Q&A with David Kashak, Founder & CEO of Connatix

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David Kashak, Founder & CEO of Connatix discusses the “gap” in the video space and importance of video monetization for publishers with Adotas.

Q: Explain the “gap” in the video space that made you create Connatix

Video is the most engaging form of media, but, for many publishers, it has largely been a game of chance rather than a strategic operation, if you will. Some publishers simply don’t have the resources to create videos at scale and, at the time when we were launching our video platform, they were voicing a dilemma: while video certainly creates a better user experience, is it worth the investment? We developed several ways to monetize video in a cost-effective way, with zero upfront investment. Doing video well shouldn’t feel like a gamble.

Describe Connatix’s video platform? How does it differ from others?

Connatix is a next-generation video platform that helps publishers monetize without compromise. This is a key phrase for us, and we are committed to making it easy for publishers of all sizes to monetize while remaining focused on their editorial goals. Our end-to-end platform includes a cutting-edge video player, optimization engine, suite of immersive formats, and syndication network for expanded reach.

Our team is committed to expanding and enhancing our portfolio of immersive video formats, which enable publishers to quickly create new assets leveraging the content they already have. They enhance the overall reader experience (readers can swipe, tap, and react to content…think emojis and polls) and provide publishers opportunities to monetize with video ads (vertical included). These formats are a win-win for publishers and, in many cases, we’re seeing 10x reader engagement with these when compared to standard in-article video content.

What needs does this new video platform fill for publishers?

Video adoption was slow for a long time, and for good reason. It required a major upfront investment, and it was also confusing and frustrating for many publishers to develop the right tech stack that would allow for scaled video delivery, monetization, and optimization.

We took a publisher-first approach and built an end-to-end platform to solve those core challenges. Video is an extremely powerful way to engage readers and monetize, and our mission is to help publishers make video an integral part of their business growth. Publishers in need of more video content can access the Connatix Content Marketplace or easily create brand new videos assets by transforming the content they already have (i.e. articles and videos) into immersive video experiences. Publishers who want to extend reach for their video content can leverage our extensive syndication network to distribute their content to a curated network of similar sites.

What types of publishers use Connatix’ video platform?

We currently work with around 3,000 publishing partners of varying audience sizes and covering a fairly broad array of topics–personal interest through to politics and breaking news.

When we add a new partner, we work with the publisher to determine their specific needs and recommend solutions accordingly. We’ve seen tremendous success across all types of publishers with immersive video formats that leverage pre-existing content. To give you an example, we recently worked with a worldwide news publisher who implemented our ‘Highlights’ video tool. This solution automatically aggregates featured articles from a publisher’s site and creates engaging video assets that provide additional revenue streams. We compared their performance to the average results of 10 different publishers running standard in-article desktop units over a one-week time frame and saw a major lift in engagement (+50%) and revenue (+30%).

How has the video monetization process been simplified and what new benefits will it bring for publishers?

Having great video content is an extremely powerful way to engage with readers, but, to keep content free, publishers need to be able to monetize it. This process used to be extremely complex: publishers had to first invest in creating video content, then they had to find the right tech partners to deliver and monetize those video assets. At Connatix, we have simplified the entire process. For starters, publishers can leverage video content through our marketplace or use emerging tools that enable automatic video creation based on their own content. Publishers work with us across the full spectrum: from sourcing video content and creating new formats to deployment and monetization.

What is the benefit of monetizing your site with video?

Everyone today is after the same thing: maintaining and retaining consumer attention. On the publisher side, it’s become even more challenging to keep readers engaged within your own ecosystem for any meaningful amount of time. Everywhere you look, there’s a changing statistic about how much shorter an individual’s attention span is given all of our distractions today. Beyond that, most publications are still struggling to find the right balance between editorial standards and generating enough revenue to keep the lights on, editorially speaking.

In our eyes, video is the mutually beneficial solution that meets the needs of both editorial and revenue teams. Monetization through video (versus standard display) is more engaging overall and allows for formats that can improve the overall experience while still providing a way for pubs to monetize.

Do you expect to see an increase in the number of publishers using video?

Absolutely. We are already seeing an increase in the number of publishers who are making video a more robust part of their content and monetization strategy, and that’s really the result of most of the old barriers to entry being eliminated. Video is far more approachable and realistic for publishers today than it ever has been, and we’re seeing publishers make video a bigger part of their strategy now that there are more ways to monetize at scale and make the most of their content.

Digiday recently published a study showing 86 percent of publishers plan to increase their video production by the end of 2018. Video is no longer as big of a gamble for publishers, and I imagine by 2019 we’ll be inching closer to 100%.

David Kashak is the founder and CEO of Connatix, a video platform designed for publishers. Founded in 2013, Connatix works with over 3,000 publishers worldwide and in 2018, was ranked #2 in the comScore video matrix. Previously, Kashak was Director, Business Development at Conduit. Before Conduit, Kashak spent ten years at Verint as Americas Business Operations and Director, Technology Center.

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