The Rise And Fall Of YouTube Tutorials
This video is brought to you by curiositystream. Get access to curiositystream. And my streaming service nebula, and check out my nebula, exclusive, video debater, theater when you sign up for curiositystream. At, curiositystream.com. Sarah's ed with the coupon code sarahzad. So when i was 13, i was cast as the narrator, in a summer camp production, of 101, dalmatians, and i needed to learn how to do a posh english accent. I searched up tutorials, on youtube, and ended up on a very helpful channel called video jug where an acting coach taught me some great tips for how to sound like wallace and gromit. Once i finished watching that video i clicked on the channel to see more content, and within an hour i was down at least five separate rabbit holes of 9 11 conspiracy. Theories, werewolf, hunting, and pretending, to be french. All from the same channel. What, so video jug is a channel that claimed to offer tens of thousands of how-to videos, on various topics, from animal care to dating advice to accent lessons to politics. The channel boasted nearly 750. 000 subscribers. And over half a billion, views. Back in the early 2010s. They would post dozens of videos, a day, often narrated, by experts in various, fields. At the same time under the surface of helpful, tutorials, and expert opinions, was a massive collection, of truly, bizarre, content, waiting to be unearthed, but in 2013. The channel underwent, a serious, overhaul, that caused them to severely, rebrand, and stop uploading, on their main channel in what they didn't realize would be the end of their how to empire. How did we get here. In 2006. Video jug was founded by three british creators. Entrepreneur. David tabazel, entrepreneur. Dan thompson, and journalist, danny kelly. Although he wasn't mentioned by most news sites as being one of the founders. Documentary. Filmmaker, james peake who worked on the writing for many original video jug videos, also claims to be a founder on his website. The channel was founded, in the really early days of youtube before they were even owned by google and they really were trying to do something new on top of the youtube channel itself they also created a website. Videojugg.com. The url, now redirects, back to the channel but at the time, videodrug.com. Was basically, a centralized. Hub for all of their tutorial, videos. The site provided, captions, and text versions of the videos, that could be easily, printed out if need be, when video jugs started out as a bastion, of the youtube how-to, community, they likely didn't intend to be a host for low-budget. Hospital, dramas, conspiracy. Theorists, and deeply, disturbing, music videos. Rather they were trying to fill a niche that, while commonplace, now didn't really exist, at the time of video jug's creation. Youtube, was still in its infancy, there wasn't a general, central hub for video content, and internet advice and knowledge was often hard to find and unreliable. Video jug wanted to fill that hole by making a trustworthy, service to inform people of whatever they might need be it advice on golf, advice for job interviews, car maintenance, or dating tips. Lots and lots of dating tips. But of course, hiring, experts, on such a broad range of topics, renting out studio space and equipment, hiring, editors, and hosting, thousands of videos, wasn't cheap. Video jug was going to need money. In their first year they acquired, 30 million dollars in startup capital from two different investors. Jeremy, caller an investment firm owner worth 320. Million, pounds, and a recently defunct london-based, hedge fund called sloane robinson, that was known mostly for its stock trading in asia, knowing now the amount of bizarre, content, hiding under video jugs smooth, and polished, exterior. It's baffling, to me that they got this much money right off the bat, but an idea like this had never really been done before and the idea of having one place to go to learn how to do almost, anything, was probably, pretty exciting. As it turns out according to some linkedin comments, from one of its former ceos, the company, failed to turn a profit until 2016. An entire, decade, later and even then the company was essentially, gone by the next year, a couple people basically, just put 30 million dollars, into a jug, and this company just kept, taking from the jug for 10 years until someone dropped some more coins in, and then it turned into a ghost.
