ADOTAS – Earlier this week, media company PK4‘s Bishop Video Platform came out of beta, following several months of testing. Bishop syndicates videos to publishers around the web that are looking for videos to fill a particular content category, and through PK4’s partnership with advertisers, the platform allows publishers and video creators to monetize their work, while brands stand to gain visibility thanks to the platform’s audience targeting capacities and the network’s scale.
Back in February, we sat down with PK4 CEO Tom Alexander and vice president of product development Jimi Smoot to discuss the platform. Alexander and Smoot had worked on separate, yet complementary enough to eventually join together, software systems (Smoot’s tech firm, JSFour, sold to PK4 just a few weeks before we met with the two business parners). They took the technology of a an ad network — they “wanted to go directly to the publishers and avoid exchanges,” said Smoot — and, said Alexander, they “saw the application for a distribution platform” for people or entities who were creating quality video content, but didn’t necessarily have the same means of major brands and publishers to monetize it. For a do-it-yourself operation, said Smoot, “it’s pretty difficult to add video and monetize it.” For those smaller creators of video, syndication makes their content more appealing to advertisers, and PK4’s technology matches audience-targeted ads to those videos — automatically, according to a release from PK4 earlier this week. Smoot and Alexander pointed out they’re not working with “dog-on-a-skateboard”-style videos (that was, in fact, the example they cited as not being their thing), but with videos that look and feel professional — which is possible for video-makers on a budget, considering how the means of production have come down over the years. “Everything is vetted by human beings,” Smoot said of the video being syndicated throughout the network.
We caught up with Smoot again over the phone about a month later, in mid-March, and by that point, he said, “For some of our [advertising] partners, we’ve become the biggest partner they work with, because we can provide the scale.” (In the release detailing the official launch of Bishop, advertising partners P&G, Oxygen Media and Virgin America were cited.) “We can make views happen,” he said. By publishers’ syndicating each others content, they can, for the advertiser, “create inventory that previously didn’t exist.” And he said the video publishers had been receptive during the beta period, too. Those websites are often run by, Smoot said, “two-to-five-man teams, usually writers. They’re not tech people. They’re pumped because they don’t have to sell pre-roll. The system’s very easy.” After uploading a video to the Bishop platform, he said, “you click the embed button, embed the code on your site.”
According to Alexander, Bishop’s ad targeting capabilities are mostly demographic and behavioral — “not so much contentextually based,” he said — and Smoot said the platform’s analytics are advanced enough so “we can even track whether they adjusted the volume.” The release from PK4 claimed the platform is currently streaming 35,000 video hours per month.