You Can’t Do That on Television: Klipmart’s Chris Young Captures Online Video

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Looking back, perhaps the most notable aspect of Klipmart’s success story is that it has never deviated from its leader’s original vision. “The mission statement of the company since ’99,” Young reiterates, “has been to take the TV broadcast and marry it with the interactive and reporting capabilities of the ‘Net, to come up with the most truly amazing model the world over.” (Not a bad vision.)

Klipmart’s model of building in-stream and in-page ad units, while never losing their focus on delivering high-quality video impressions, is clearly what has separated them from the competition. “We’re very much viewed in the market as not only [being] really strong in entertainment, but across all verticals,” Young boasts. “We’re really viewed in the market as the ‘Gucci video’: If you really want to do video that’s innovative—not just slapping it in an ad banner and calling it a day, [but] live streaming or any of that kind of stuff—come to Klipmart.”

It’s this solid reputation that has earned Young & Co. the chance to work with corporate icons like General Motors, Warner Bros, IBM, and HBO, and to form partnerships with the likes of Microsoft. It’s also allowed Young to build his employee base from five guys in an apartment to 60 in his New York office alone (not to mention the global Klipmart branches that have recently sprouted up in Sao Paulo, London and Los Angeles). The company’s growing stature has also earned Young the chops to size up the competition, both past and present.

“There was a little company called EyeWonder, which started back in 2000,” Young remembers. “They pioneered the online video space with us. The problem with EyeWonder is that they never let go of Java—whereas 2 and a half years ago, we did. We embraced Flash, because it was just better. So EyeWonder just got destroyed by Klipmart.” While EyeWonder is now attempting to venture beyond video ads into other rich media formats, Young predicts that the company will be felled by embracing “a more diversified, generalized approach. I think that’s watering down the brand.”

Given his painting of EyeWonder as a brand stuck trying to find its identity, Young sees his main competitive concern these days as Pointroll, the Philadelphia-based outfit that has taken Klipmart’s model and transitioned it into a series of playful, expandable ad banners. “They started offering video last May, 1 and a half years ago,” Young retorts (though Pointroll contends that they actually started offering video in 2000). Meanwhile, he points out, “Klipmart’s delivered over 2,000 video campaigns over six years. But we have great respect, for [them]. I know everybody there, and they know us. They’re a good company. But they do a lot of different things. We won’t do a floating, expandable campaign. Klipmart follows the full-service model and full-service seems to have won out as ad units get more complicated.”

And with more brands latching onto the video bandwagon since the advent of broadband, Klipmart’s services are in higher demand than ever. Since turning a profit in 2003, the company’s revenue has skyrocketed 365%, the number of ad campaigns produced and delivered are up 623%, and the number of different advertisers employing their services has climbed 415%.

While entertainment brands continue to lead the charge, Young says apparel, consumer packaged goods and even educational material providers are now branding online. Heck, even John Kerry’s campaign team hired Klipmart to recalibrate their TV spots for the web during last year’s election. “We took debate footage of his and created little mini 21-second ads with different messages just for the online,” Young explains. “It was unifying the campaign message, which was a no-brainer for Kerry because he knew he had to reach out on the Internet. So what better way to do it than dip his toes online with his TV spots?”

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