Jug. Okay so, they had their money they had 30 million dollars, to lose. The company was able to open an office in los angeles and began doing sponsored, tutorial, videos for microsoft. With the help of a couple of nifty features in microsoft, office's, new bits of kit, you don't need to be away from the parties for too long. They also set up a deal with the yellow pages website not too long after that linked their videos to the yellow pages search engine, and with this video jug was ready to get started, and make their impact on the world, their first few videos, started out fairly normally. Their first video is still up on the channel and incidentally. Still one of their most popular, is a tutorial, on how to kiss passionately. After that it was a mix of golf card tricks sponsored, tech videos, and michael jackson, dance tutorials. They're okay. I mean none of them are shot very well and there's a decidedly. Awkward, quality to all of them but they do technically. Inform, people on how to do things, in 2011. Then ceo, tom laidlaw, gave a talk about the goals and aims of video jug and it's really bizarre, to watch now almost a decade, later, with the knowledge of how the internet would evolve in video jug's final fate. Tom states that the main focus of video jug is to create short form sponsored, content that viewers find primarily, via searches. In his own words it was less about becoming, a destination. Site but rather producing, content that other users would find on their online journey, additionally. Video jug videos needed to have a long shelf life, viewers would need to be able to utilize, these videos, for years to come. Anyway so here's a video about how to add a photo background, for your zune, tom really places, emphasis, on video jugs reliance, on short form content. Even bragging, that they found the boutique, video length of two to five minutes. If you've ever watched video essays on youtube which i'm fairly confident, that you have. You'll know that youtube, has started to favor longer, and longer videos, in recent years, often prioritizing. Them in the algorithms, and encouraging, them with higher viewer retention, rates. While tom may be talking about what makes video jugs succeed. He's also, inadvertently. Referencing. The very thing that contributed, to its downfall. Also, tom ends this video by saying that video jug prioritizes. Quality, sound and video because, if the sound isn't good, viewers are more likely to close the video in the first five seconds. Three things. One. We know that's not true. Two this whole presentation. Has some god-awful. Fuzz behind it. And three. But, you win, by frightening. Other team, watch, videos. The first sign on their channel that things were going a little strangely. Was a video titled. How to be a hogwarts, student which was half tutorial. Half. Not very funny comedy video, in which viewers were encouraged, to try starting arguments, with their friends until they got mad enough to curse each other and unlock, their psychic powers. Murmuring, random words into their casserole, until they mastered, potions, and tormenting, friends by levitating, various, objects. It's worth mentioning here that video jug allowed user-submitted. Content which was supposedly, vetted for quality before being allowed on the website and channel, as i'll talk about later, it's. Questionable. How well vetted these videos, actually, were. In any case according to the founders, user submitted tutorials. Made up about, five percent, of video drugs content, and, how to be a hogwarts, student may well have been one of these, it's worth mentioning, though that a lot of these videos are written by and star the exact, same people and very quickly.
A Lot more than five percent of their content, gets very bizarre. It's all a very strange, mix of genuinely, helpful tutorials. And just videos, of dudes, dicking around and trying to be funny. For example. How to clown about whilst being pursued, a video that teaches you how to be a discount vaudeville protagonist. Stars the same actor as the serious, tutorial. How to avoid credit card fraud. How to clown about whilst being pursued. The vaudeville, guy was also an official writer for video jug according to the wikipedia, page of his comedy partner who most, certainly, wrote this page himself. The two of them were also featured in a huffington post article from 2012. Teaching people how to give compliments, as part of video jug, my point being. A lot of these weird videos, weren't being submitted, by random trolls, but by the video jug team themselves. This weird, incongruity. Is further exemplified. By the insane, view discrepancy. On video jug, you'd have a video with four million, views right next to a video with 400. Views some having as many as 35, million, and some having as few as 12.. Like not 12 million or 12 like 12.. And whenever, these weird, pseudo-comedy. Videos, showed up on the channel, the commenters, who did see it would respond with a mix of bafflement, and anger, what they were watching. Even their most popular, videos, have weirdly, high dislike, ratios, showing, incredible. Dissatisfaction. Towards, video jug, given their weirdly, inconsistent. Content. You'd think they wouldn't be nearly, as popular, as they were, i mean anyone going to the channel for genuine, help would likely be put off by videos, like, how to intimidate, the opposition. Where a guy in a fake russian accent, just, screams, for three minutes. And people who wanted them to go full how to basic would likely get bored with the large swaths, of fairly, helpful, and mundane, videos. According to the founders, the most popular, advice categories, on the channel were job tips and dating advice and the sheer volume, of romance, tutorials, on the channel is evidence of this. Looking at their top 10 videos, three of them were some flavor, of dating tip. Given the thousands, of topics, discussed on the channel that's, a lot. Based on their most popular, videos, it seems like their more mainstream, collections, of romance, money advice and dance tutorials, were supplementing. Weirder things like, how to survive a werewolf, attack, despite, the bizarre, nature, of everything going on here it seems like the founders, really believed, in video jug as a project. The founders blog section on the now gone website, includes this oddly, poetic, 2006. Entry by founder david tabazal. For me. Video, jugg used to have another name. The wisdom, project. The wisdom, of the older generations. Is often discarded. And so is lost forever when they die, this is such a waste. There are numerous, historical. Practical. And personal, life events that repeat themselves. Generation, after generation. Sadly, it is a strange, fact that today, in a multimedia. World, that so much, experience. And understanding. Is unavailable. On a universal, basis. Our task. At video jug is to collect. And succinctly. Film, world-class. Experience. And know-how. By making and sharing, tens of thousands of films we can eventually produce, a living. Breathing. Collaborative. Video encyclopedia. To surviving, and prospering. In the face of the common challenges, found. In modern life. An ever-evolving. Searchable. Source on how to live well, and achieve success. Wealth. Health. And happiness. It's also worth mentioning, that when it comes to the weirder variety, of video jug tutorials. A lot of them were sequels, that followed ongoing, narratives, from earlier videos. Like some sort of video jug cinematic, universe. So if you were wondering how to stay friends with your ex and ended up on a tutorial, for it on video jug, you would find yourself, not on a straightforward. Tutorial, video but on a fucking, hospital, set with the words. Last time on broken hearts, blaring, at you. It's not even a tutorial. It's just a three minute episode of an ongoing, hospital, drama series courtesy, of video jug framed as a how-to. Hospital, sets are incredibly. Expensive. If you don't have this stuff already, you're going to have to rent it and that's going to rack up a lot of money. At the same time the quality, of the video is absolutely. Terrible, even for something that came out in 2008. It's just really, not shot well yet this must have cost a ridiculous, amount of money for video jug to make.
