How-to a Hot Topic in Online Video

Mar 22, 2009  •  Post A Comment

With spiraling job losses and the U.S.’ unemployment rate north of 8%, the number of how-to Web videos on finding a job and saving money has jumped in recent months.
How-to site eHow.com has seen an 84% increase in the search and viewing of articles and videos about the economy and personal finance over the last six months, with traffic to the site nearly tripling year-over-year. Bank of America recently anted up for an ad deal with eHow.com and YouTube to create a series of videos on saving money.
“People are empowering themselves to do things themselves, and they are going to the Web to see if they can do it themselves,” said Gregory Boudewijn, general manager of eHow.com and ExpertVillage.com.
The trend is rippling across the how-to video business, itself an industry on the upswing. The number of videos is growing, videographers are making extra change creating them and advertising dollars in the niche are rising.
Web destinations such as Howcast.com and 5min.com also have seen an uptick in traffic to their sites and distribution partners as the economy has sputtered, with visitors seeking information on how to consolidate debt, write a resume and save money on home repairs.
“We’ve seen a marked increase in economic-themed how-to searches,” said Jason Leibman, CEO of Howcast.com, which has upped its inventory of do-it-yourself videos in recent months.
Its offerings in the genre include a video on how to save money by making your own laundry detergent (which includes a display ad for Seventh Generation laundry detergent) and a how-to video on writing a resume, which includes a display ad from Walgreens. That video has been featured on Howcast and YouTube as well as Verizon’s FiOS TV and mobile video service VCast.
Last week, two of Howcast’s most viewed videos included one on how to get free stuff, with 67,000 views, and one on how to make your own soda, with 30,000 views. Traffic to Howcast has doubled from the third quarter to the fourth, the company said.
Search traffic for how-to syndication site and service 5min.com has spiked by more than four times in the fourth quarter and into the start of the first quarter, said CEO Ran Harnevo.
“We’ve seen an unbelievable amount of search queries and views on content for explaining the bailout, current economic situation, sub-prime mortgage crisis, and saving and investment tips,” he said. “Content partners, including Bigthink and Kiplinger, have rolled out a nice amount of content to meet the demand that we’re seeing on our end.”
Video sites aren’t the only ones making money with this shift. Individuals are, too. Most of the how-to sites pay small fees to filmmakers and video creators for the videos they make.
“We have seen a jump in the amount of people contributing videos because they are looking for other sources to supplement their incomes,” Mr. Boudewijn said. “It’s become a residual income stream for some.”
Some filmmakers earn as much as $600 a day for the videos they shoot, he said.
The declining economy is putting a lid on some how-to sites’ growth, however.
“Aggregate production has slowed in recent months because of the recession,” said Stephen Chao, CEO of how-to search service Wonderhowto.com. “Many recession themes, like job search and saving money, are not inherently visual themes. They would make for boring videos. ‘How to file for unemployment’ is something I would rather read than view.”


  1. wow, I have not thought of that. I know alot of people making money doing video how to dos. I have not really thought of doing that until now. Thanks for the post.

  2. I think a lot of people are at home more, not going out as much. not paying for video rentals, canceling cable, leaving more time for video viewing.

  3. I’m the only one in this world. Can please someone join me in this life? Or maybe death…

  4. Besides from these how-to sites I found another great how-to site called NeedInstructions.com. I like this site a lot because not only does this site provide everyday how-to’s but they also provide instructions, manuals and user guides on consumer products. If your interested you should def check it out and bookmark the page because I already have!
    Louch Carter

  5. Compare top 5 DVD rental sites in the UK before you sign up with one. Learn about their services, features, pricing so that you can compare one with another.
    For more information visit: http://online-dvd-rental-reviews.co.uk/

  6. In this economy I was concerned that it would be difficult to find a job in my field. Many websites promised to have a large database of employers but rarely delivered. When I found Employment Crossing I was given direct access to employers rather than having to go through a recruiter.

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