Everyone knows the Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” Unfortunately, this song may soon apply to video.
Freewheel’s 2012 Video Monetization Report indicates that the growth rate for video-viewing volume rose only 7% from Q3 2012 to Q4 2012, while the growth rate for video ad views more than doubled that of video views. While more ad views seem like a good thing at first glance, FreeWheel warns, “If new opportunities for distribution and syndication aren’t created and more content isn’t made available online, advertising revenue potential will stall, as there is a limit to the number of video ads that can be placed in a single piece of content.”
How is it that the industry has been unable to keep up with advertiser demand when there are so many producers and publishers arriving onto the landscape? OneScreen’s answer: not enough creativity and risk-taking by the companies behind television and other traditional media, from Fremantle Media to Clear Channel. Instead, what flourishes are smaller companies that produce short-form, Internet-only video clips and websites, built to garner both video audiences and short-term ad revenue from brands – the same brands that should be funding more quality content. Thankfully, there are simple, existing solutions that media stakeholders can use to create more quality video inventory without having to start from scratch.
For Producers: Start by experimenting with existing content
Content owners should evaluate their existing videos for new uses, because their potential use doesn’t start and end at the first placement. The same video can be repurposed for many contexts if you allow yourself to experiment.
- Turn long-form into short-form. You may already be syndicating your long-form content, but why not edit it into micro shows, clips, and highlights for niche and online publishers who make short-form content their specialty? Clips are becoming popular forms of content; see MovieClips’ deal with YouTube/Google and Hulu, where you can see SNL sketches individually.
- Repurpose older content. Go through your archives because quality content will always be valuable. Just because content may be older, doesn’t mean there’s not an audience for it anymore. People are still discovering ’90s favorites like Full House or Saved by the Bell on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Syndicate to publishers that include older content in their offerings (e.g., blogs, channels on streaming players, and IPTV services).
- Use supplementary assets such as B-Rolls, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and making-of content, if these are available. Think of the bonus features on DVDs and shows like FX’s DVD on TV series. If there’s an audience for your main content, there’s potentially an audience who will appreciate the extra content.
For Publishers: Build as many new content relationships as possible
Audiences continue to become more fragmented, and you must establish a presence everywhere to reach them and provide them with as much content as possible to fulfill their ever-increasing appetite. Don’t just publish your own content or be limited by existing syndication partnerships. That may have worked for you in the past when your audience didn’t watch much video, but now you should work with as many content companies as possible, including those you never even considered before.
- Traditional channels are not enough. You need a presence on every screen where the audience is watching. Publishers need to make sure they have a channel for everything from web browsers to connected TVs. Content owners will partner with you just to build viewership and revenue. The AMC-Nerdist partnership for the show The Walking Dead is a smart example of the types of relationships the industry needs more of.
- Niche out. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to meet growing demand for interest-specific content through linear programming alone. Audiences want content dedicated specifically to their favorite hobbies and interests. Publishers and content owners can tap into this by partnering to deliver more niche content for non-linear channels. For example, food and wine producers can probably get a lot of value from short-form how-to videos that bloggers, cooking sites, and streaming channels will want to buy, while a travel publisher would be smart to create channels for connected device applications or IPTV services around granular content categories, such as traveling with kids, tropical destinations, or local attractions.
Simply put, we’re living in an era where audiences will always choose more content if we give them the choice. And where there’s more content, there are more opportunities for advertising revenue for the producers and publishers, and more quality inventory for advertisers. In fact, some of these dollars are already sitting on the table. As FreeWheel notes, “Advertiser demand for ad placement in rights-managed digital video content is at the highest level since this data was first reported in Q3 2010 and continues to outpace video viewing growth rates.” The audience viewing trends presented in FreeWheel’s report should serve as a call to action for producers and publishers alike to keep the industry fluid by getting creative with their content offering and syndication strategies. There’s a wellspring of new opportunities available when stakeholders think outside of the box and make more content available at every audience touch point.