It's The perfect, indicator, of a channel that clearly had a lot of money but not a lot to actually. Do with it another, odd thing about these continuous. Narratives, is that they're notoriously. Hard to find. Almost, all of their videos are formatted, as how to do this even when they're not really tutorials. And it's not like their multi-video. Stories have a playlist, or anything. We know they exist, partly because i've stumbled upon a few and because james peake the filmmaker, from earlier who describes, himself as a founder, still advertises. That he wrote an ongoing, love story for video jug, but they're very difficult, to actually, look for and the only real way to find one is to accidentally, stumble, across them while searching for a straightforward. Tutorial. Also i have to say that one of my favorite, video jug videos that's part of an overarching, narrative, is called, how to know the lyrics, to baby i love you, it's just a music, video. By a band supposedly. Called go for it which was originally, created for another parody video jug video how to start a boy band. Not only is the title, incredibly, awkward, being weirdly, forced into the how-to, title style, but despite, being about how to know the lyrics, the lyrics, are not listed either in the video, or in the description. And, just to add another layer of weirdness. Halfway through the video it just. Stops. Like dead ass. Stops. I didn't pause or edit that that's legit, how it was uploaded. And the bizarre, thing is that you can find a proper version of this video on their dailymotion. Page, meaning this wasn't just an intentional, shit post but rather some sort of rendering, error that happened in the youtube upload process. Which begs the question of what oversight. Did this channel, have. How did nobody, catch this after nearly, 10 years. And why did nobody, seem to care, a lot of these videos weren't even tutorials. And didn't purport, to be for example the aforementioned. Conspiracy. Theory video was just a guy unironically. Talking about how jet fuel can't melt steel beams. There was no tutorial, or how to it was just a random, conspiracy. Guy talking about controlled, demolitions. Or this video here that i'm not going to name because i don't want to get demonetized. But was once again, just a guy talking about how it's a phenomenon. Of science. And these are two of their earliest, videos. Beyond the fact that their whole channel was a bizarre, mix of genuine, tutorial, videos, and this stuff. A lot of their actual tutorials. Aren't very good. Like for example, this video, how to sound like donald duck is meant to be a genuine, piece of information, about improving, your voice work, except that the advice, is bad and at no point does the expert, and actor named rasheen, ever actually, sound like donald duck. Once you've mastered the quack. Move on to some simple phrases. Side note but rasheen's, videos, are some of my favorite on video jug and when i first fell in love with this channel in like 2012. They were the ones that really got me hooked, there's, how to cry on cue where at no point do any tears come out of rasheen's, eyes. There's how to be impossibly. French where rasheen teaches you how to pretend to be french by stringing garlic around your neck and making up a fake french town where your bad french accent is from, how to fake a sickness, where she suggests, carrying, a can of vegetable, soup wherever you go with your friends in case you want to pretend to throw it up to get out of a social interaction. And finally, possibly, my favorite rasheen, video, how to act like a vampire, with a bit about walking that feels like something out of what we do in the. Shadows. Nadia could never, i went on a bit of an internet, rabbit hole when i first found this video so many years ago, and i have this really distinct, memory of tweeting to rasheen, and her replying, but i can find no evidence of this ever actually having happened, and i can barely find, anything about her now. Wherever, she is i hope she's doing well and messages me on twitter, we don't have time to cover, every bizarre, video video jug released, believe me i desperately, want to but i put it into a web tool and it told me it would take a full week without sleeping breaks to watch every video jug video, and according to the site's ethos, short videos, are key for good seo. I estimate that this is probably, at least four video drugs long by now maybe for a charity stream one day i don't know that being said a lot of these titles, are just so choice so i would absolutely, recommend, choosing at least one off this list that speaks to you and looking it up yourself, because no matter which one it is, you're gonna find something absolutely, incredible. There's this one where they just interview, random people at comic-con, and creep on cosplayers.
There's How to seduce a celebrity. How to butch up your male dog. How to manipulate. Men mind games for bad girls and a whole bunch more, beautifully, bizarre, content, for your viewing pleasure. But a good, thing can't last forever. And eventually. As views dropped, and subscription, counts stagnated. It was time for video jug to adapt, to a changing, internet. So in 2013. Video jug began the process, of an intense, rebranding. Fortunately, for us, it was no less weird. So around, 2013. Another website, founded in 2006. Began to grow in popularity. The site hosted, hundreds upon thousands of articles, guides, lists quizzes celebrity, news stolen twitter posts, and something vaguely resembling, journalism. While criticized, heavily at the time the site would soon grow into prominence, and it wasn't long before the name buzzfeed, was on everybody's, mind. You might have heard of it i don't know, one of the keys to buzzfeed's, success, on top of the sheer volume, of viral content they put out and or aggregated, without credit or compensation. Is that, much like video jug their channel is clearly divided, into a wide variety, of nicely, categorizable. And highly shareable, content. If you're into food there are entire channels like buzzfeed's, tasty that focus entirely. On that, if you're into diy, look no further than nifty. You can find sub-channels, of buzzfeeds, for virtually, every topic that could possibly, go viral, and the massive media network that they own has been a major, key to their success. Well for a channel like video jug that while successful, has never once been profitable. And seems to be struggling to define itself, this kind of formula, is extra desirable. And video jug likely, very quickly, wanted in, so they stopped focusing, on their main channel and instead, started up a collection, of side channels, each focused on their own topic while giving their website, a drastic, remodel. This wasn't the first time video jug had attempted, something like this, back in 2012, they attempted to start up a channel called video jug gaming to focus specifically. On video game related content. The channel only ever ended up getting just under 8 000 subs a small fraction of video jugs 700. 000 and most of their tutorial, content, was not only extremely, low budget but also just like. Bizarre. For example, take this tutorial, ostensibly, a guide on how to play zelda, ocarina, of time, you'd think it would teach you how to fight or where to progress. Or useful tips for the game itself, but the actual tutorial, is literally just a guide of turning on your console. Selecting, the save file and booting it up and the video just ends there before you ever get a chance to actually, play any zelda, the video, has a singular, comment, incredulously. Asking whether this is a troll channel, once again though it super wasn't. This was one of their real ones. The rest of the channel is mostly like this with a few guides on evolving, specific, pokemon, somewhere in the mix, when video jug decided, to set up a series of more specific, channels for their network a year or two later, video jug gaming was unsurprisingly. Not resurrected. Instead. Video jugs set up a series of network channels, focusing on various topics, like makeup, comedy, and diys. They initially, named these channels, along the lines of video jug beauty, video jug food and drink and video jug diy, gardening. But shortly, afterwards, renamed, them to buzzfeedier. Sounding names like pose, scoff. Deco bliss and my favorite channel quipstar. Which focused on short form comedy content that could be watched in single sittings. Wait. This feels familiar. These channels, weren't, not popular, but they also never really caught on, subscriber, counts would range from, 395. 000 on one channel to as little as 100. Subscribers. On another. For example, one of their network channels, status, fear had just under 800, subscribers. And despite the fact that all these channels were rebranded, to be sleek and buzzfeedy. Wasn't, any less bizarre, than its early video jug counterparts. Statosphere. Focused on listicles, in video forms such as, seven facts you need to know about pluto.
Superb, Five word tombstones. Or my favorite, jared leto's, facts and rumors that prove he'll be terrifying. Which not only aged beautifully but i just love the weirdly clunky way they named it, it doesn't even mention the joker, or the movie, jared leto is just, rumored to be terrifying. Which, if you follow hollywood, rumors he is, a lot of this just genuinely, feels like click hole stuff like this one where baby's, faces are photoshopped, into pizza, and it just, lists, the babies. Who will be the baby. Of the year. At the same time again it wasn't like this was pure parody, and they leaned fully into it a lot of this stuff was just completely, serious, and felt like an almost cynical, attempt to capture buzzfeed, energy, making the weird stuff, even weirder, and this was true for all of their channels, for example, pose, their associated. Beauty channel was mostly full of very basic hair and makeup tutorials, that had a lot of mainstream, appeal. And then they also had stuff on there like, how to read a man by his lounge lizard boots which was again, a pseudo comedy video about how you shouldn't trust a man who wears leather boots, by the end, most of the pose videos, were fairly basic, and typically, featured a couple of distinct personalities. But the weird, oddly, inconsistent. Content, was always, lurking, just below the surface. The bizarre, nature of the channel had never stopped video jug from getting moderately, popular, in the past, and these new network channels were no exception. Based on those ceo, linkedin, comments, this was the first time video jug had ever been popular, and they seemed to find a business model that worked for them, luckily, information, on how that happened, is pretty readily available, because of another side channel, video jug networks, where they advertised, their company, and encouraged, creators, to be a part of it they state that they can connect creators, to branded, content, and help them with audience engagements, they proudly boast that they receive a total of over 60, 000 likes comments, and shares a month which is a number that seems really impressive, until you realize, that just moments later they said they were basing this off of over 30 channels worth of content, even just pausing the clip you can see a screenshot, from one of their advertised, videos, and see that it has only 2, 381. Views and only 32. Likes, on top of producing, content for video jug's own affiliated. Channels, the network, also advertised, itself, as a sort of, early, mcn. Basically, they tried to attract, independent, creators, to make sponsored, content, on their own channels, while affiliated, with video jug, which to be fair has been a successful, business model for other networks in the past. Except, some of these affiliated, channels are linked on video jug's main page and they're just, not very successful. Their most popular, affiliated, channel is a magician, with 12 000 subscribers. Who later went on to appear on some morning talk shows and do some pretty cool magic tricks. Everyone, else has fewer subscribers, than him including, affiliated, channels with as few as 100.. For example there's a makeup, channel on here with a hundred subs that released, six videos, ever and never uploaded, again.
Based On their show reels made to advertise, to other creators. Sponsored, videos, seem to be typically commissioned, in series of six so several of these channels were created, for video jug, made content, once and then, never again. And they're still listed on video jug networks, page, also i googled the woman who made these makeup videos and she's a verified, instagram, influencer, now with a website, a podcast. And 50, 000 subscribers. She was also highlighted, in the bbc, and the daily mail, it's not that the talent they hired wasn't good, it's that they seem to have no idea what to do with it and this is a common thing when it comes to video jug, they started out with a lot of money and clearly, had access to a lot of talented, people, one of the earliest, videos they uploaded, is william, shatner, showing off a bad celebrity, impression. They were able to secure interviews, with several celebrities, at the 2018. Choice awards like brenda song shailene, woodley, and director, john chu, yet once again, this video has an absurdly. Low view count at only. 175. Views. And the actual talent they hired was once again, often made up of some genuinely. Skilled, people. Remember that guy from earlier who wrote a bunch of video jug videos, and very obviously, wrote his own wikipedia, page, yeah he won two baftas, and was one of the writers for sean the sheep and both paddington, movies. The problem, wasn't the people video jug had access to, the problem, was something with video jug itself. Something just wasn't, working. The jug wasn't empty, the jug had all the right ingredients, for a tasty pitcher of content. They just didn't know how to mix any of it together. So, what's wrong here. Despite. Or maybe because, of the lack of significant, material, success, coming out of video jug networks, they were going through a lot of changes, behind the scenes in the mid 2010s. They initially, hired a ceo, named nancy krugschank, who stepped down to work at telegraph. They had originally, planned to simply go ceo, list but that plan quickly fell through, them instead hiring, tom laidlaw, the ceo from that video before. This unfortunately. Also didn't work out and he was terminated. As part of the rebranding. They went through an insane, number of ceos, in a very short amount of time, from nancy, to tom to their former head of commercial gareth mugford, to a woman named nina harrison, bell to their current ceo, a man named nick mcalpine. Once again, nina harrison, bell was the first person, ever to make video jug profitable, and she only worked the company for less than a year, leaving, in 2016.. But this is where things get very confusing. In october, 2015. Video jug acquired, a firm called bladenmore. That consults, for clients like banks, big airlines, and uber. Blademore's. Founder richard rivlin, became video jug networks, as chairman. Video jug is still listed, as the parent company of bladen moore in several places, which is really interesting to me because although bladenmore. Isn't a massive company. They're clearly much more engaged than video jug and are doing a lot more professional, work, video jug also created a company called arcuro. In late 2016. Which they listed on their networks page and in the descriptions, of their videos, as the company to email for b2b. Inquiries, for video jug, the arcuro, website no longer exists, and the company was formally dissolved, in november, 2018. But according to their website.
Specialists. In three distinct, areas, arcuro, is a group of award-winning. Filmmakers, and digital, experts, helping our international, client base to best use the power of film. Online video, and digital technologies. To connect. Inform, and engage with the audiences, that matter most. Whatever the fuck that means, the website, also states that they specialize, in building, sustainable, businesses, which is well. You know, arcuro's, mission statement, and everything on their website, is exceptionally. Vague and full of corporate, jargon, but, based on what parts of this web archive, from 2017. Will still load, arcuro, did some degree of work helping to produce corporate films for investment, firms and medical companies, as well as apparently, the nhs. None of these films will actually load nowadays, but googling, things like, corporate film invest corp pulls up the fact that blade and more, also produced, a corporate film for them, for a period, of about, two years, arcuro, bladenmore. And video jug were deeply, intertwined. For instance, nina harrison, bell the ceo, of video jug who brought the company into profitability. Was the head of bladen moore's video department throughout most of 2015. Then worked for video jug throughout 2016. And then after she left became the ceo of arcuro, in 2017.. She now works for another company that, while full of jargon, and corporate speak also seems to make films for corporations. So i mean, good for her. A lot of their clients are the same as well phillips is listed as a blade and more client and they were also one of the only listed sponsors, of video jug networks. Also of the few listed clients on arcuro, that we can still find on web archive, there's a lot of overlap, with bladenmore. Not to mention this shuffling, of employees, between the three companies, isn't limited just to nina, nick mcalpine. Started working for bladenmore, in 2005. And was there until 2015.. After that he became director of video jug where his linkedin said he worked until july 2017.. Earlier that year in january, of 2017. He became a director, executive, producer, at arcuro, a title his linkedin says he still holds to this day, so between january, and july, he was the director, of video jug and arkiro, at once, then in august of 2017. After seemingly, leaving video jug he became director, executive, producer, of bladenmore. Based on a blog post about lockdown, this april this is still the case and he currently heads a film team at bladenmore, that produces, films for its corporate clients. If this is confusing, to you you're not alone. My co-writer, emily and i ended up sending an email to nick hoping to disentangle. Some of whatever is going on between these three companies, and ended up receiving a response from nick saying he currently, oversees, video jug, and that he worked with video jug from the very start, before, youtube was even owned by google, so he may have been working with video jugg and blade and more at the same time, starting as far back as 2006. And still, is. We sent two follow-up, emails explaining, what this channel is and a few other questions, about what video jug's deal was but as of now we haven't gotten anything back. I want to remind, everyone once again, since a lot of these videos from bladenmore, look extremely, sleek in corporate. That they came from the same people who produced. How to clown about whilst being pursued. How to intimidate, the opposition. And how to know the lyrics to baby i love you to further, add to the confusion. Although video jugs seems to have acquired, this very serious, media company in 2015. And constantly, passed its employees, back and forth between the three companies, for several years, and although video jug is listed as blade and moore's parent company in multiple, places this no longer seems to be the case. The public records for things like acquisitions, are all available, for video jug online. And apparently, they went through some kind of downstream. Merger, in 2017. And bladen moore now controls, video jug, a venture capital, group called mc50. Bought a whole bunch of video jug shares in 2016. And a year later, bladen moore bought them back and are now video jugs owners, this is further confirmed, by the brief email exchange we had with nick in which he says he's currently, video jug's director, and oversees, it on behalf of its current owner bladen moore, we also looked further into the financial, records available for video jug because although they don't seem to like. Actually do anything, anymore, they technically, still exist, and are registered, as an active company. We also googled the office address on video jug's linkedin page and it leads back to the blademore, office, they currently are listed as having an average of zero, employees.
14, 000 pounds in current assets, and 3.9. Million, pounds in liabilities. Meaning they're worth around negative, 4 million in money right now, their fixed assets meaning stuff like equipment, and studio space also went down by 80, 000. Between this year and last year, which means they seem to be essentially, just. Sitting around, losing money for blademoor. Once again we emailed, nick to ask if video jug is actually even still doing anything anymore, but have yet to hear back, as far as we know video jug just exists, solely, as a ghost jug, dead but still around haunting the place. Looking back on video jug it's hard to see why this company is even worth remembering, or what its purpose was to begin with. How can a company, with such a simple business plan as make how-to, videos, turn into, this. And what was it that made them die out so harshly. The easiest, thing to blame is how the foundation, of youtube, itself has changed. As youtube, developed, and changed over time so did its algorithms, and its culture. This is evidenced, by the fact that the early video jug network showreel, straight up told people that most of their traffic, came from people who were searching for them, that's great if you're working with an algorithm, that prioritizes. Short videos, but as we now know, it super, does not, as mentioned before, video jug boasted about the importance, of short form video, something that would become discouraged. By youtube's, changed algorithm, which promotes, long-form, videos, more in recommendations. And search results. I mean this video alone is probably gonna turn out to be at least nine video jugs or four quivies, long, for a company dedicated, almost entirely, to seo. That had to be a significant, wound, i think the general, culture, shift of youtube, was also a pretty big factor. As the site became more and more mainstream. The prominence, of youtube, personalities. Grew more and more. Gone were the days when most people would mostly just discover, videos by googling. Now they wanted to follow, individual. Creators. Not just because they want tips but because they enjoy the people on camera. This is going to be a significant, blow to video jug because again, searches, are where most of their traffic, came from, this is really evident with the popularity. Of beauty bloggers. Which would you rather watch for makeup advice, some random how-to, video made by someone you're not sure you can trust from a generic, sounding company. Or a video made by a creator, you know and find enjoyable, and you can trust to provide, entertaining, content. And just look at me i don't call my channel sociological.
