Category Archives: Internet

“New” Advertiser-Friendly Policy: Is YouTube Taking Away Freedom of Speech?

It all started on Wednesday August 31, 2016. The world was in shock. People lashed out on twitter and other forms of social media saying that YouTube is now censoring YouTubers, violating and taking away freedom of speech. The hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty was trending worldwide by the following day as everyone proclaimed this was the end of YouTube.

youtubeSo what happened? On Wednesday August 31, 2016, YouTubers, started receiving emails about their videos being demonetized, meaning they would not earn any money from their videos. Famous YouTuber Philip DeFranco (with 4 million subscribers!) made a video about this topic that received almost over 6 million views and started the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty. By September 1st, both the video and the hashtag were trending worldwide.

Philip DeFranco’s YouTube video: “YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do”

DeFranco explained in his video that YouTube released a “new” advertiser friendly policy which explained what content would cause a video to get demonetized. DeFranco wasn’t the only YouTuber affected by this. He states in his videos that other content creators on YouTube received emails about some of their videos being demonetized. This also started a wave of YouTube videos with titles such as “I’m Quitting YouTube” or “YouTube is Dead”.

What content is deemed “advertiser un-friendly” is also an issue. Many YouTubers and their audience argued this is a form of censorship, as swearing and sexual humor can get videos demonetized. One of the most controversial topics however, deemed inappropriate for advertising is: “controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.”

One million subscribers YouTuber Einshine argues in his video “YouTube is Making me Quit, Time to get a New Job?” that a previous video he made regarding his experience as a victim of the 3/11 Japan Earthquake in which he stated that all money he gained from ads in that video would be donated to charity to help Japan after the tragedy can be demonetized following the “new” guidelines.

Another argument made by YouTubers that this policy is going against freedom of speech, is that some YouTubers comment on or include news in their videos and therefore show violent or sensitive subjects even though it is not their own content and could still be penalized for it.

youtube policy
YouTube’s Advertiser-friendly content guidelines

YouTube has responded by stating that these guidelines are not new. In fact, YouTube has been demonetizing content deemed “not advertiser-friendly” since 2013. So what changed? According to YouTube, they’ve updated their notifications system. This means that before, YouTubers would get their videos demonetized but would not be aware of it, now they will receive an email about it.

YouTube also has an appeal system where YouTubers can make a request to get their videos re-monetized. While this works for some, others have had their appeal denied, keeping their videos demonetized.  DeFranco argues in his video “YouTube Responded, But It Gets Even More Confusing…” that this hurts smaller YouTubers that depend on the initial views to make their living. By having a video demonetized as soon as it’s posted, the YouTuber is losing the revenue opportunity while the initial views come pouring in as it takes time for the appeal to take affect.

I do believe YouTube is using a form of censorship, but I do not think YouTube is taking away freedom of speech. Many YouTubers have successfully been appealed their. Even if YouTubers aren’t getting money from their videos, their content is still accessible for everyone to see.

YouTube is a private company and they are well within their rights to implement these guidelines. After all, the content shown on their website represents and reflects them as well as the advertisers.

I believe that there is a communication problem between YouTube and its content creators. I think YouTube is finally taking a good step in updating their notification program but this could have been done much sooner. A solution to YouTubers losing money could be for YouTube to communicate quicker and more directly with YouTubers, letting them know before their content is demonetized allowing them to make an appeal while still making revenue off their views.

What do you think? Is YouTube violating freedom of speech or creating a form of censorship? Considering this policy isn’t new, what has changed now that content creators on YouTube are aware of this policy? Considering ad-blockers, do you think this issue is even relevant?

Clara Tosi

NAB Show 2016 Recap

Ten students from the University of Northern Iowa had the opportunity to participate in the 3rd Annual Expedition to the NAB Show in Las Vegas this spring. They studied everything from post production editing and media distribution to the latest trends in virtual reality. Check out their videos on the UNI Digital Media Leadership YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page for more post-show updates!

NAB Show 2016 Overview

Here is an overview of the NAB Show 2016. This will give you look and the size and scope of the convention and a taste of the fun these students had.


Post Production Overview

Check out the latest in post production software and equipment. These students got a firsthand look at the latest products from companies like Black Magic, Adobe, and GoPro.


Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality was a hot topic this year at the NAB Show. Media producers are experimenting with new ways of storytelling and incorporating VR into new media work flows.

Media Distribution

The world of media distribution is constantly changing and the sources of revenue for content has shifted a lot in the last few years. See how come companies are staying ahead of the curve.


Special thanks to the IBA for making this trip possible! We’re looking forward to next year’s trip and planning to bring you more great content straight from the NAB Show floor.

NAB Show 2016 UNI Digital Media Leadership

The New Social Healthy World

The fit world is merging with our world step by step. Nowadays, this trend of “Being fit or Staying healthy” has become really popular in our society especially through social media. The old band sport monitors are dead and have been replaced by the smartphones, smartwatches, smart bracelets and phone apps that are connected to these devices in order for them to keep track of our activity.

fitness tech

According to, “Mobile devices with fitness apps that monitor our physiological data which can then be shared on the social networks aren’t just fun gadgets but can also promote widespread adoption of connected health.” Which means that these new innovations allow our society to emerge into this trend more in depth and keep motivated in order to reach their personal goals.

However, the real question is what is in these media monitor trackers that makes them a new trend within social media? Well the answer is really simple, they are attracting a lot of consumers because their fashionable style allows people to wear them for any occasion. For example, you can wear it while exercising as well as important events or parties. Another appealing aspect of these devices is that they allow their owners to keep track and motivated by using their personal phone devices. You can be out with your friends and you can still keep track of your personal physical activities because they are connected to your smartphone.

The reason why it is possible can be credited to the creation of many apps that are connected or related to these trends. Experts have created these apps to develop a new digital
healthy world targeting individuals between 18 and 35 years old, which will keep a pattern of staying healthy or being fit.

And this also helps consumers save a lot of money from paying personal trainers, nutritionist, and many other expenses that will help your body to stay in shape because most of them are free. According to, “Why fork over your hard earned cash on some newfangled wearable exercise gizmo when you’ve already got a smartphone stowed in your pocket?” which is completely true. If you can get apps that focus on Activity tracker, Workout Guides, Nutrition & Sleep, Exercise Gamification Apps that will benefit you in the long run and keeps you motivated by sharing with your friends through social media. As the New Nike+Running App shows how this new social media world emerges.

According to Aditi Pai in his article for mobi health news, “Global sports and fitness app installations are expected to grow to 248 million in 2017 from 156 million in 2012,” which is a sixty percent rise. Studies have revealed that every person is getting motivated and really into this new society or trend and they are willing to buy fitness sensors that connect to their phones and their social media. So, they could keep motivating themselves and keep track daily of their physical activities and see if they are reaching their goals.

Fitness Tech

“So, the real question is are you ready for this new change into the social world?” Remember it’s not about being fit and having a perfect body, it is about being healthy for your own benefits.

Astrid Araya

Piracy: Stealing the Industry’s Booty

It’s a Thursday evening, you’re tired and just looking to have a “chill” evening. Maybe you’ll invite that girl or guy you’ve been chatting with on social media over, but then what will you do? You could pay five dollars at Marcus Theatres, but realistically that is just too expensive of a price to pay for a movie, especially on a college budget. So you do the next best thing (or so you think…) and hop on Kickasstorrents or The Pirate Bay to stream that new film you’ve been wanting to see. You hope to impress your date by entertaining them without spending a dime or leaving the house, but let’s take a look at what’s really being forfeited here.

The Pirate BayWhen you look at the bigger picture, the one that resides outside of your janky two-bedroom apartment, you would see the industry is losing a lot by people streaming pirated films. According to, some independent film distributors, such as Wolfe Video, have seen their profits cut completely in half by piracy. This could result in projects being scrapped altogether for fear they won’t make the big bucks. The other thing you should consider is when you neglect to pay for your content, is that someone’s salary somewhere could potentially be affected. Do you want to explain to little Jimmy that his parents won’t be able to feed him because you “can’t afford” five-dollar movie night?

