Late last week, Visible Measures released its quarterly Branded Video Report for Q2 '14, finding that branded videos were watched 2.8 billion times, an increase of over 50% vs. Q2 '13. The big driver of the record quarterly views was the World Cup, with videos related to it accounting for 19%, or almost 555 million of the views.
Nike was by far the biggest winner of World Cup related branded videos, with nearly 259 million True Reach views during the quarter, 84% of which were from its eight World Cup videos. Nike wasn't even an official World Cup sponsor, but its videos received 2.5x the 103.7 million views of adidas, which was the official sponsor and landed the brand in 3rd place for the quarter.
Categories: Branded Entertainment
People want to skip ads, right? The conventional wisdom is yes, but it turns out the answer isn't quite so simple. In fact, viewers are seeking out, watching and sharing certain types of advertisers' messages in record numbers. According to Visible Measures 2013 Branded Video report, branded videos (video campaigns advertisers posted online, as opposed to video ads that run in-stream, etc.), generated 8.3 billion views, up 44% vs. 2012.
There's huge momentum in branded videos: of the 8.3 billion views, 6.5 billion, or 78%, were for campaigns newly launched in 2013. This compares with 3.8 billion views for new campaigns launched in 2012 and 1.7 billion views for campaigns launched in 2011.
Categories: Brand Marketing
Topics: Visible Measures
Getting a branded video to go hugely viral is like catching lightning in a bottle - it's hard to predict and very rare. But a viral video's huge branding benefits through free, or so-called "earned media" impressions, makes it extremely appealing.
Now Visible Measures, which has been tracking video viewership across devices for years, and Publicis Groupe's VivaKi and Starcom MediaVest have developed a planning tool called CONTAGION that uses data to help brands and agencies actually plan for how viral a branded video campaign could be. CONTAGION is launching today for use by Publicis Groupe agencies for a year before becoming available to the broader market.
Visible Measures is unveiling its "Certified Publisher Program" (CPP) this morning, to help establish standardized MRC-accredited online video campaign metrics for publishers to report to advertisers and agencies. The program, which is free to publishers and advertisers, is meant to enhance consistency and transparency. This in turn reduces the friction of agencies needing to expend resources normalizing self-reported and highly variable publisher results.
Topics: Visible Measures
Visible Measures, which provides video analytics and operates the Viewable Media video ad network, has raised another $21.5 million, led by DAG Ventures and including existing investors. The funds will be used to drive adoption of the company's products.
Visible Measures' CEO Brian Shin said that the company will achieve 300% revenue growth in 2012, for the second year in a row. That strong growth is aided by the April, 2011 launch of Viewable Media, the company's video ad network that is based on its core analytics platform. Viewable Media differentiates itself as performance-based and positions video ads as content that users can choose from on publishers' web pages. The company said that over one hundred brands and agencies have adopted Viewable Media since launch.
Visible Measures is announcing this morning that the Media Rating Council (MRC), which certifies media measurement services, has accredited a number of the company's metrics, including its "TrueReach Views," a metric that spans paid, owned and earned media. Brian Shin, Visible Measures' founder and CEO, told me last week that it's the first time a metric has been accredited that covers all of the ways a brand's video campaign can now be propagated online.
Brian noted that the accreditation is also unusual for the MRC because it typically audits metrics that are tied to conventional ad serving. Conversely, in the case of TrueReach, MRC took account of social activity for the first time, requiring it to verify that Visible Measures' technology and methodologies accurately reflected viral distribution properly. Brian said that MRC did sample testing and vetted its documentation as part of the accreditation process.
Topics: Visible Measures
Categories: Deals & Financings
Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 50th (woohoo!) edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for February 19, 2010.
This week Daisy first walks us through a piece she's writing for AdAge focused on viral video. In reviewing data on which videos have broken out online, Daisy concludes that invariably they are also supported by related advertising. In other words, viral video isn't accidental any more (if it ever was) - now it must be stoked by paid support. An example Daisy provides is for Evian's "Live Young" babies ad which has been seen online 76 million times. Evian initially promoted the ad with YouTube takeover ads. Daisy also discusses the online performance of Super Bowl ads based on Visible Measures' new Trends application, which shows a big disparity between ads that were viewed heavily online vs. rated highly when seen on TV.
