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Howcast on Fox Business

Fox Business - "Young Guns"


Woman 1: How to quit smoking.

Man 1: How to do the moonwalk

Man 2: How to use Twitter.

Woman 2: How to be green at work.

Daniel: One of the things we noticed when we were at Google and YouTube was the popularity of this type of content.

Christina: Daniel Blackman, Sanjay Raman, and Jason Liebman were working together at Google when they noticed a new trend in instructional video.

Daniel: There were lots and lots of searches for things like 'How to tie a bow tie' or 'How to tie a tie' etc, 'How to jump start you car, and you would have usually user generated content, not high quality but still somewhat accurate generating millions and millions of views.

Christina: So the three, along with Jason's sister Darlene started Howcast Media in February 2008 with 10 million dollars in private funding.

Jason: It's easier for people to sort of digest something if it's presented in a video as opposed to text.

Man 3: Find a floor that's good for sliding. It's easier to learn the movements if you start out in socks. Stand with your feet together, then move your right foot ahead of your left while keeping both feet on the ground.

Christina: Howcast gets is content from three places. In-house directors, aggregation from other sites, and a film maker program they've created that pays you $50 a pop to create a video.

Darlene: Anyone can join. They download a script which we have written, we write all the scripts in house. And they're all about three minutes in length.

Christina: With 35 full-time employees who help oversee the 100,000 videos on the Howcast site, there's a lot to cover. The information ranges from highly technical to downright amusing. The most popular video today? 'How to kiss with passion'.

Narrator: You will need a partner you're passionate about and comfortable space, such as a couch.

Sanjay: It sort of speaks to how we make our content. You can make a 'how to video' site and it could be very basic stuff, very practical, utility based things. Where it's like 'how to chop an onion' or 'how to make sushi'. One of the things we thought we could bring to the table and one of the things that our partners and our customers and our advertisers find appealing is that we bring an edge to our content.

Christina: Howcast creates all of their own technology, including their iPhone application and video player.

Sanjay: For anyone who, any company who thinks of themselves as a technology company there are probably bits and pieces of things that you can outsource or maybe you outsource things to boot strap. But ultimately, to be able to start to do things more creatively and more effectively you need to take those things in-house. And if you look at our video player, there's step by step navigations. In a three minute video, you may have watched it once, you may be interested in step three which is 'chopping an onion' or something or whatever it may be. We give the ability for people to quickly jump to those points in the video. So it's almost like scanning text.

Christina: Jason says he's aware that creating content on the web that makes money is key, which is why Howcast has three sources of revenue. Make money from targeted ads, get paid to have products showcased in their videos, and license their own in-house technology. "Being a next generation media company means thinking big," explains Jason, "and not focusing on just driving traffic to your own site."

Jason: Whether its YouTube or MySpace or Hulu or your mobile phone or your TV, you want to get your content everywhere because people are consuming content in all these different places.

Christina: Finally, we had to ask the 'How to' question that keeps so many entrepreneurs up at night. How do you create a successful start up?

Daniel: You have to have a good idea. You have to be relentless with respect to approaching your business space, so you can never rest. You have to do more than, I think, any young company or any media company has ever had to do in the history of creating companies. It's not enough just to have a destination website or to create content or to have client based business or to create good technology or to work in ad sales. You have to bundle that all together, and I think that is one of the interesting parts of our story. That in order to be competitive, you have to do everything and you have to do it at 150 miles an hour,

Christina: And for more on the Howcast founders, check out For Fox, I'm Christina Scotti.

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