I'm pleased to present the 333rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Facebook’s blowout Q2 earnings this week attest to how thoroughly the company is capitalizing on mobile. But with its intention to become video-first, Facebook is now embarking on a whole new set of challenges and opportunities, most particularly around monetization, where the company’s massive scale and unique targeting offsets its avoidance of pre-rolls, the workhorse video ad unit.
In today’s podcast, Colin and I further assess Facebook’s video content initiatives (especially Facebook Live) and how they will be monetized. We also contrast Facebook’s live-streaming media partnerships with those of Twitter, which is very focused on live sports and becoming the place for digital water-cooler conversations around them.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 6 seconds)
Facebook announced off-the-charts Q2 ’16 earnings yesterday, including $2 billion in net income, double what it was just 6 months ago. Monthly active users increased to 1.71 billion, with 1.1 billion using Facebook daily. From a standing start in mobile just 4 years ago, Facebook generated $5.2 billion or 84% of its quarterly ad revenue from mobile.
There is no question that Facebook has thoroughly conquered mobile. But, far from sitting on its laurels, Facebook is evolving in many ways and over the past year video has become an ever-bigger part of Facebook’s story. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, highlighted the role that video is playing in delivering more engaging experiences. Then on yesterday’s earnings call Zuckerberg went a step further, stating the company’s goals plainly, “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all of our apps and service.”
Comcast reported its Q2 ’16 earnings this morning, once again showing strong improvement in video subscribers and keeping cord-cutting in check. The second quarter is always seasonally slow in the pay-TV business, but Comcast reduced its video subscriber loss to just 4K in Q2 ’16, its best performance in over 10 years. The trend in just the past 4 years is impressive; Comcast has steadily reduced its subscriber loss from minus 69K in Q2 ’15, minus 144K in Q2 ’14 and minus 162K in Q2 ’13.
Taboola, a large content recommendation platform, has acquired ConvertMedia, an outstream video ad provider with $50 million in annual run rate revenue and roots in display advertising. Taboola’s thumbnail recommendations at the end of text articles are found widely on major online publishers’ sites. The company provides 14-15 billion of these recommendations on a daily basis to over 1 billion unique users per month.
At last month’s Video Ad Summit, Brenley Higgins (Director, US Media, American Express) and Greg Manago (Co-president, Mindshare Content + Entertainment) shared their insights about how audience fragmentation and convergence are changing their media and creative strategies. In the interview I did with them, they shared a number of examples of campaigns that exemplify how they’re leveraging social media generally and Facebook specifically to target audiences and engage them.
Brenley and Greg also explained some of the best practices they’ve learned including how to get viewers’ attention in a limited time window, how to build media plans that blend TV, online video and social, how to optimize talent’s involvement in new and creative ways and the important role that data is playing in influencing creative development.
Overall, it’s a fascinating 30-minute peek behind the curtain of how advertisers and agencies are adapting their strategies to succeed in the multiscreen world.
Watch the video now (33 minutes, 13 seconds).
At last month’s Video Ad Summit, VertaMedia’s CEO and co-founder Alex Bornyakov delivered a valuable presentation (slides here) on automated yield optimization through dynamic predictive waterfalls. As Alex pointed out, when publishers seek the highest fill rates for their inventory by adding more ad tags to their waterfalls, significant latency is introduced. This leads to poor user experiences and abandonment.
VertaMedia has pioneered solutions to this by using big data to analyze ad campaigns and streamline and automate waterfalls at the domain level. In his presentation Alex details the issues video publishers face and VertaMedia’s solution.
Watch the video now (8 minutes, 38 seconds).
Yahoo missed many opportunities over the years, leading to its acquisition today by Verizon, but surely one of the biggest was never creating a distinct identity in video. Back in April, 2014, I highlighted the murkiness of Yahoo’s video strategy, which has only continued to get more confusing since. With major video players like YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, Hulu and others pursuing distinct strategies that deliver specific benefits to users, Yahoo’s “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to video meant it never became truly competitive in any one area.
Major platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat offer video content providers opportunities to reach big audiences, but they also create a variety of new risks around loss of business control and monetization. At last month’s Video Ad Summit, Mike Shields from the WSJ moderated a session “Achieving Video Success in the Platform Economy,” which addressed this central tension.
The panel included Stacy Fuller (Head of Content, North America, Havas Media), Paul Kelly (Chief Partnerships Officer, AwesomenessTV), Michael Kuntz (SVP, Digital Revenue, USA TODAY Network) and Jeff Urban (President and Co-founder, Whistle Sports).
Digging into the topic, the group discussed the range of approaches YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat are using with partners and how content providers determine where to allocate their finite resources. One big discussion point was that Facebook does not accept pre-roll ads, so the challenge of making money with Facebook is even steeper. That led to another key topic of what role branded content should play when distributing on the platforms.
With platforms constantly changing their approaches, learning how to work with them is incredibly confusing for video content providers. The session gives a lot of insights into how providers and agencies are navigating this new terrain.
Watch the video now (33 minutes, 3 seconds).