5 Question Interview: David Burch from TubeMogul

tubemogul online video deployment and statisticsAnyone who has talked to me recently about online video distribution knows I have been singing the praises of TubeMogul. Founded in 2006 by online video buffs who met while in graduate school, TubeMogul’s objective from the start has been to empower online video producers, advertisers and the online video industry by providing publishing tools and insightful, easy to interpret analytics.

With TubeMogul, users upload videos once and TubeMogul deploys them to as many of the top video sharing sites the producer chooses. TubeMogul’s integrated analytics then provide a single source of metrics on where, when, and how often the videos are viewed. Best of all, this service is FREE.

As part of my love of TubeMogul’s services I contacted them to see if I could interview someone for my blog. David Burch, the Marketing Manager for TubeMogul, kindly obliged.

David Burch is 25 years old and studied at Berkeley, where he currently resides and where TubeMogul is based. His previous job was as Content Manager for an e-commerce startup in San Francisco. After briefly attending law school, he found his way to TubeMogul, where he currently heads up their marketing efforts.

The previous night someone in his neighborhood in Berkeley was singing songs in French at the top of their lungs which kept David up for most of the night. After I promised not to break into “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” during the interview…we got down to business and commenced:

Eric Guerin: So David, how was TubeMogul able to partner with so many video sharing sites to provide a solution to video deployment and especially aggregate video viewing statistics?

David Burch: Video sites are eager to make life easier for their users, and we help do that with our free distribution and analytics tools. While our CEO has the “biz dev chops,” it is our 30,000 passionate users, from CBS Interactive and Next New Networks on down to vloggers and struggling filmmakers, that are truly responsible for making these deals happen by putting out high-quality content that these video sites want to sell advertising around.

EG: How are you able to offer such a robust product for free?

DB: While there are over 30,000 free users of TubeMogul mainly made up of vloggers and small independent video production studios, our business is able to “keep the lights on” because of clients such as CBS Interactive, Michael Eisner’s new media production company, Vuguru, Next New Networks and several agencies representing the top brands in media technology and consumer products. These clients require more robust services such as BuzzTracker which allows companies to track buzz in the user generated content world or compare their brand versus their competitors by tracking videos and viewership across the internet based upon selected keywords. We even assist some of these companies by managing viral marketing campaigns and hiring production studios to create “response videos” to increase their brand recognition.

EG: TubeMogul’s industry analysis and reports are incredibly in depth and helpful to any video publisher looking to gain more information about various video sharing sites, what constitutes a view, etc. What led TubeMogul to become so forward thinking regarding this research and analysis?

DB: Thanks! Having deployed over 800,000 videos, we have a wealth of data on online video viewership and are trying to share it with the world. Since we sell the graph and not a particular video player or advertiser, our only agenda is truth.

TubeMogul video viewing stats for SmartMarket MovieEG: One big thing I know a lot of online video producers would find beneficial is being able to track if people watch the video to completion or the overall length of time they watched the video. Dealing with so many different video sharing sites, will this be a possibility in the near future?

DB: Getting in-player statistics like that is something we are working on, both in terms of the engineering and in getting the deals with sites. Many video sites are understandably cautious about letting us that deep into their code, but several are coming around and we expect the rest to follow, given the power of these statistics. Also, since we are becoming a nexus of sorts for online video, these deals are starting to look more and more realistic.

EG: What is TubeMogul working on now to stay ahead of the curve with online video deployment and marketing tools? Any ideas or concepts you could share?

DB: Our main focus is on more distribution venues, richer data and new features. One of our current Premium Products will be made free in August. We are also constantly querying the data to look for trends for new studies. Increasingly, journalists and advertisers are calling with questions and interesting ideas.

EG: Any new video sharing sites that are emerging or are doing things to really augment the user experience?

DB: One video sharing site that’s really doing exciting things is Viddler. They have a really cool player that allows viewers to tag and place comments or video response links anywhere along the player timeline. It really has taken the video player to another level of online functionality and interactivity for the user.

