• Tubifi Aims to Crack the High Cost of Video Advertising

    Startup Tubifi has an ambitious agenda to dramatically reduce the cost of video advertising, without sacrificing quality. Founded by a group of CLIO and Emmy-winning executives and technology veterans, Tubifi envisions next-generation video advertising capitalizing on the abundance of stock video footage that eliminates the need to do custom video production that drives up cost. Co-founders John Belchers and Ian Brower explained the company's approach.

    As John and Ian see it, video advertising is becoming table stakes for all reasonably sophisticated marketers. The problem is that traditional production models for TV spots are only suited to big companies with big budgets. For small-to-medium sized businesses in the $10-150 million revenue range looking to reach online/mobile audiences primarily, spending $300K-$400K on a single spot is prohibitive.

    The key to cost reduction is eliminating custom video production, and instead using readily available stock video that can be modified with ubiquitous video editing tools and paired with original scripts, music and voice-overs. With this approach, Tubifi believes it can create video ads for one-tenth or less of the cost of traditional spots.

    Tubifi spots are particularly targeted for clients trying to reach users on mobile devices. What's needed are short-form, personalized ads that can be easily updated. Tubifi's approach is to be more agile, allowing clients to see the ad in process and weigh in on edits and to easily swap in new footage depending on the circumstances. The whole process is geared to smaller businesses that often don't have deep marketing staff. Ads can be used on YouTube channels, social media like Facebook and for targeted in-stream placements against relevant content. Tubifi offers a dashboard that collects data on all video views.

    Though it has an in-house team of video editors and creative professionals who work with clients, longer term Tubifi sees itself as a technology firm as well. It is planning to release in Q1 a proprietary platform that allows clients to create their own ads, by giving them hooks into stock video from providers like Thought Equity Motion and Pond5, along with music, voice-overs, templates and tools. Tubifi is planning to give the platform away, to incent usage. Tubifii will keep a revenue share from all stock licensing. The platform could be used beyond creating ads as well, for applications like internal communications, training, customer education, etc.

    Tubifi is yet another example of how online video is democratizing the world for smaller players. In the past, big budgets were required for producing high-quality video ads and content. Now, with a range of tools and distribution models, much smaller companies can participate on far lower budgets.