc license this video for embed in my player: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neijKGxnBVI for $150 donation, and then I'll include 2 - 3 links wherever you like in the copy?
If yes, I'll send you our Non-Exclusive Agreement and we'll get the ball rolling today / Monday.
I'm very excited! I'm *very* certain this will be just the beginning of how we can work together.
BTW I love the dog's perspective footage in this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4gElFPjHK0 quality stuff!!
Maia McCann <email@example.com>6/23/15
Can we move forward with the non-exclusive license on this video? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neijKGxnBVI
I'm happy to send a $150 donation! Let us know what Paypal or address to send a check to. I will also send you a non-exclusive agreement!
Tom McPhee <firstname.lastname@example.org>6/23/15
Sounds great. Keep me in the loop on roll out and what we can do to assist. Also, please post a link to WA2S main page http://www.WA2S.org and http://www.WA2S.org/donate - to donate to World Animal Awareness Society programs. We'll work on figuring out how to drive subscribers here too: http://www.youtube.com/WA2Sorg
You can use the donate url to send the $150+ the $5 processing fee, unless it gives you the option to cover it on your end. Feel comfortable to download the the 1080 p video from our YouTube Channel and send me the release. Let me know how many additional pics you'd like for Penny, I'll see what I can find.
I look forward to building a mutually rewarding collaboration.
Maia McCann <email@example.com>6/24/15
Here's a contract for you to execute. We're happy to absorb the $5 fee for paypal. What email address is associated with your Paypal account?
Tom McPhee <firstname.lastname@example.org>6/24/15
Good fortune to us both!
So, we're rolling right? A new relationship. Everyone appreciates each other. There is good communication. They post the story. Then...
NOTHING! VIRTUALLY NO INTERACTION SINCE
Tom McPhee <email@example.com>6/27/15
I saw that http://www.beingmommy.com/pit-bull-penelope-penny-rescue-world-animal-awareness-society/ posted.
However, there are no links back to WA2S properties as we have discussed.
I am sure it was just an oversight. I'll look for a fix.
Maia At LittleThings <firstname.lastname@example.org>6/27/15
Tom - an oversight on my part, I didn't communicate it properly to the writer.
Fixed! It might be cached but if you open from a new browser you should see links to your main page and to the donation page. LMK if that works :) :)
Sorry about the oversight!
And then finally this:
Tom McPhee <email@example.com>7/13/15
Thank you so much for sharing - Amber posted, the story about Lamont and Cleo. It does not contain links in the story back to WA2S. Having those links would be great.
Can you tell if this video will pass muster and make it to Social media?
Maia McCann <firstname.lastname@example.org>7/13/15
This isn't licensed, so we didn't include links.
Tom McPhee <email@example.com>7/13/15
Is this new, If you don't license you don't include links?
Maia McCann <firstname.lastname@example.org>7/13/15
The agreement we had for the video we licensed from you is unique. We uploaded it to our player, so in exchange we gave you all of the links you wanted. If writers are curating from youtube they are not obligated to include back links.
Hope that helps!
And that concluded what could have been a potentially good relationship.
The very next time we interact with LittleThings.com, we got a quote in December, 2016 about posting a sponsored story from WA2S Films using their principal Facebook page as one of the delivery points and we were given a quote of $25,000 - and they could not budge on that even for a non profit. Btw, we might have considered a small fraction of that - but laughed when we got the quote.
All this after watching their new leader trumpet for months their success of bringing happy stories to so many and the massive audience they are now serving.
What's the moral of all this?
The media that animal rescues and others are generating (pictures, videos, etc.) by going about their business in the animal welfare realm and presenting their daily narrative is valuable.
So much so, unscrupulous so-called new media companies are fanning-out-rapidly, using interns and other poorly paid citizens, to call on you and steal it from you. And then there are companies out there that want you to give it to them FREE so they can exploit it for their own purposes - although they will promise you how awesome you are and this is going to be great for you. Because, trust me. They have a massive audience for this content when it is played through their player - benefiting only them. You, you as the hard-working animal rescue media-content-maker get absolutely no residual value from this relationship whatsoever.
All in unison now: "Doing business with LittleThings.com is BAD for your business!
Lastly, look for updates and other commentary from organizations that have given away their intellectual property to these media entities, only to regret it later. And, the World Animal Awareness Society will start providing more compelling content from other animal welfare non profits to begin to counter this trend by greedy digi pubs.
I had an opportunity to share quite a bit of World Animal Awareness Society and WA2S Films news on iHeartRadio & WBZT's South Florida Dog Talk on Friday February 10, 2017. We were talking all Things Dogs & Docs! From An American Opera The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever! to American Strays 2030, and Dog Dumping in the Everglades, as well as our use of tech being used to capture animal abuse. Have a listen now and be the first to know what's coming next from the World Animal Awareness Society & #WA2SFilms