But the industry is fighting back. Since most of the time it’s streaming and convenience that you want, they created popular pay for sites that people are more willing to buy into to get their content. These services include such as Netflix, Hulu, HBOGO, Spotify, and Itunes. I bet you never suspected you were fighting a battle against the pirates while partaking in “Netflix and Chill.” Not only can any of these be downloaded as an app to your favorite technological device, but they are also a pay monthly service giving you a ton of great content for one low price that even you can afford (at least we should hope so.)

Of course, there are still a few loopholes to this method of fighting piracy, one being password sharing.

Sharing your password with someone outside of your family or household is very common and in a report by Variety is apparently taking away $500 million from the industry. However, it doesn’t seem to have any negative effect on them as of now, but don’t be surprised if these guys start cracking down in the near future. You might need stop using your grandma’s lover’s son’s college roommate’s password, and get your own one of these days.

Sam Fickett

Distributing Flix Via The ‘Net: Netflix Lives Up To Their Name

Media distribution is an ever evolving industry, from stone tablets and etchings in the dark ages to illuminated manuscripts in medieval times to the newspaper boys of the late 19th century to film houses and cinemas of the 20th century to blogs, vlogs, RSS feeds and online versions of your favorite magazines of today. People want to consume media, and there have always been business people who will get it to them, for a price.

Netflix_logoOne relatively new entry into the media distribution market is Netflix. They started as a mail-order DVD rental service, transformed into an online video streaming provider and then transformed again into content creator now worth more than CBS. Netflix first ventured into original content creation a few years ago in 2011 with a few (awesome) television shows. If you haven’t watched their version of House of Cards or caught up on the binge-worthy Orange is the New Black then you are certainly living under a rock.

However successful Netflix’s original series have been, they have all been streaming video only available online which is Netflix’s bread-and-butter: watch whatever you like, wherever you like, however you like. Now though, shape-shifting as ever, Netflix is trying on another hat: film distributor.

Beasts of No Nation is the film adaptation of a novel by Uzodinma Iweala about a boy soldier in a war-torn African country. Netflix bought the distribution rights for $12 million this spring, and organized a limited theatrical release of the film last month: showing it in just 31 theaters. It is difficult to be sure exactly why Netflix would show the movie they bought to distribute theatrically in so few theaters, but it may have something to do with the four biggest theater chains (AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike) in America boycotting the film. The theater chains did not appreciate that Netflix would be streaming the film online at the same time it was in theaters. There is usually a 90-day window of time when a film is solely available theatrically.

Abraham Attah
Abraham Attah, star of Beasts of No Nation at the Venice International Film Festival

The film only made $90,777 theatrically, but it garnered critical acclaim at the Venice International Film Festival and received generally favorable reviews from film critics.

Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t release viewing statistics of their content, so we don’t know how many people have streamed Beasts of No Nation online in the three weeks since its debut. This leaves us in the dark to whether or not it should be considered a success.

Netflix is certainly hoping the film will earn an Oscar nod or two, but will it? Has this $12 million gamble paid off? Will it solidify Netflix’s place not only in the realm of content creators, but in award-winning content distribution, outside of the internet? Will we see more Netflix content in theaters?

Eyes will be on the Academy this coming January to see how they handle the newest face of the ever-changing company that is Netflix.

Sommer Darland

Blogging is NOT Dead!

Contrary to the belief that blogging is dead…well it’s not, and absolutely no resuscitation is needed for the highly valuable social media tool. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Blogging can actually help you to revive your business. And I will gladly tell you why a well-written blog can be such a business saver.

The blogging platform was created to actually write intriguing content, unlike spitting out short blurbs through Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook posts. Bobby Marhamat explains in his article that by taking a little extra time out of your (or your intern’s) day to write a thoughtful message to your audience, your company can better build a relationship with your targeted market.

And believe it or not, a blog will go viral much faster than a 140-character tweet, a picture with twenty hashtags, or a Facebook share. If you take a look at your Twitter or Facebook feed at any given time, a lot of the posts will consist of links to other articles and blogs. These platforms are great for sharing content but not presenting it like a blog can. By making a strong blog that is easily shared, your blog can go viral as fast as a video of a 3 year old girl crying over Justin Bieber. I mean look at all the ways to spread the love of your blog!!

Blog SharingA company that writes well thought out and researched posts in their blog will help their audience see them as an expert in their field. Even if you aren’t an expert, write like one, and no one will know the difference! Ahh, the beauty of hiding behind a screen. But if this is your company blog, I wouldn’t recommend that unless you are really going for that “letting out the humor in my personality” vibe.

