Thursday, July 1, 2010, 9:19 AM ET|Posted by Will RichmondWhen Revision3, the independent network of online video programs, has surveyed its viewers, it has discovered that 99% of them are able to identify at least 1 of its advertisers. That incredibly high level of unaided recall is due to having its program hosts integrate advertiser messages in the middle of its programs, according to Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback, who I interviewed last week. Jim will be a featured speaker at NATPE's upcoming LATV Fest (VideoNuze readers get $200 off registrations). Following is an excerpted transcript.
VideoNuze: Revision3 is producing a lot of shows now. Tell us how you decide what new shows to launch?
Jim Louderback: It's a combination of things. We start by asking our viewers what kinds of shows they'd like to see. We scour the Internet - places like YouTube, Vimeo, blip, etc. - to find things that fit with our brands and our 18-34 male target audience. And we apply filters of what we think will work. For example, people told us they wanted a show about movies and so we were able to find a couple of guys in Florida who were making a cool show. We talked to them and refined the program - Film RIot, a little and it's been a big success. Our goal is to combine community with a topic our audience is fascinated by and hosts who are authentic and passionate.
VN: What are Revision3's top 2-3 successes?
JL: Our biggest shows are Techzilla - which is 2 geeks who are passionate about technology; Diggnation - 2 guys talking about social news; and Scam School - built around the concept of using magic to scam drinks off your friends. AppJudgement is doing well as is the Digg Reel, among others. They all come from different places but they've all developed audience and community.
VN: Any data to share on viewership?
JL: Our top shows do 200,000-300,000 views per episode, which rivals mid-range cable TV shows. Overall we're doing about 10 million views per month across all our shows. But the way we count is different from everyone else. The industry standard for counting is a "play start." But we didn't think that was fair to our advertisers because our primary ad unit is actually in the middle of our shows. So we only count a view when someone watches the whole show. We'd be at 25M-30M views if we used conventional play starts instead.
VN: Tell us more about your ads and the success you're seeing?
JL: Our ads are primarily in the middle of our shows though we do a billboard upfront, "This show is brought to you." But then in the middle of the show the hosts will break and provide a sponsor message. We also do some pre-rolls, overlays and other units as well which are all very effective. Importantly, based on surveys we've done, we've found that 99% of our audience can name 1 of our advertisers. 97% can name 2 or more and 93% can name 3 or more. Those are incredibly high levels of unaided ad recall. Also, 56% of our audience has bought something from a sponsor. Our takeaway is that "host-integrated" sponsorships, when executed well, work.
VN: There was a recent WSJ article in which you were quoted, saying that online video viewership is beginning to shift to primetime. Say more about that.
JL: We've found that 40% of our audience watches on big screen. We're starting to see a "best-screen available" model emerge where people watch on the best screen they can access. More and more people can now watch online video on TVs. And as more people can do this, shows like ours have a level playing field with others that were already there. That means it's easier to find and watch our programs. So I'm excited about things like Google TV, Clicker, boxee, Roku and others. We need to be on all of them. We're already the #1 independent network on Roku.
VN: You think Google TV will be a hit?
JL: It's hard to predict, but it's from Google, and they already have a great partner in Sony. I think Google TV will be very important. .
VN: You guys have an iPad app?
JL: Our iPhone app was just approved. It was initially developed by a fan for us which we built on. On the iPad, we've been compatible with HTML5 for a while so it works nicely with the iPad. Now that we have our iPhone app next we'll develop an app for the iPad as well.
VN: When you look at traditional media, who do you think is doing the best job in online video?
JL: I like what G4's doing. They have a nice iPhone app and are doing a lot of volume. Epix is also doing well letting users watch on-air and online. MLB too. I'm a Mets fan and this year I'm watching games on Roku and elsewhere and it looks great. Not perfect, but great. The jury is still out for me on TV Everywhere, primarily due to authentication issues. I have to confess - sometimes I overestimate old media's ability to adapt.
VN: Thanks for your time and good luck.