How a Digital Studio Connects With the Youth Market

Vimby, an emerging online channel and digital studio, has successfully tapped into young and hip social subcultures nationwide over the last year. Vimby, or Video in My Backyard, also recently partnered with Puma to create effective brand content videos.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Dean Waters, Vimby’s founder, for the last in my series on new digital studios. Here’s our conversation.

Christine Beardsell: How did Vimby come about? Did you seek out the pool of young filmmakers (preditors) that are creating content for your site, or did they find you?

Dean Waters: Vimby came about through a variety of reasons. For one, I am very passionate about surf/skate and music. Secondly, there was a huge void in video (safe) associations for adults 18 to 24. Finally, there’s really no good local programming outside of local news and certainly no good local programming for 18 to 24 year olds.

My background is largely revenue development on the regional side of the cable industry and that’s where I was exposed to a lack of relevant associations for the young adult demographic.

The Vimby model is something that was developed over a year and a half period. We hand picked all of our filmmakers through a very vigorous process. We originally thought we would transplant crews around the country and have them roam regions seeking relevant youth content. But we quickly realized through trial and error that we would not get an authentic view of things with transplant crews and that locally entrenched filmmakers were the way to go — not only because they are already entrenched in the local scene and can bring the most current and relevant stories to us but [also] because of their intimate knowledge of the subcultures.

CB: In your opinion, how has filmmaking changed since the advent of online video?

DW: First of all, the barrier to entry has dropped substantially. With the increase in distribution outlets, coupled with changes in technology, any person who is passionate and creative can now make a film and find an audience for it.

The independent filmmaker now has outlets to be recognized — and I’m not just talking about the enormous passive distribution platforms. There are several targeted platforms that truly cater to a variety of genre-based filmmakers.

Then you have the element of the big brands participating in the space and wanting to develop organic-branded content. This presents a tremendous opportunity for the filmmaker to make real dollars for original ideas that brands want to engage with.

The beauty of the filmmaker/brand scenario is what makes a company like Vimby so attractive to the filmmaking community. We are in front of the brands and being commissioned to develop ideas. Vimby now commissions the filmmaker to work on a brand campaign to better their professional reel or implements an idea a filmmaker has and compensates them for that.

CB: How would you describe Vimby? Is it a new digital production studio? A channel? Or something else entirely?

DW: Vimby is a media brand on the Internet emerging as a filter for relevance. We are not just a production company. We will not take a job unless our brand remains in tact. We’ve worked really hard to establish the Vimby brand and gain the trust of the trendsetters and influencers in our categories. We not only have an online presence, but we also have several offline events to give the advertiser multiple touch points. The brands that are working with us are doing it for the association and the line of communication we’ve established with our demographic.

But it’s not just about Vimby.com. An individual piece or series of Vimby videos may be exclusive to another platform and never even hit Vimby.com. And that’s OK, as long as the brand is represented.

CB: Why should filmmakers be a part of Vimby?

DW: If you’re a seasoned filmmaker making a great living, Vimby’s pay scale may not be that attractive to you. But if you’re a filmmaker at the top of your game making a great living who feels you have no home for your true passion projects, Vimby can be a great outlet for [you].

Now, if you’re a young, emerging filmmaker passionate about one of our target subcultures, your skill set and sensibilities are right, yet you’re still growing, Vimby is a terrific place to be mentored and a terrific place to make some money while you build your reel and grow professionally. We work very closely with the filmmakers, who are part of the Vimby family, to improve their storytelling, segment producing, and techniques. We’ve been able to expose some of these filmmakers to experiences and projects they might not otherwise have the opportunity to cover.

CB: How many preditors currently post on Vimby? Do you have loyal contributors, or an ongoing turnaround of new talent?

DW: We currently have 75 filmmakers on our roster. It’s been a pretty steady number. However, we do drop filmmakers and we do lose filmmakers. The amount of submissions on a daily basis is pretty staggering. So we’re consistently adding, upgrading, and refreshing the roster. Although we do have a solid 40 that love Vimby and have become hardcore Vimby advocates, in an effort to stay relevant, changing up the roster is a good thing.

CB: Describe your ideal advertising partnership.

DW: Part media and part content development. An advertiser that believes in our filmmaking ability and allows us some creative freedom. We thrive on connecting the dots with the advertising community and the hard-to-reach young adult.

Join us for ClickZ Specifics: Online Video Advertising on July 22, at Millennium Broadway in New York City.

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