But on a more productive note, by letting your personality shine through and being confident in your writing, you will stand out and make your audience appreciate you for your informative, and maybe even humorous, writing. Like this quirky blog about a redheaded mom who rants about the joys and “evils” of having little boys.

lifeasaramblingredheadSo what exactly can blogging do as a social media tool? Share your content worldwide! But there are millions of blog posts write every day, so how can yours stand out (besides sprinkling in your personality)? Well for starters…Categorize! More precisely, niche blogging. The more narrow your topic, the easier it is to be an expert in the topic. By finding a certain audience to target, you can be more original and connect with other blogger with related content. By writing to a specific market, your blog can also be valuable to certain companies who also want to market to your niche target audience.

Blogging has a unique ability to stimulate conversations about issues and topics in ways that 140 character Tweets cannot. By being able to produce content that strikes debate and conversation and also have a commenting capability, your blog can accumulate a certain community aspect that can be invaluable to a small business or someone that just really wants to talk about the new Cotton Candy Cleanse Diet. “Are you sure it doesn’t really work, I mean it seems to make sense to me!” The things they come up with these days…

Anyhoo! A blog is not only a way to share your knowledge, craftiness, or meal planning strategies with anyone and everyone across the world, and I mean everyone… Like everyone can see this, but blogging is also now being viewed as a way to make an income while working from home. The new stay-at home-mom job you say? Well….Maybe.

Nancy Collamer gives the dirty details in her article. She mentions that it is possible to earn money blogging, but there are very few bloggers who do make enough to make it their only job. A survey of thousands of bloggers revealed that 57% made less than $2500 annually, but despite that depressing fact, there is a very small percentage that earns a 6 figure income. So can you make money with a blog? Depends…

Nancy quotes “a blog is a business like any other.” It really depends on how much effort in writing and networking you put in. But most importantly: don’t give up! Michael Dunlop quotes in this article “The biggest difference between people who create successful websites and those who fail, is those who make it don’t give up.”

Kind of touching back on what I was saying earlier: if you can create a community atmosphere within your blog, this will help build your readership and loyalty to your blog. And the more eyes that reach your blog every day, the more your real estate of a blog is worth to companies that want to pay big bucks to advertise on your page. Cha-ching!

So advertising is one way to generate revenue: through advertising banners, CPM advertising (pay per views), affiliate sales (through promotions and commission), and pay per click. But another way that blogs make money is through multiple revenue streams. If you give your audience a chance to buy, either through affiliate sites or selling your own brand’s products, this gives your readers a chance to support you in a meaningful way. I mean if they are willing to spend money for you or through you, then they practically view you as part of the family!

Don’t think that your blog will start rolling in the dough next week. No this will take a lot of time to make it really profitable. Many bloggers are not full time, and therefore don’t generate this highly advertised level of disposable income. For many bloggers, it takes at least 6 years to obtain a solid following in order to make their blog a business with employees and a steady income, allowing them to quite their full time jobs, which is why it is so important to be patient, because a blog doesn’t make money overnight, it takes lots of patience, trial and error, and persistent networking to be successful. So if you are wanting this to be your new stay-at-home-mom job, you should probably start your blog a few years before thinking about basinets and painting the nursery.

Blogging is a worldwide social media tool that allows you to share as much information and content as your heart or fingers desire. With such a large platform, content of blogs can reach millions of eyes every day, which is very valuable to companies of all sizes. This also opens a whole new can of worms for marketing and advertising companies, and money making opportunities arise for both advertising companies as well as the bloggers themselves. Sooo I hope you now can all agree with me that we don’t need zombie survival kit over here because… Blogging is NOT dead! So go birth your new blog or amp up the one you have and make some money! Happy typing!

Ali Holtz

The Porn Industry: What We Can Learn From An Imploding Business

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re all adults here, and I believe there is a very important topic in the media industry that we need to address. We don’t always think about it, and chances are when we do we take it for granted. I am talking, of course, about porn.

XXXThe porn industry is an important part of our media infrastructure and culture, and has been facing many problems that would individually shut down lesser industries. Therefore it is necessary to examine their challenges and potential solutions as to learn from the industry, and possibly give them the respect they deserve. So strap in because this ride is about to get bumpy.

The first and most destructive problem, bar none, to the porn industry is piracy. Counter-intuitively, the Internet has been the greatest enemy against porn as a business. Some individuals believe that piracy has caused more than 50% of erotic DVD sales from 2007 to 2013. The main culprits are torrenting sites like thepiratebay and bitTorrent, as well as tube sites like YouPorn, RedTube, Pornhub, and hundreds more. Once a pirated clip gets on one of those sites it is next to impossible to get them off.

PiratesSince most porn production companies are private businesses they aren’t always required to show their sales numbers, and if they do they may put out inflated numbers. This makes getting accurate information difficult, but one extensive search and very shady browser history later, I have found enough information to get me through this piece. Here are some of the more interesting statistics that I have found: roughly half of Pornhub’s users enjoy content via mobile device, about 64% of American men view porn at least monthly, and my personal favorite, “The Week quoted the results of a survey where 65% of American men said porn is morally unacceptable, but then highlighted that 30% of all Internet traffic is porn, concluding that “Americans look at porn and then feel bad about it”.”

There are plenty of other dangers to and within the porn industry, such as how HIV scares can cripple its production, the long history of social stigma and moral outcry, competition from amateur and home-made porn, and the baffling amount of politics involved, but I would like to focus on the workers themselves as the last major issue.

Porn stars are stars for a reason, and not just because they’re hot. The filming of porn, while made at a fraction of anything else made in California, is on par in difficulty. The talent has to work for hours doing physically demanding and draining acts while pretending to enjoy it.

Many times the positions seen in porn are sexy only to the viewers, while painful and damaging to the actors and actresses. On top of all the extensive STI screenings, hours of preparation, and inevitable bodily mishaps, being a porn professional is not for the faint of heart. So please, ditch the stereotypes and remember that sex workers are people too.

GrandmaIt’s not all doom and gloom though. Like any respectable business the porn industry is adapting. Stars are now offering private sessions online, production companies are delving into niche markets, and new technologies are being developed for personal entertainment. Measure B, a California law passed in 2013 that requires porn actors to wear condoms during filming is currently being settled.

Whatever the future holds, porn isn’t going away, and as long as there is quality content people will continue to pay for it; the porn industry isn’t going anywhere.

Ryan Fabbro

Connecting the Consumer

Consumers are more connected than ever in this day and age. Through social media brands are working on the most effective ways to connect with consumers. With multiple forms of social connection online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) users are looking to explore new content as well as utilize the sheer convenience of these online connectors. With this new trend, brands are starting to understand the pure power that a connected campaign can have.

Social ButtonsWhat is the true power of connecting with users through social media? Users are now spending more time online than ever and most of this time on social media. According to Adweek, “The average user logs 1.72 hours per day on social platforms, which represents about 28% of all online activity.” As these numbers grow, brands are working on making engaging ad campaigns that users can actually interact with.

One of the most impactful ad campaigns was done by Always called #LikeAGirl. This is one of my favorite ad campaigns ever. Not only did it show during the Super Bowl and gain millions of views, but it also engages the viewers into actually thinking about social equality. I would argue that this is the most compelling social ad campaign out there today.

LikeAGirlPerhaps you saw someone taking the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge on Facebook? This viral video trend didn’t involve a single dollar spent on promotion. People would share a video of them dumping ice water on their head and donating to ALS while sharing and tagging their friends so that they would have to do the same thing. The video phenomenon generated over 70 million views and raised over $220 million. Not to mention that it spread across 159 countries! Not only did this campaign raise hundreds of millions for a good cause but it also increased awareness and was a very interactive campaign.

These two examples alone show that connecting with consumers can have a groundbreaking effect. Connecting with consumers can change how typical marketing is done in respect to trying to make perfect models of people, and online strategies can be innovative and informative.

If users can relate to an ad campaign, and if they feel that it is genuine, then they will be compelled to share it. So long as people keep sharing, others will listen and share it too. Do you think these are these examples are flukes, or is online marketing truly groundbreaking? Is it just another way for marketers to manipulate us into getting what they want?

Taylor Bluemel