We’ve all heard the adage: if content is King, then distribution is King Kong. For years, distribution and content have been the King and King Kong of advertising: the synergistic, dynamic duo that owned the consumer relationship. But, with Verizon’s purchase of AOL and other recent industry moves, King and King Kong are joining forces with new and powerful allies.
It used to be that creators of content, such as television networks, owned the consumer relationship. Back in the day, brands looked chiefly to the television advertising upfront presentations for the demographic info they desired to drive brand awareness. Consumer focus groups filled in the rest of puzzle.
I'm pleased to present the 273rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Since Verizon announced it was acquiring AOL for $4.4 billion earlier this week, there has been a ton of media coverage, with lots of speculation about what the deal means for Verizon going forward. This is at least partly due to the companies doing a relatively poor job of articulating the deal's strategy.
In this week's podcast, Colin and I weigh in as well, focusing mainly on how AOL's video, programmatic and video syndication assets could mesh well with Verizon Digital Media Services, which already provides back-end delivery and monetization to video content providers (see here and here). Combining the two seems like the biggest point of leverage to Colin and me, yet we note that Verizon didn't even mention a VDMS role in any public comments on the deal.
Meanwhile, in a week when the pay-TV industry suffered its first-ever first quarter loss of video subscribers, we also discuss how Verizon seems intent on innovating beyond the traditional multichannel bundle.
Listen in to learn more!
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Verizon's surprise $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL, looks like mostly a bet on video, mobile, and programmatic, with content likely the odd man out.
The deal gives Verizon a bigger play in 3 of the biggest trends in the media business - the explosion of personalized, on-demand video viewership, the massive adoption of mobile lifestyles via smartphones, and the shift to automated, data-driven ad buying through programmatic platforms. AOL has been pursuing all of these over the past few years through internal growth and acquisitions.
We all know the Internet is big - some 3.5 trillion web pages big, by the latest comScore estimates. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the current state of the online video market.
Nearly a decade after advertisers started batting around the idea of the Internet's "long tail," highly branded video publishers have yet to grasp the meaning of the phrase. The online video market is now pulling in over $6 billion. That's not bad. But with an injection of democracy, the market could grow to three times that size in very short order.
AOL hosted its NewFronts presentation Tuesday night, with the key highlights including a new strategy dubbed "Content 365" structured around a screen-based content development approach, a new slate of 16 different programs, and a deal to obtain clips from NBCU's entertainment and news programs.
Content 365, the new mantra from AOL, describes an expansion from a NewFronts "season" to a NewFronts "year." AOL's content development strategy is to focus on 3 formats: short/snackable for smartphones, 5-7 minute mid-form "storytelling" for tablets and desktops and longer-form for connected TVs. In all, AOL plans to produce over 3,600 pieces of video in 2015.
A new wave of viewers has emerged: they're connected, they know what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, and most importantly, how they want to watch it. They are chomping at the bit for premium content that is both accessible and affordable. At the same time, the advent of OTT and connected TV devices has made way for a whole new viewing experience where "television" simply refers to the largest screen in the house.
We all know the TV ecosystem of tomorrow will look vastly different than today's current landscape, but what changes can we expect? Here are four predictions for what trends will emerge over the next few months and years:
In another sign of programmatic video advertising's rising popularity among brand advertisers, Adap.tv's newly released 2014 State of the Video Industry report has found that 60% of brands' video ad spending is now allocated to programmatic channels. That compares with 44% for ad networks and 38% for agencies and trading desks.
However, when it comes to premium video, brands said just 23% of ad spending was done programmatically, reflecting how important publisher direct sales remains for the most coveted ad inventory. In fact, 51% of publishers said they're making premium ad inventory available for sale programmatically, up just slightly from 49% in 2013. Still, private marketplaces continue to gain, with 32% of publishers running one in 2014, up from 20% in 2013.
AOL introduced 16 original programs at its NewFronts presentation bash last night at a blustery Brooklyn Navy Yard I attended along with what seemed like thousands of others. Twelve new programs, from talent including James Franco, Steve Buscemi, Zoe Saldana, Kevin Nealon and others are on the docket, joining 4 originals from last year that were renewed, "Candidly Nicole" with Nicole Richie, "City.Ballet" from Sarah Jessica Parker, "The Future Starts Here" from Tiffany Shlain and "Hardwired 2.0" with iJustine.
