• Syndicated Video Model Gains Momentum Among Top Properties

    Long-time VideoNuze readers know I've been talking about the trend toward content providers' video being syndicated to third-party publishers' sites for a while now, and judging by comScore's August data, the model appears to be gaining further momentum.

    Two of the top 10 video properties - NDN and Grab Media - have syndication as their core business model, while a third - AOL, via its 5Min acquisition, uses syndication to power a significant amount of its views. Meanwhile, YouTube, which is consistently the largest property, leverages embedding for organic syndication, while #4 property VEVO syndicates a lot of its music videos to YouTube. Beyond the overall top 10, as I've written previously, in the sports vertical specifically, syndicators took 2 of the top 4 spots in the first half of '12.

    What all of that means to me is that the video landscape is continuing to evolve toward a model where viewership through third parties is at least as important to content providers as viewership through their own sites. The shift toward syndication recognizes that the online video ecosystem is mostly ad-supported. And ad-supported ecosystems need scale in order to work, which is exactly what syndication provides.  As well, quality video is expensive to create, so generating an ROI from it requires accessing audiences beyond just visitors to a specific web site. Rather, the video needs to be placed in the appropriate context where users already gather, in order to expand its viewership and monetization.

    I don't see any of these underlying drivers changing any time soon. In fact, as original online video proliferates, the need for syndication should strengthen even further. That's because the harder it becomes to get noticed, the harder it is to gain viewers and an ROI. This is particularly true for brands that are starting to create their own video, even though they don't necessarily have a lot of usage on their own sites (this is why Sharethrough's launch last week's its "Sponsored Videos" could also become interesting).

    Last but not least is the rapid adoption of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for video viewing. These devices offer the easiest user experience yet to quickly jump from one piece of content to the next, reinforcing the importance of content providers making their video widely available. Given all of this, the companies mediating the "syndicated video economy" and monetizing it should have a lot of runway in front of them.