Then we discuss my post, "In Trying to Preserve DVD Sales, Studios are in a Tight Spot," in which I described the lengths to which Hollywood studios are going to squeeze out the last remaining profits from DVD sales. As I explain, while the recession has had a dampening effect on DVD sales, the larger problem is that rather than buying them, increasingly consumers are expecting films to be available for rental or subscription or even for free, with ad support. A number of moves from Disney, Sony and Warner Bros. in the last week underscore the consequences studios face as they try to shore up DVD sales.
Click here to listen to the podcast (14 minutes, 8 seconds)
Click here for previous podcasts
The VideoNuze Report is available in iTunes...subscribe today!
Visible Measures, the third-party measurement firm for online video, is taking the wraps off its new "Trends" web-based application this morning. I've been playing around with it for the last couple of days with a courtesy login and not only does it pack a ton of value, it's also really addictive.
Trends offers access to videos in 3 different data sets, or "collections": Social Video (currently 165 online ad campaigns that have gone viral), Film Trailers (currently 115, and growing by 3-4 per week), and all the recent 2010 Super Bowl ads. The results table for a query displays the campaign's thumbnail image and its name, along with its views or "reach" based on Visible Measures' "True Reach" data (either incremental or cumulative) plus the number of comments, ratings and points of distribution. The table also displays each ad's industry categorization, ad agency, brand name and type of creative type (humor, contest, product demo, etc.). Viewing any particular ad is also just one click away.
Users can take advantage of Trends in any number of ways, depending on their particular interest. As one example, I started by choosing the Social Video collection and "Cumulative Reach" for the current time period. I was interested to see just campaigns for beverages, so I chose that category, but allowed all agencies, brands and creative types to be displayed. In an instant I was presented with a table of 20 results on 2 pages, starting with Evian's hilarious "Live Young" campaign featuring the dancing babies that has garnered almost 74 million views to date. After looking it over, I also reviewed the other campaigns in the top 5, from Pepsi, AMP and Anheuser-Busch. Click on the image below if you'd like to see a 4 minute video demo.
In the social and online video-dominated world we now live in, Trends data is invaluable for brand advertisers and their agencies. It allows them to customize their views of the database, compare different campaigns and analyze what worked online and what didn't. Online distribution is now a key part of calculating the ROI on a campaign, so being able to benchmark the performance of past campaigns provides insight not normally available in traditional TV advertising.
For example, say an agency is formulating a plan for its client's new shampoo - Trends lets its creative executives understand whether prior campaigns featuring product demos, humor or celebrities worked best online. A few quick queries will yield data that can be exported to create charts and graphs for everyone on the team to review. Of course past experience can perfectly predict the future, but Trends provides hard data that lets the creative discussion quickly move beyond gut instinct.
The Visible Measures team told me last week that they've been gradually exposing more and more of their data, through top 10 lists with media partners like AdAge, Variety, Mashable and Motor Trend. With Trends, the data is even more accessible. Visible Measure is also making a public beta of Trends available, though just for the Social Video collection. It's free and it's fun - I recommend giving it a try.
What do you think? Post a comment now (now sign-in required).
Note - Visible Measures is a VideoNuze sponsor.
Topics: Visible Measures
In its release, thePlatform notes that its "role is to make online video publishing a seamless process for our customers...." That's a commonly-shared goal among video platform companies, yet I continue to hear from various content providers that stitching together the various pieces they require into a total solution can be difficult. That's why these kinds of programs, where partner products are pre-integrated, add a lot of value for customers.
Among the many companies thePlatform cites as new partners are quite a few I've written about previously on VideoNuze (click to see each write-up): Aspera, Azuki Systems, BrightRoll, EveryZing, Transpera, Visible Measures, YuMe and others.
(Note: thePlatform is a VideoNuze sponsor)
Yesterday's announcement by Visible Measures that it raised a $10M Series C round is further evidence that broadband video companies are still able to attract financing in this brutal economic climate. Here are other video sector investments I've tracked on VideoNuze in Q1 '09:
Plus 7 others totaling over $80M in the Fall of '08, and no doubt others I've missed.
