Video Curation in Web Publishing and Marketing: The Steve Rosenbaum Interview

Video Curation in Web Publishing and Marketing: The Steve Rosenbaum Interview

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I continue my interview Steve Rosenbaum, founder of the video curation service and author of Curation Nation. Steve has been in the video curation business for decades professing for years that curation is the most effective way of marketing with video; and we share some examples of businesses who are actively doing video curation today.

The “Pre-Web” Days of Video Curation: MTV News: Unfiltered

Segments from MTV UNfiltered, available on

Last week I explained what video curation is and why it’s important in online marketing. Steve Rosenbaum is considered a pioneer in the field with his video curation work spanning 3 decades. He started curating video content back in the 1990’s with the groundbreaking hit MTV NEWS: UNfiltered, considered to be the first commercial implementation of user-generated video for television.

As Wikipedia reports, “MTV NEWS: UnFiltered was a news series in which viewers sent story ideas to MTV News producers about controversial events in the viewers’ community that were not being covered by traditional news outlets. MTV would choose stories and provide video cameras and tapes.

Video Curation in Publishing, Marketing, and Social Causes Today: My Interview with Steve Rosenbaum

Steve, how does curation relate to having an online video marketing strategy?

Curation can work very well for companies that realize the importance of having a lot of videos with quality content, but simply don’t have the resources (budget, crew, time, etc.) to create them on their own.

What is a typical situation businesses find themselves in when they come to you for help curating video content onto their website?

We often meet with either brands, or e-commerce companies or publishers, and they’ve run into this brick wall.  They’re making a handful of videos a week, and they’re paying relatively little money to make them, but they’re essentially upside-down.

I’ll give you an example: About two years ago, we met the guys at New York Magazine. They were producing one awesome video a week; but that was all the video they were putting on their website each week, and they were getting relatively little traffic from it. They came to use and told us, “our ad sales guys want more videos, we want more traffic; but can’t afford to make any more [videos], what should we do?” And we said to them, “Well, let’s see – what are the things you care about? You care about food, fashion, social life, the environment, and urban New York.”

We said to them, “let’s take a gamble that there are probably lots of videos out there on YouTube, Metacafe, Daily Motion, etc., that fit your editorial trajectory, if you will.  And people aren’t going to YouTube and typing in ‘New York City jazz club,’ you know, ‘Lower East Side.’  But they are coming to New York Magazine and looking for a video and information about these things.”  So, we gave them the tools to search the web broadly, and then provide a curated collection to their users. So today if you go to New York Magazine, you’ll see literally hundreds of new videos every week – hundreds and hundreds – of which they make one or two.”

Who’s taking the lead with video curation today?

“There are two themes to this answer. Theme #1 would be like the example I just mentioned: existing publishers that want to add video but don’t want to make all of it themselves (ReelSEO included). Theme #2 would be brands, which increasingly have determined they need to be curators of the story around their product.

Share with us some examples of businesses doing video curation

Padagonia is one such company They’re passionate about global warming, they’re passionate about the environment, and they’re passionate about outdoor adventure and clothing.  There’s lots of video out there that kind of orbits around the Padagonia brand but isn’t necessarily about their products.

“Similarly, we power North Shore Animal League America, which is the largest, no-kill animal shelter in the U.S.  They have lots of videos about animal care, including humane treatment of animals and issues around animal rights. Even though the videos are not all made by the North Shore Animal League, they are certainly videos that that owners are going to care about.”

Author note: Curated video is also about User-generated content (UGC), which is also made possible with this organization on their animal league tv channel.  Members can upload a video of themselves with their animal companion, either recorded live from their webcam or uploaded via email or camera phone.

You refer (your company) as a “curation platform.” Can your curation tools also filter out certain videos that might be problematic to a client – such as videos from a competitor or other things?

“The technology will only take you so far if you want to ensure quality video results. That’s where human curation comes in. Magnify’s thesis is that technology can get you most of the way there, but there is a human at the end of the process.  So we absolutely can block key words, objectionable words, dirty words, sources you don’t want to see. While is possible to have our search tool put videos on your site live, and without a human final check box, we ourselves are pretty cautious and encourage people not to do that.

At the same time, allows you to automatically accept trusted sources. For example, every time Grant publishes a video to his YouTube channel, I’m an SEO site and I trust Grant makes good quality content, then I can let the tool know that I trust that source. But other than actual, trusted sources, when it’s a search of the web, you’re going to get outliers that are inappropriate, so that’s where human curation comes in.”

Tell us about your book, Curation Nation

It’s 275 pages of absolute, hands-on, news you can use, ways to become a curator, and ways to bring curation into your business. It has interviews with some of the smartest curators on the planet like Ariana Huffington and John Miller, former AOL head and now NewsCorp’s Digital Chief), and all kinds of guys that video marketers will know.

Steve provided me with a copy of his book, and there’s lots of content on curating with video content – including both publishing and marketing strategies. If you’re seriously considering curation as part of your business strategy, or just want to learn more, I recommend purchasing a copy of the book; or you can check out his site at, and watch all of the videos he has about curation.

About Steve Rosenbaum, “Curator Nationalist”

Steve a lot of things; he’s a CEO, an entrepreneur, a filmmaker, and an author.

  • He’s the founder and CEO of, which he describes as “a platform company that allows publishers, brands, and web communities to embrace web content with aggregation, curation, and user contribution.”
  • Since his days at MTV, he’s been a storyteller, filmmaker, and executive at media and web properties. He’s produced films for HBO, A&E, National Geographic, CNN, MSNBC, and Discovery.
  • He’s a also columnist for the HuffingtonPost, itself one of the most popular and successful curation websites. He’s avidly covered the subject of curation in his articles there, including, “Content Curation: “It’s Going to Be HUGE,” “Why Stephen Colbert Fears Me,” “Can Venture Capitalize on Curation?”
  • You can follow him on Twitter at:

Stay Tuned for Video Curation Tips…

I’ll “curate” Steve’s book, Curation Nation; and his videos along with my own research; and I’ll present for you some recommendations on how to do your own business strategy with curating video for your website and overall online presence.


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