So about a month ago, John and I did a deal with YouTube.
We .. uh ... we let them put a thing on our channel and now that some time's passed, I want to talk about it.
Cause I've been thinking about it a lot.
We let them post a documentary film called Kedi, about cats in Turkey, on our channel, and we got paid for that.
We broke up that money the same way we break up all the money we make on vlogbrothers:
Some of it went to the foundation to Decrease Worldsuck.
Some of it went to our creator grants that we give to educational creators.
We've given them to people like Kurzgesagt
and Real Engineering and Window for Productions before those channels got big.
And some of the money went into our company, Complexly, which makes things like SciShow and Crash Course.
When YouTube reached out to us about this, I was really excited about the idea.
I was really into it, and it seemed like a total, like, slam dunk.
We got to showcase a documentary that's had a lot of critical acclaim
and maybe bring a new audience to that, and also the people who made that documentary got
a bunch of money from YouTube getting the distribution rights. We got to talk with the filmmakers;
They were very cool, and then I could watch the documentary, it would make me think things, and then I would be able to talk about
the things that I thought on the channel.
And I, like, I've been talking about what I think about, it's pretty much Vlogbrothers
There was however, once we did it, some pushback against it for, I think,
perfectly good and legitimate reasons that I didn't really think about before we did it. So here's what's up: this was not an ad for YouTube Red.
That's not what the contract said and it's not how I thought of it in my brain
but also, it kind of was. We didn't disclose this as a
sponsorship because YouTube wasn't paying us to promote Youtube Red. YouTube was paying us to use our YouTube channel to
distribute a documentary they had bought the distribution rights for. YouTube can't, of course, just upload whatever they want to any YouTube channel,
but they wanted to put this documentary in a place
where there would be the right kind of audience for it, like people who like to think about stuff?
Which, Good on Nerdfighteria.
They wanted it to go to a fairly large and receptive audience and an audience that
already had a fair percentage of people signed up for YouTube Red
so there would be a fair number of people who would just automatically get access to it.
So youTube paid us to use our channel to distribute the documentary that they had bought the distribution rights to. But at the same time
we were obviously going to explain all that, like YouTube knew we were make videos about this, right?
We're going to talk about why we like the documentary, we're going to talk about why we like YouTube Red, because I do like YouTube
Red, I think it's good for creators, and I think it's a good product if you can afford it.
So they were paying us to use our YouTube channel, but they knew that there would be this other value being delivered,
and that's where the ... like, brand deals can get fuzzy, like it seemed pretty cut-and-dried, when we were talking about it because we were talking about it
in terms of distributing it on the Vlogbrother's channel
And that was the thing that we were being paid for and that's ... like
I continue to believe that that's the thing that we were getting paid for, but there's this fuzzy thing, right, and in
implementation people are like 'Wait a second, you obviously got money for this, and you are obviously
not disclosing that it's a sponsorship
So that's weird.'
And I like I'm there with you. This idea of an ad has to be disclosed like I'm tot .... like yes
but I think also
Morally you should disclose when a thing is an advertisement, people should know when you're getting paid to say something, and in a TV show
That's really easy because you've got like
Five minutes of credits at the end in which like things are scrolling by and one of the things that scrolls by is
'Promotional consideration provided by Giorgio Armani'
or Apple or whatever, but in a tweet instead of it being like
Buried at the bottom of all these other disclosures of who you've been working with and who worked on the thing
You get like ... you have to have like #ad is the shortest thing you can do, a 3 characters in
140 characters, it takes up a pretty substantial amount of the tweet, so creators kind of hate Disclosure
it messes with your content and brands also don't like it because it messes with the
Perception that they're trying to create of a sort of link between their products and this cool interesting creator.
They want that relationship to feel natural and authentic and the fact that you have to disclose, it gets in the way of that.
But there are ways to wade into the fuzzy area with this
Right? Take for example a daily vlogger who does a brand deal and they disclose that brand deal, and it's like a big
Interesting cool thing so everybody's sort of like yeah, I get why you partnered with the brand to do this, and that's disclosed.
But also you make content all the time right now as a creator
So when you're on the set of this thing you're going to be snapchatting about it. You're going to be tweeting about it
You're going to be instagramming
from the set, you might make a
behind-the-scenes video, you might make a vlog on the way there and on the way back and all that stuff isn't in the contract,
it's not like, "Make all these things, and Tweet about all these things."
But its creators know that the brand is going to be happy if you do that
And also this is an opportunity to create content,
So I'm going to create content. None of that is the ad
But it's all value that's delivered only because the ad is happening. In effect
It's all part of what the brand is paying for and there have been times even when like people have said don't write
Into the contract that you're going to tweet because then you have to disclose it.
Just do it anyway, and the brand will sort of know that you deliver that value and compensate you accordingly.
Finding where to draw that line isn't easy, it's so
Weird and convoluted and complicated that I wouldn't even talk about it
If I hadn't done it myself,
'cause I don't want to be calling people out on this, like I think that there's a really good case to be made
that those things that you make on the set of the brand deal you're doing aren't part of the brand deal.
But, it is muddy.
And I just want to be honest with you, and also with myself, that we went into that muddy area there.
I don't love that because we said we'd never do brand deals on Vlogbrothers,
I still say we'll never do brand deals on vlogbrothers, but we kinda did. YouTube paid us to use our channel
They didn't pay us to make videos, but we made videos and we got paid. It's part of this fuzzy world
We're entering into as the advertising industry figures out what its going to be in a post TV world which is going to be
Very different from what they are now. I still love that
We were able to bring a new
Audience to Kedi, that people who wouldn't have seen the movie. And I still have the idea of YouTube channels
Interfacing with productions that are not their own,
Like things that they could never do but they really like and want to talk about and share with their audience,
I would love to see other channels do that
I feel like we got a little bit caught up in the excitement of the idea.
I, at the time was like, we should do this four times a year and have like a quarterly documentary that we share on vlogbrothers
But like now I feel a little bit like ... When people expressed concern or were upset
I didn't have an easy way to say like 'oh, here's ... here's the reason why you shouldn't be upset' and that in itself is a
Red flag. Like there was no simple way to say
'No, it's this!' because it's not, it's more complicated than that. So I just want to get a little bit of a post-mortem debrief on ...
On Kedi, and how it went, and how ... and that we've been thinking about it,
And what we've been thinking about, explain it a little bit. And also
I'm super interested in what you think. Advertising is changing really quickly
It's going to have to be a different thing in a world without eight minutes of ads in every 30 minutes of content.
Not even including the brand deals that are in the 22 minutes part.
But advertising is a huge part of how creations get funded
And I'm not really sure what the creative world looks like without the advertising industry. Like I don't love the advertising industry,
Though I am obviously a part of it. Maybe it doesn't need to exist.
Maybe subscription services and Patreon type things can take over for the lost revenue there
I don't really think so, like it's not gonna take over for 100 percent of that lost revenue.
So what's the advertising industry going to be like in the future?
How do you feel about Br ... people doing brand deals and how they disclose them and and when it's good and when it's bad?
And how do you feel about this fuzzy area where you're being paid for one thing
But people kind of know that there's going to be other value delivered, but that doesn't have to be
Labeled because it's not the thing that's being paid for. Really interested in what your thoughts are.
I think that it's a cool opportunity to think about the stuff a little bit
And I'm glad that ... kind of glad that I did it for a bunch of reasons,
But also, just because otherwise I wouldn't feel comfortable interfacing with the conversation because I wouldn't feel like I was part of the conversation.
But ,here now,
I do feel like I'm part of the conversation because I did the thing. A version of it anyway, so thanks for listening
I hope that this clears up ...
I'm sorry that it took us so long to talk about it
but, like, we sort of wanted to get it a little bit behind before we did
Yeah, but definitely always thinking. I'll see you later