Visible Measures founder and CEO Brian Shin and Matt Cutler, VP, Marketing & Analytics explained to me yesterday that key to their financing was having both solid short-term traction in the form of customer acquisitions and a long-term story built around increasing transparency and accountability for the burgeoning broadband video medium. This echoes criteria I continue to hear from other industry CEOs successfully raising money in this environment.
Since I initially profiled Visible Measures last June, and then followed-up with a post about their deal with MTV Networks last September, the company has continued to build momentum. Brian said that it's now powering video measurement and reporting for many of the largest web properties and dozens of advertisers. Revenue is about evenly split between the two categories.
Despite its progress, Brian explained the company has maintained a relatively low profile because neither it nor its customers have wanted to publicize their activities. Brian said there are a few competitors but none that he feels are that close to offering what Visible Measures has, and he'd like to keep it that way by being low-key about their wins. Skeptics might say "a publicity-shy early-stage company? Hmm...." but knowing Brian and his team as I do, I know that's been their approach since starting the company.
Brian added that the new round, led by Northgate Capital, a fund of funds that has also does some direct investing, "presented itself" without Visible Measures out looking for it. But Brian was quick to note that he considers the company extremely fortunate, given that he believes the current environment is even tougher than the post-bubble years in 2001-2003. Northgate is a limited partner in MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures, one of the company's two original investors, along with General Catalyst. The company has raised a total of $29M to date.
Visible Measures plans to use the new funds to accelerate product development and grow faster. Brian and Matt made repeated references to the mountain of tracking data the company is sitting on, and that many people are interested in accessing it (which I can believe). The intent is to further productize the data, though no specifics were offered.
With publishers facing more pressure than ever to monetize effectively, and advertisers' need to understand the ROI of their spending intensifying, Visible Measures is at the intersection of two very strong trends in the fast-growing broadband video industry. It's also a textbook "syndicated video economy" company, which is yet more wind at its back. I've been bullish for a while on the company's prospects and continue to be so.
What do you think? Post a comment now.
Here's another sign of the times: thePlatform is announcing this morning that it has launched three new initiatives aimed at reducing small-to-medium (SMB) sized content providers' total cost of running their broadband video operations. In the context of the woeful economy, it's a savvy move.
In effect thePlatform (note, a VideoNuze sponsor) is using its scale to create a buyer's cooperative to save money on three services (CDN, storage and others), thereby enabling its SMB customers to receive pricing comparable to what big customers can negotiate themselves. With thePlatform's customers driving 440 million video views in December '08, (3rd place after Google's site and Fox Interactive Media) according to comScore, the company is in a strong position to use its size on behalf of its SMB customers. I talked to Marty Roberts, thePlatform's VP Marketing, who explained the specifics of how the savings would work.
thePlatform's initiatives are based on an analysis it conducted of its SMB customers' key cost elements. No surprise, the cost of delivery was the biggest chunk, coming in at 78% of total. This was calculated using a set of assumptions including $.55/GB for delivery. For its new "mpsManage CDN" service, thePlatform has partnered with EdgeCast to resell its service for $.35/GB, resulting in a 36% savings on delivery costs. It will also be available on a utility basis, meaning no monthly commitments. Marty said that thePlatform will continue to work with its other 15 CDN partners, but I would guess that this new program is going to gain a lot of attention among its SMB customer base.
Delivery costs have always been a central issue for making the broadband P&L work. Having done many business cases for various content providers over the years, I'm well-acquainted with how quickly CDN costs can gobble up potential profitability even though the cost/GB delivered has plunged over the years. Yet there is a raft of CDNs out there to choose from, and the key is finding the right one for your needs at the moment and your budget. Still delivery costs persist as a major flashpoint: some of you may have read Mark Cuban's post just 2 weeks ago "The Great Internet Video Lie" in which he basically asserted that large CDNs and their pricing are the real gatekeepers to a truly open broadband distribution model (for the record, I think some of his points are valid, but long-term his logic is flawed).
The other programs thePlatform is rolling out are important, though not as impactful as the delivery option, simply because their percentage of underlying total costs is so much smaller in size. thePlatform is offering a new storage program which slashes the cost of storage from $8/GB on average, to $2/GB. Though a big cut, thePlatform calculates storage only accounts for 5% of total costs today.
Lastly, through its new Advantage program it's tapping into a select group of its ecosystem partners to find another 10% or more cost reduction on services like advertising, reporting and analytics and online community creation. Advantage program participants include Panache, BlackArrow, TubeMogul, Live Rail, ScanScout, Gloto and Visible Measures.
Add it all up and thePlatform believes it can offer a 32% reduction in "total cost of ownership" for SMB video content providers. These new services create a new revenue stream for the company, as the reduced prices include a margin for thePlatform as well. And as Marty pointed out the SMB space is quite vibrant and these programs will allow thePlatform to be more competitive in winning deals by giving them another negotiating lever.
thePlatform's moves are also smart from a positioning standpoint; in this troubled economy I think providers who overtly message that they are doing what they can to save customers money generate valuable notoriety. In good times everyone's focused on top-line growth and wants more features and flexibility. In bad times those goals are still valued, but saving money - which can often make the difference in merely surviving - is prized over everything else (Ben Franklin said it best: "a penny saved is a penny earned"). As a result, I suspect we'll see more companies unveiling messages of this kind in the months to come.
What do you think? Post a comment now.
Yesterday brought news that MTV Networks has signed a deal with Visible Measures, a third-party analytics firm, to measure broadband video activity across over 340 of its sites. This is by far the biggest deal that Visible Measures has landed to date. And in the torrent of broadband deals and partnerships that hit my inbox each day, I believe this one is noteworthy for 3 reasons:
1. More evidence of syndication's growing importance to major media companies
A number of recent announcements have underscored the broadband market's shift to the "syndicated video economy," but this move by MTV demonstrates how the SVE concept is starting to infiltrate major media companies' thinking. To date many of these companies have taken a somewhat informal approach to syndication, giving users embed code or passing clips on to YouTube for promotion, but not diligently measuring the activity or benefits.
MTV's deal shows serious intent to measure its syndication activity and use the resulting data to help shape its broadband video efforts. As a leader in broadband video, MTV's Visible Measures deal is certain to prompt other major media companies to up their commitment to syndication as well. This would synch with a comment a CEO of a broadband technology vendor told me yesterday: "...every content company we deal with has now prioritized syndication and they are actively addressing the technical, business and political issues."
2. Programming business changing to be more data-centric
You can be sure that when armed with a trove of new Visible Measures-generated data about how its users watch and engage with its video, MTV's programming decisions will be influenced accordingly. As I wrote in my initial post about Visible Measures last June, that's one of the beauties of broadband consumption vs. TV - all user behavior can be tracked and assessed. By knowing - down to the frame - things like when viewers dropped out, what scenes they rewound/viewed repeatedly and what clips they most shared, MTV's programming decisions should become ever smarter.
Stalwart creatives may decry this research-intensive approach to program development, but in media businesses challenged to reduce costs and increase profitability, anything that helps predict what users will watch (and therefore help drive a higher ROI per program) is invaluable. This is especially true for TV networks trying to rationalize the pilot process. Gauging real-life user reactions to various videos online can only make the pilot process more effective.
3. Ad model becomes even more important, and more refined
Though there's wide consensus that advertising will drive the broadband business for the foreseeable future, there is acute anxiety about how advertising will ultimately work (formats, insertion frequency, etc.) and how much revenue it will produce. While there's been plenty of testing to date, there's also been much guesswork involved. MTV for one will now have a bird's-eye view into its users' reactions to various ad implementations so it can continually refine its approach.
Optimizing the broadband ad model is a key issue for all players in the market. Recently I asserted that Hulu is leaving a lot of money on the table with its current ad approach, and is also pressuring parent company NBC's own ad business. I suggested Hulu could insert more ads, but without hard data, it's impossible to say how much more. Here's another example: all those viral SNL clips of Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin could mean real money for NBC, yet without proper tracking and ad implementations their real value is being underoptimized. The list of examples goes on. More data on video usage can really help the ad model.
In sum, MTV's deal with Visible Measures is both a positive step in the ongoing maturation of broadband video, syndication and advertising and a harbinger of more deals to come.
(Note: if you'd like to learn more about MTV's and others' syndication strategies, please join me for a panel I'll be moderating next Tuesday, October 7th at Contentonomics in LA. Joining me are MTV's Greg Clayman, Revision3's Damon Berger, ClipBlast's Gary Baker and EgoTV's Jimmy Hutcheson. Information and registration is here.)
Yesterday I moderated a panel at the NATPE LATV Festival Digital Day entitled, "The Syndicated Video Economy: Expanding Broadband's Reach." The Syndicated Video Economy or SVE, is a concept I introduced back in March, to help articulate the trend toward widespread video distribution online, and the ecosystem of companies facilitating it.
The session was a unique opportunity to hear from four executives whose companies are very much on the front line of the trend toward syndication. They shared many insights based on their experiences, and I thought it would be worth passing on a synopsis of these today.
The four panelists were:
Here are four key takeaways:
1. Syndication is required to capitalize on the significant fragmentation of online audiences. John summed this up well, suggesting that content creators need to think in terms of their "total potential audience," not just viewers that may come to their web sites. Particularly for established media companies, steeped in traditional destination-oriented, "must-see" mind-sets, this is a crucial point of adaptation to the online world. Jonathan's group gets this, as he reported 60% of its 25 million monthly are already coming from third parties.
2. Syndication is operationally complex. Jonathan made the point that, for all of syndication's appeal, it poses daunting tactical challenges, particularly with an "always-on" news gathering/dissemination ethos. Challenges he cited include integrating video players with partners' sites, implementing ad management across heterogeneous environments, distributing content correctly and promptly, measuring results and honoring financial obligations. Until the ecosystem of companies enabling the SVE significantly matures, scaling the model will cause ample headaches.
3. Retaining full control of advertising sales is crucial. While the SVE opens up new audiences, Greg reminded us that nobody is better equipped to sell MTV's inventory - wherever it may be generated - than MTV's own sales team. This is one of the reasons content providers seek to syndicate not just their video, but also their player as well. Jonathan echoed this point from the local perspective. Lack of tight advertising control leads to chaos for media buyers and sub-optimization of pricing. A bonus, as John pointed out, is that distributors will often be happy to just collect their revenue-sharing checks and not have to sell themselves.
4. Analytics are the ultimate key to fully exploiting the SVE. While traditional web analytics have focused on on-site performance, SVE analytics must encompass video performance over many distribution points. Brian noted that making sense of how a video performs in varying environments - and then adjusting ongoing syndication strategies accordingly - is necessary to optimize viewership across the total audience. Inevitably viewership and engagement will vary by distributor. Collecting, understanding and acting on the data optimizes syndication and monetization.
Ok, that's a mouthful. Like the panelists I remain optimistic about the SVE's potential, but I'm also clear-eyed about the challenges the SVE raises. I'll continue to track its progress and share findings.
What do you think? Post a comment now!
(Note, if you'd like to learn more about the SVE, and also hear from MTV's Greg Clayman, join me on August 6th for a complimentary webinar, hosted by Akamai. Click here to register.)
Late last week, WebTrends, the long-time player in web analytics, announced an important improvement in its video measurement capabilities. The company introduced a rich media plug-in that is compatible with most video formats (Flash, Silverlight, WMP, Real, etc.) providing customers with deeper understanding of users' behavior with video. I had a quick chat with Roger Corvill and Sean Browning at WebTrends to learn more.
Most everyone who has ever worked in any online business has likely had contact with WebTrends and other analytics packages like Omniture and Google Analytics. All of these provide valuable insight about site traffic, page usage, clickstream data, referring links and the like.
But the massive explosion of video has introduced new complexity in the analytics world because video is a new media type requiring unique measurement capabilities. Relevant video metrics include things like abandonment rates, rewind/resume behavior, and conversion rates on offers. As user engagement shifts to video, publishers require the same degree of insight as they've come to expect in the HTML world.