EG: Thanks David!

But he's so healthy…he's got a moustache and everything!

American FlyersThe title of this blog post also happens to be one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. Because it’s said by Alexandra Paul when she finds out that Kevin Costner has a cerebral aneurysm in the movie American Flyers. It’s always struck me as an odd and funny thing to say in such a situation. You might say “Why is Eric sharing this?” Well, because you see…I have a dirty little secret. I am a huge fan of bicycle racing.

I grew up in Fitchburg which annually held the Longsjo Classic Cycling Race – little known fact – it’s the second oldest bike race in the United States. Every year as a kid I remember getting excited to go see the racers fly at superhuman speed through the downtown of Fitchburg. I even saw Lance Armstrong ride and win the race pre-cancer in 1992. The speed, the crashes…I was hooked for life.

July brought the Tour de France – held annually where all the world’s most talented cyclists fall on France for a month long bicycle race. As a kid I didn’t have the internet or a million television channels (I know I sound like Statler from the Muppets) I would eagerly anticipate the Wide World of Sports coverage every Sunday for 1 hour recapping everything that happened over the course of the previous week. Now of course you can get LIVE coverage on the Versus Network everyday or can listen to any number of live feeds online.

So to curb my thirst for cycling, I would watch movies…and there have been some good ones…and I admit a few bad ones too. So here without further ado are my favorites of all time in alphabetical order:

  • American Flyers (1985)
    Kevin Costner & David Grant play brothers estranged after their fathers death. Costner plays a bike racer that convinces Grant to compete with him in a cycling race called The Hell of the West to repair their relationship. Great bike racing footage & great quotes.
  • Bicycle Thief (1948)
    Also known as Ladri di Biciclette – This was directed by Vittorio De Sica. It’s a touching story with a moving portrait of after-war life in Italy. A workman spends a whole day looking in vain in the streets of Rome for the bicycle someone has stolen from him. Truly a masterpiece.
  • Breaking Away (1979)
    Coming of age film about 4 friends try to break away from their townie, reputation while fighting with nearby college snobs. Stars a young Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Dennis Christopher. If you have not seen this, rent it right now. Seriously. Jump on your bicycle and ride to the rental store or get it on your NetFlix list because it’s that good.
  • Quicksilver (1986)
    Kevin Bacon plays a yuppie who loses his job and becomes a bike courier in San Francisco. Also stars “Larry” Fishburne (before he became Laurence Fishburne and Louie Anderson (who does NOT ride a bike…just thought I would point that out). Add this to your 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon repertoire.
  • Sunday in Hell (1976)
    Also known as
    Forårsdag i Helvede, En – Documentary filmmaker Jorgen Leth delivers an amazing view of Paris-Roubaix the one day stage race over cobblestones commonly referred to as the Hell of the North (not to be confused with the fictional Hell of the West in American Flyers). A masterpiece of cycling cinematography in a study of the dramatic battle that ensues.
  • The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
    This animated feature, directed by Sylvain Chomet concerns a cyclist named Champion who enters the Tour de France and is kidnapped during the race. The woman who raised him, Madame Souza and her faithful dog set out to rescue him. There isn’t one word of dialogue spoken in the entire film yet the story is compelling and truly draws you in.

There have been others – honorable mentions go to fantastic documentaries like the Road to Paris, The Tour Baby and The Hard Road. All definitely worth checking out but I could go on forever on this subject.

So the what is the moral to this story? These movies and documentaries all have great cinematography – but what makes them great is their story. Every year when watching the Tour de France there is a cyclist who comes out of nowhere to surprise everyone usually on a single day or stage. He probably won’t win the overall title but for ONE DAY he is watched by millions cheering him on hoping he can stay clear of the engulfing peleton – made up of hundreds of riders on different teams all working together to chase him down. Most are caught in the final kilometers before the finish but once in a while he succeeds in escaping. The classic underdog story we all enjoy cheering for. So check these movies out when you get a chance and vive le tour!