• Grab Media's Growth Underscores Power of Video Syndication Model

    It's been a little over four years since I started discussing a concept I called the "Syndicated Video Economy." My thesis was that for content creators to succeed, they needed to distribute their videos to relevant third-parties in addition to their own sites. Only by leveraging syndication would they gain enough scale to achieve an ROI. Flash forward to today, and value of syndication is strong and growing.

    One of the companies which is capitalizing on the syndication trend is Grab Media, which in 2011 saw its unique viewers jump from about 7.3 million to about 24 million, the second-fastest growth of an video property according to comScore. Grab works with hundreds of content providers of all sizes and has built a catalog of 800K-900K short videos (usually 3-5 minutes), which it makes available to 140,000 different publisher sites. All of this aggregates to almost 300M video views per month.

    These publishers can choose exactly which videos they want to use, or using Grab's Audience Extension product which provides entire niche content channels (e.g. women's, music, news). Viewership is monetized through advertising, which is split between the content provider, publisher and Grab.

    Grab's 2011 growth can be attributed to three primary factors according to Andrew Taylor, VP of Business Development: the Audience Extension product, which now represents 10-20% of Grab's stream count (up from zero six months ago) and can generate 5-20x the viewing on the content provider's own site; distribution of independently-produced online video; and longer-term upfront ad commitments which accelerate Grab's publisher distribution and adoption.

    Grab is riding the same syndication wave as 5Min, the biggest video syndication platform, which AOL acquired in September, 2010. Based on Grab's analysis of comScore data, AOL grew its video views by 103% in 2011 (to nearly 1 billion views per month), ahead of all major video content sites, with 5Min's syndication playing a huge part in this growth.

    The key takeaway here is that publishers are increasingly hungry for high-CPM video views and syndicators that can offer high-quality targeted video that is easily accessible, have significant value. As social, mobile and online originals fragment audiences even further, the role of syndicating video should become even more important.

    To learn more about Grab, I've embedded a recent presentation of Andrew's from the NABShow below: