Live video events have become a big business, as brands, sports leagues, music promoters, and others have come to realize their huge audience appeal can drive engagement and monetization. But planning and executing a high-profile live streaming event isn't easy, with multiple technologies required to work together for the kind of flawless delivery that viewers expect.
Given these opportunities and challenges, former AEG Digital Media executives John Petrocelli and Josh Lennox have joined forces to launch a new firm, Bulldog Digital Media, which will facilitate clients' live video content strategies and monetization across multiple platforms. I've known John and Josh from their AEG Digital days and last week I caught up with both.
The pair bring tons of live streaming experience from AEG, where they worked on events like the Grammys, Lollapalooza, TED, MTV VMAs, Coachella, the Masters and others. These events were accessible on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, Yahoo, AOL and elsewhere. John and Josh don't envision Bulldog creating new technologies, but rather working with a set of trusted partners whom they know can scale since live events have unpredictable audience sizes. John pointed to the recent Red Bull Stratos event as a successful implementation for a very large audience.
Red Bull is also an example of what Bulldog sees as a key shift in brand marketers' mindsets that should bolster live events going forward. John cited the CFO of Coca-Cola as recently saying the company intended to pull back from conventional 30-second TV spots due to DVR-based ad-skipping, to instead focus on live sporting events such as the Olympics and World Cup.
In Red Bull's case, the brand was intimately involved with all aspects of Felix Baumgartner's record-setting jump, which Bulldog sees as a model for other brands that want to engage viewers in premium content experiences. Music concerts and festivals in particular lend themselves to immersive, social experiences.
I think Bulldog is on the right track; although much of online video's usage to date has been on-demand, there's no doubt that many marketers are thinking more like Coke's CFO, looking for uncluttered, un-skippable branding opportunities to breakthrough and leverage new viewing/social behaviors. This is also feeding into the skyrocketing value of live TV sports rights, which carries over to online. Bulldog finds itself at the intersection of all these trends and looks well-positioned to carve out a successful role for itself.