This past week I had the privilege of attending the IAB’s Digital Video Marketplace Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in NYC. The event was well attended and representatives from some of online video’s hottest companies, including our own client Auditude, were present on the stage and exhibit floor.
It's obvious that online video is exploding: 89 million people watch 1.2 billion videos in US each day (comScore). What’s not so obvious for content owners and marketers is how to best monetize online video and leverage one of today’s most engaging mediums to interact with the consumer in a meaningful way. Top themes at the conference included branded content, mobile video and measurement. 24 star Kiefer Sutherland was scheduled to speak on his original online series The Confession but unfortunately he had a family emergency to attend to. Nevertheless, he filmed a short video for the IAB audience where he loosely discussed the web as a mainstream platform for the entertainment industry. In any case, Kevin Pollak (A Few Good Men, Usual Suspects) was there to provide some comedy for the day and discuss how he’s using the web and online video to further his career in entertainment.
Here are some of my key takeaways from the day:
Branded video content and original programming: The notion of primetime is gone, according to Tom Pickett and Lance Podell of YouTube. A bold statement for sure but they offered that many people tell them they come home and watch YouTube. With the recent acquisition of Next New Networks, YouTube plans to develop, package and build audiences around specific types of original programming – allowing users to tap into personalized channels. So if you can’t get enough of funny cat videos – there will be a channel for that.
Measurement: Measurement is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces and there’s no common metric for online video. Megan Tweed, Media Director at Razorfish, put it best when she said that they receive tons of data from different providers but that none of it is really usable because there’s no common language. There was debate over how important it is for online video metrics to fit into TV buying, but no real consensus over who’s really responsible for establishing metrics and what those metrics will look like. Nonetheless, the IAB is doing great work trying to make the industry more accountable and transparent. Shout out to Horn Group clients Casale Media and SpotXchange for being some of the first companies certified for the IAB’s Networks & Exchanges Quality Assurance Program.
One thing that seemed pretty clear to me at the conference is that consumers will have a tremendous impact on how this industry involves in the next several years. We’re the ones that will shape how, when and where we consume online video and the savvy brands and marketers will create online video experiences that reach us at every touch point.
Jeremy Helfand, CEO of Auditude, summed it up best: “The flexibility for consumers to watch their favorite content through VOD, live simulcasts, online distribution, internet-connected TVs, and an array of mobile devices represents a tremendous opportunity for the content owners and distributors, but also presents enormous monetization challenges for the folks who own that content. How do they ensure that the content being viewed effectively and efficiently generates advertising revenue?”
I look forward to watching as today’s online video companies work to figure that out.