Media Criticism, i call it sarah's ed because sarah's ed is me. So on the connecting, with people side of things video, jug is naturally, going to fail because, a lot of being a successful, youtuber, these days and having people come back to your channel, is making people like not only your content, but like you as a person. And although late video jug made some efforts with hiring recurring, personalities. For their network channels, it was really just too little too late. And for people who are browsing, the internet, looking for vaguely, bizarre, and eye-catching. Instructional, content. The truth is they're not gonna be looking for something like video jug, with five minute crafts, being one of the most successful, channels of all time, the rise of content, farms has definitely, put a dent in the success, of more straightforward. Tutorial, channels. Channels like five-minute, crafts, are bright and colorful, appealing, to kids. Often cycle through the same content, over and over again meaning they take very little time and effort to make, and, as demonstrated, by youtube personalities. Like ann reardon, often, literally. Fake their tutorials. Because they produce so much content, that very few people will ever actually, try out everything they make to see if any of it actually, works, that means, as unfortunate, as it is, content farms like 5-minute, crafts and blossom, can produce, more visually, appealing, tutorials, with less time, money and effort. The rise of content, farms has had a negative effect on all kinds of creators, and producers. There's been a lot of talk about how independent, cooking channels, get forced out of youtube, because of recipes, that don't even work but can get way more views with way less effort. But i think this is especially, the case for things like video jug's now defunct, diy, channel. There's no one to connect to so people aren't going to repeatedly. Come back to this channel, there are tons of reasons the algorithm, isn't going to like video jugs so no one is going to come across it organically. Or in their recommendations. Either. That means, at best they're going to have people finding them through one-time, searches, for one very specific. Need, and that's just not enough to keep people hooked, this is true not just for video jug but for the culture, of how-to, videos, in general. I mean it's telling that right now the most popular, ostensible, how-to, channel is a guy who makes fake tutorial, videos where he just smashes, eggs around. Even if you're doing everything, right, the way youtube is currently, structured, just isn't very friendly to regular, short uploads, that aren't from personalities. You can really connect, to, for example the most popular, actual, how-to, channel right now was called howcast, with 8.1, million, subscribers. Yet despite those massive numbers, and regular, continual. Uploads, to this day, they're still not pulling very big numbers. Getting only a few thousand, views per video on average. All their heaviest, hitting videos, came out somewhere between 2010, and 2013. And they don't have a single, video in their top, 200.
Uploads, That came out less than five years ago, howcast, has its fair share of strange, and awkward videos as well, like this video about how to kiss like twilight, but, by and large the channel seems much more professional, and consistent. And the videos, are shot well and seem fairly, high quality. They're still really not doing great, all this to say, you can do everything, right as a current how-to, channel and still, fail because of the way youtube culture, is nowadays. Even howtobasic. Who again is a parody, youtuber, making fun of these channels. Isn't doing as well as he used to i mean he's still pulling a million or more views per video that's a lot, but all his really viral content, is several years old and it's been a while since the channel really struck gold. I think this is in part because the joke relies on recognizing, the structure, of a how-to, video, the first few seconds are designed to look like an old video jug or how-cast, video which makes it funny when you recognize, the pattern and it suddenly turns into eggs, that joke really only works if you know what a high budget how-to, video is supposed to look like so it's no surprise, that how-to basics, heyday, was around the same time that most real tutorial, channels were at their most popular. Though those comparisons, would imply that video jug was running perfectly, fine up until they went defunct. As you can tell by their large amounts of dislikes, and widely, varying, view counts. Bad signs were there from the start, the real problem, seems to be the company's, lack of quality control. Video jugs seemed to have a substantial. Identity, crisis. Did it exist as a helpful, informational. Provider, or as a comedy, shitpost, channel. Both of these have potential, for an audience but they can't earnestly, co-exist. People who want to see wacky comedy videos, aren't going to subscribe, for boring education, videos, and people who want to see pure educational, material, aren't going to appreciate, the more surreal, and humorous, videos that would also be uploaded, this isn't helped by the standardization. Of the channel titles. Because of the way video jug operated, almost all of its content, followed the formula, of how to blank. This seems simple enough but it also means there's not much to determine, if the video is meant to be serious, or if it's meant to be funny unless the title is also hilariously. Absurd. Their upload, rate couldn't have helped things either. Video jugs seemed to prioritize. Quantity, over quality which would make sense when you're focusing, primarily, on seo. The more things you make the more likely people will find you via search engine, but once again this leads to a massive bulk of content, most of it either not good or just not indistinguishable. From one another, there are five videos, just on how to mess with telemarketers. You can't make over 125. 000 videos without double dipping sure but at a certain point you start to dilute, the market with your own content. And going back to the subscriber, model it keeps people from wanting to follow video jug directly. With people primarily, paying attention to their subscription, feeds nowadays, do you really want to subscribe, to a channel that uploads, videos in bursts of dozens. Most of which are videos you won't even watch because well you don't need to learn about how to send a wedding invitation, to a male military, officer. Well why not follow the video jug's site then, after all it's clear that that's where the majority, of their attention, went to and clearly what they wanted people to see, and to that there's no easy answer except to say that websites, aren't what they used to be, youtube won the video market and a lot of people don't like to watch videos, on sites that aren't youtube, for something as expensive, as video hosting you need a wide amount of traffic to continue being profitable. And i can't imagine, that many people were going to videojug.com. Relative to the amount of people who watched them on youtube. Video jug is fascinating. Because it feels like such a time capsule, of an era of the internet that doesn't exist anymore. It's this strange, surreal, mess of a channel with more content, than anyone could ever reasonably, expect to watch. It's a lesson about how a company can stray, so far away from its original, intention, in pursuit of popularity. And how that ultimately, led to their downfall.
I've Always been a fan of weird content online. Whether it's this guy who's made thousands of videos imitating, pop culture content, with baffling, titles, or a family band that makes really awkward, viral, songs, but one thing that's particularly. Interesting, about the brand of weirdness, at video jug is how entrenched, it is in this very formal, how-to, framework. Videos, about stalking, around and hissing to be more like a vampire, co-exist, with things like blade and more's deeply commercial, energy and high budget content, in a way that's incredibly. Fascinating, to me, the mix of earnest, creativity. And corporate, cynicism, video jug is both what made me love it and, very likely, a large part of what destroyed, them that's not even mentioning, how much of their work is just misguided. Talent. Like for every video made by an actual expert, or every video made by a funny comedian, there's one that blurs the line between both, solely because of the low quality, of the presenters, in the production. I feel like nowadays, even a lot of weird content, is polished, and consistent. In its weirdness. That isn't necessarily, a bad thing if you're in the mood for some strange, offbeat, sketch comedy, or a guy throwing eggs at the wall, it's generally, a good thing to know you're gonna get the exact brand of oddity you expect. And it's the reason these things are able to be relatively, successful. At the same time there's something unique, about the feeling of unpredictability. You get from the kind of raw, unfiltered. Often, accidental, peculiarity. That video jug has to offer, and as much as it's fun to watch and make fun of there's something, kind of delightful, about that it makes the process of watching a video jug video feel like getting a prize, from a cereal, box, you're not sure what you're gonna get when you click on it will it be something low-key, and normal will you get something wild, and strange, or will you get something that's just downright, bad, i mentioned earlier, a list of video jug videos that we've discovered, that are particularly. Funny or strange, but there's over 150. Hours worth of content, currently, on that channel, and there are bound to be some fantastic, videos we haven't even discovered, yet, especially, taking into account how many side channels the network boasted.
I Would highly encourage, everyone to check the channel out and see if you can find one for yourself, that's truly, special, or bizarre. And if you do, please tweet them at me i want to see all of it, we've talked about a channel that ended up being more bizarre, entertainment, than education, but if you are looking to learn something real and cool especially given how hard it is to wade through so much content, to get to the good stuff, i can't recommend, curiosity. Stream and nebula, enough curiosity. Stream my sponsor for this video, is a really fantastic, streaming service that offers thousands, of really interesting and informative, documentaries. On a broad range of subjects, like science, nature, and technology. And i find myself, always learning something new on there, curiosity, stream has also partnered with nebula, in order to help creators, like me make some really cool content. Nebula, is a collaborative, streaming platform between me and tons of other creators, like tierzoo, lindsay ellis legaleagle. And many more, it's a really great platform, for educational, and informative, content. Especially, content, that isn't best suited for youtube, because of copyright, or monetization. Issues. For example, i was able to make a video called debater, theater, specifically. For nebula, and it's something i'm really proud of in debater, theater, i talk about how to better use arguments, to persuade, others with lots of cool examples, like how people use debating, skills in movies, the news and even award acceptance, speeches. It was a really fun video to do and as someone who used to teach debate to a lot of novices, at university. These kinds of tools are a really fun way to get better at persuasiveness. And critical thinking. And how to notice when other people are trying to use those same tricks on you and the best part is signing up for curiosity, stream with my code, also includes, full, unlimited, access to nebula. It's the only place where you can watch debater, theater, and lots of other cool original, content for nebula, just head to, curiositystream.com. Sarah zedd and use my code sarahzed, at sign up that's curiositystream. Sarahzed. I can't stress enough how grateful i am to have a platform like nebula, where educational. Creators can make this kind of content, and it's great to be a part of. It. Hey. On top of a big thank you to all my patrons, i would like to specially, thank kim weston, and yehuda, katz for joining my 20, plus tier, welcome.