Categories: Indie Video
AOL is the latest online video provider to jump into long-form series programming, announcing this morning that it is adapting the Israeli series "Connected" for the U.S. market. Connected will follow the lives of 5 New Yorkers in parallel stories as they unfold and eventually come together. Connected already plays in a dozen countries around the world. It will debut at AOL's NewFronts on April 29th and start its run on AOL in January, 2105.
Categories: Indie Video
Following is a contributed post by Frank Besteiro, VP and Head of Business Development & Partnerships, The AOL On Network. VideoNuze will consider contributed posts that are educational for video industry colleagues. Please contact me to learn more.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating an Original Video Series
by Frank Besteiro
Over the past few years, the online video industry has evolved from a wild west of user-generated content and repurposed TV clips to one of the most exciting and buzzed about parts of the web. Major players like Amazon and Netflix have drawn attention by betting big on star-studded series that encourage viewers to indulge in marathon-style viewing. At the same time, media companies with their heritage in print and TV have been turning out innovative and highly produced content that engages their audiences in new ways.
Though there’s no denying that it is still early days, there’s also sense of urgency in the industry borne of the fact that the ultimate winners in video will be those that get in the game early, experiment and start building a loyal fanbase. It’s for this reason that most online publishers who haven’t gotten into the game yet and are wondering if it’s time to jump onto the original series bandwagon. As someone who spends his days with the biggest names in the industry, I can tell you that this path isn’t for the faint of heart. Even though the potential payoffs are high, building a quality series and cutting through the noise is a major undertaking. Here are 5 questions every publisher should ask themselves before jumping into the fray.
Categories: Indie Video
With 3.7 billion video ads served, the combined AOL-Adap.tv has landed atop comScore's September 2013 U.S. Online Video Rankings. (see chart below) It's the first time that AOL has outranked Google (primarily YouTube), which dropped to second with 3.2 billion video ads served. On its own in August, Adap.tv served over 2.5 billion video ads. AOL-Adap.tv was also tops in total ad minutes in September with over 1.6 billion, followed by BrightRoll with nearly 1.3 billion.
AOL has scored a huge coup with a deal announced today to syndicate ESPN video content across its owned-and-operated sites, plus its distribution network of 1,700 publisher sites. ESPN video in AOL will be accessible on desktops, smartphones, tablets and connected TV devices.
Importantly, the deal underscores the allure of online video syndication. By choosing to syndicate through AOL, ESPN concluded - despite its already formidable presence as the top-ranked sports property online - that AOL's distribution network could provide still further online reach and monetization potential. That's no small statement, and it is a testament to both AOL's video growth over the past several years and to the strength of the "Syndicated Video Economy" concept I began talking about back in 2008.
I'm pleased to present the 197th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. At Advertising Week this week in NYC, the dominant theme I heard about was programmatic video advertising. Though it's an important and growing part of the larger video advertising space, it's still early days, so even the very definition of "programmatic" doesn't seem to have clear consensus.
In this week's podcast I explain the 3 main elements of programmatic as I understand them: automating certain buy/sell processes, using data to improve targeting and optimize yield/ROI, and using dynamic pricing models like real-time bidding. Depending on who you talk to, programmatic can refer to one or more of these elements.
One of the key topics of the week was how programmatic can be used by "premium" video content providers/publishers. In the podcast I also discuss this in-depth. I'm personally continuing to get my head around programmatic, so if I've misstated or mischaracterized anything, let me know and/or leave a comment!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 22 seconds)
AOL held its first "Programmatic Upfront" tonight, bringing together a packed house of agencies and brands to hear multiple executives and guest speakers pound home a double message that data and automation are poised to revolutionize advertising, just as they have done on Wall Street. From a purely news standpoint, AOL announced 3 specific things:
1. Clients will be able to buy reserved premium AOL inventory programmatically through the company's AdLearn Open Platform (AOP) beginning January 1, 2014.
2. Major agencies including Accuen, Amnet, Havas Media, Horizon Media and Magna Global have all made programmatic commitments for 2014 (sizes not disclosed), with DigitasLBi, Razorfish and VivaKi considering.
3. New features in AOP including real-time bidding through private marketplaces, cross-screen inventory buying with frequency and optimization, and availability of all ad units for programmatic buying.
I'm pleased to present the 191st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This was a big week for online video advertising, with 3 key milestones: AOL's acquisition of Adap.tv for $405 million (the biggest of CEO Tim Armstrong's tenure), YuMe's IPO, and Tremor Video reporting solid 2nd quarter results, in its first quarter as a public company.