Roger and Sean said customers have been expressing these kinds of needs to them as they are urgently focused on how best to monetize their video efforts. This synchs with what I hear often from content executives; they're excited about the opportunity to be more data-driven in both their programming decisions and monetization strategies.
In ad-supported video alone, there are a bewildering array of ad formats and implementation models, with varying impacts on the user's experience. This is the crux of today's experimentation: which ad model results in optimal consumption and monetization. I think of these attributes mapped on an XY chart, with the goal to operate as far out to the right corner as possible (i.e. high consumption AND high monetization). But this can only happen with solid underlying measurement.
Until now, WebTrends customers had to customize in order to get deep video-related stats; now they will be available out of the box. One limitation, at least for now, is that WebTrends only measures video consumption on-site. That means that as video is virally spread though embedding, emailing and syndication WebTrends doesn't yet keep track. That's an important limitation given how viral video consumption is. This is a key feature that Visible Measures, a video analytics startup which I've written about previously, has focused on.
Still, just gaining greater insight about how visitors engage with on-site video is a great leap forward, and one which WebTrends customers will no doubt welcome.
Wrapping up a busy June, I'd like to quickly recap 3 key topics covered in VideoNuze:
1. Execution matters as much as strategy
I've been mindful since the launch of VideoNuze to not just focus on big strategic shifts in the industry, but also on the important role of execution. I'm not planning to get too far into the tactical weeds, but I do intend to show examples where possible of how successful execution can make a difference. This month, in 2 posts comparing and contrasting Hulu and Fancast (here and here) I tried to constructively show how a nimble upstart can get a toehold against an entrenched incumbent by getting things right.
While great execution is a key to successful online businesses, it may sometimes feel pretty mundane. For example, in "Jacob's Pillow Uses Video to Enhance Customer Experience" I shared an example of an arts organization has begun including video samples of upcoming performances on its web site, improving the user experience and no doubt enhancing ticket sales. A small touch with a big reward. And in this post about the analytics firm Visible Measures, I tried to explain how rigorous tracking can enhance programming and product decisions. I'll continue to find examples of where execution has had an impact, whether positive or negative.
2. Cable TV industry impacted by broadband
As many of you know, I believe the cable TV industry is a crucial element of the broadband video industry. Cable operators now provide tens of millions of consumer broadband connections. And cable networks have become active in delivering their programs and clips via broadband. Yet the broadband's relationships with operators and networks are complex, presenting a range of opportunities and challenges.
On the opportunities side, in "Cable's Subscriber Fees Matter, A Lot," I explained how the monthly sub fees that networks collect put them on a firm financial footing for weathering broadband's changes and an advantageous position compared to broadband content startups which must survive solely on ads. Further, syndication is offering new distribution opportunities, as evidenced by Scripps Networks syndication deal with AOL in May and Comedy Central's syndication of Daily Show and Colbert Report to Hulu and Adobe. Yet cable networks are challenged to exploit broadband's new opportunities while not antagonizing their traditional distributors.
For operators, though broadband access provides billions in monthly revenues, broadband is ultimately going to challenge their traditional video subscription business. In "Video Aggregators Have Raised $366+ Million to Date," I itemized the torrent of money that's flowed into the broadband aggregation space, with players ultimately vying for a piece of cable's aggregation revenue. These and other companies are working hard to change the video industry's value chain. There will be a lot more news from them yet to come.
3. Video publishing/management platforms continue to evolve
Lastly, I continued covering the all-important video content publishing/management platform space this month, with product updates from PermissionTV, Brightcove and Entriq/Dayport. Yesterday, in introducing Delve Networks, another new player, I included a chart of all the companies in this space. I put a significant emphasis on this area because it is a key building block to making the broadband video industry work.
These companies are jostling with each other to provide the tools that content providers need to deliver and optimize the broadband experience. The competitive dynamic between these companies is very blurry though, with each emphasizing different features and capabilities. Nonetheless, each seems to be winning a share of the expanding market. I'll continue covering this segment of the industry as it evolves.
That's it for June; I have lots more good stuff planned for July!