As I explained earlier this week, the success of AOL-Adap.tv is riding on 3 key market trends, the shift from linear TV style viewing to anywhere/anytime/any device viewing, the democratization of video production and distribution which has led to a plethora of online originals, and the influence of technology in the ad buying/selling process. AOL is seeking to capitalize on all this through Adap.tv's programmatic platform.
Meanwhile Tremor Video, whose stock has had a bumpy start since the company went public in early July, posted a strong 2nd quarter, with revenue growing by 41% year-over-year. As CEO Bill Day explained on the earnings call, key to this was a focus on premium performance-based in-stream video advertising, which grew from 20% of revenue in Q2 '12 to 34% in Q2 '13. Mobile was also a big contributor to the quarter, rising from 4% of revenue to 13% of revenue. Bill noted the company is highly focused on providing transparency and analytics around traditional brand metrics such as brand lift, engagement, completion rates, etc. to engage buyers.
More broadly, as Colin observes, online video is giving brands and content providers more flexibility to insert product placements and other deep product integration. I agree, though for the foreseeable future, I see the vast majority of online video ad revenue coming from more traditional pre-, mid- and post-roll advertising.
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 57 seconds)
(Note: YuMe and Tremor Video's VideoHub are VideoNuze sponsors)
This morning AOL announced its biggest acquisition to date under CEO Tim Armstrong, buying Adap.tv for $405 million. The deal says volumes about the future of video generally and video advertising in particular. It also underscores the key role that AOL intends to play in helping shape the future.
To understand the deal, it's important to understand 3 of the most important trends in video today: 1) the shift from linear TV / living room viewing to anytime/anywhere/any device viewing, 2) the democratization of video production and distribution enabled by online delivery and 3) the growing importance of technology/data in the ad buying/selling process. Taken together, these trends portend a future of of massively scaled, yet highly personalized video viewing, monetized through targeted, higher-impact advertising.
These days everyone has their own favorite device on which to consume video. While improved convenience is great for content providers and advertisers, the resulting fragmentation also causes huge headaches developing for multiple devices.
In a session at the recent Video Ad Summit, executives from Adobe, AOL, Scripps and TheBlaze shared their insights on the challenges and opportunities of surging video consumption across devices, how to generate an ROI and what it all means for advertisers.
The video is below and runs 22 minutes, 14 seconds.
I'm pleased to present the 178th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This was NewFronts week, when a slew of content providers presented their slate of programs and initiatives to advertisers. Having attended a couple of the presentations, I was impressed by the turnout, energy and interest, especially since this was only the second year for these types of presentations.
Advertisers have clearly moved online video beyond the experimental stage and are taking a strong interest. Colin and I agree that this is mainly due to viewers' strong adoption of online video viewing. This should only increase as viewers are presented with an exploding array of content choices. We talk more about the role that mobile and apps are playing in all of this too, and why established media needs to be aggressive in this shifting landscape.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 53 seconds)
Looking past the thumping music and flashing lights that pervaded AOL's NewFront presentation yesterday, the big theme from the company's new slate of original productions was far quieter: it wants to be the online home for authentic programming from thoughtful creators.
Going this less mainstream route means AOL isn't trying to out-TV TV - like for example Netflix is trying to do with "House of Cards" and its other new shows (how many times have you heard Netflix executives compare their efforts to HBO's?!). Though it is collaborating with some well-known talent such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow and Hank Azaria, AOL's new programs are mainly built around online and offline personalities who have unique perspectives on the world.
Today I'm pleased to share a contributed post from Alan Wolk. Alan is Global Lead Analyst at KIT digital. He frequently speaks about the television industry in general and second screen interactions in particular, both at conferences and to anyone who'll listen. Recently named as one of the "Top 20 Thinkers In Social TV and Second Screen" Wolk is one of the main architects behind the award-winning KIT Social Program Guide and writes about the television industry at the Toad Stool blog. You can find him on Twitter at @awolk
If you are interested in contributing to VideoNuze, please contact me!
Social Recommendations: No Surprises There
by Alan Wolk
There’s a firmly held belief in the world of social TV and social media that our social graphs-- the people we are friends with on Facebook and Twitter and other social networks-- are the best source of recommendations for anything from restaurants to movies to TV shows. (Witness this week’s Facebook Graph Search announcement.)
I’m here to suggest that may not be the case, particularly in regards to television.
Let’s take Facebook, the most personal of the social networks. While it is considered good form by many on Twitter and LinkedIin to connect with relative strangers, our Facebook friends are generally people we know in real life.
Categories: Social Media