Conde Nast is in the middle of executing a massive transformation of its business from being a traditional print publisher to becoming a multi-platform storyteller with video having a central role. At our recent SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit, we were privileged to hear fantastic insights about the company’s video playbook in a 30-minute interview Lisa Valentino, SVP, Network Sales and Partnership of Conde Nast and Chief Revenue Officer of Conde Nast Entertainment did with Matt Gillis, SVP, Publisher Platforms at AOL.
The interview covered an array of topics, with Lisa zeroing in on how Conde has built up its video business by embracing an open distribution model that has been so successful that social is now the primary way that audiences engage with Conde’s brands.
The company has mined its archive of 90K articles for ideas and content that contribute to over 5K videos now being custom created annually for various social and distribution platforms. Lisa shares one great example of an Emma Stone interview video that got 2 million views on Facebook which was then edited and posted elsewhere the next day and got 8 million views.
Lisa talks in highly specific detail about the enormous complexity behind all of this plus the cultural changes that are resulting from new talent the company has attracted. Importantly, she also provides great insights about how the company is monetizing its content, the critical role of programmatic and how it is staffed, plus the challenges of today’s measurement models, among other topics.
Overall it is a fascinating glimpse into how Conde Nast is leveraging video to completely change its business model. Lisa expertly conveys how much of this is ongoing experimentation, with success equally due to innovative strategies and relentless execution.
Everyone knows that video viewing is exploding, but for content publishers and creators, figuring out how to monetize all that usage is an ever-present challenge. This question was the focus of our Video Ad Summit session, “Unlocking Video’s Value in the OTT Era,” which included Jarrod Dicker (Head of Ad Product and Technology, Washington Post), Nathan Guetta (VP, Product and Technology, Conde Nast Entertainment), Shaun Koiner (Chief Product Officer, Perform Media), Brian Rifkin (Co-founder and SVP, Video Sales, JW Player) and Mark Yackanich (CEO, Genesis Media), with Tom Herman (CEO, DashBid) moderating.
The panelists addressed a number of critical issues including how to deliver world-class user experiences that combine both content and advertising, why it’s critical to distribute content to as many places as possible, how to help advertisers capitalize on emerging opportunities like vertical video and other new formats, the role that data is playing in their monetization strategies and what important trends are going to play out over the next year, among other things.
It’s a dynamic discussion with lots of insights for anyone involved with content creation and monetization.
Watch the video now (34 minutes, 52 seconds).
These are complicated times for video content providers, with more opportunities to monetize their video inventory and partner with advertisers, yet more complexity as well. How to succeed in this rapidly evolving environment was the topic of our Video Ad Summit panel, “Modernizing the Monetization of Video: The Content Provider’s Perspective.”
The session included Lorne Brown (Founder & CEO, Operative), Sean Holzman (Chief Digital Revenue Officer, Bonnier), Stephano Kim (SVP, Ad Operations & Chief Digital Strategist, Turner Broadcasting), David Morris (Chief Revenue Officer, CBS Interactive) and Lisa Valentino (Chief Revenue Officer, Conde Nast Entertainment), with Tom Herman (CEO, DashBid) moderating.
The wide-ranging discussion touched on various topics including how campaign success metrics are changing, why performance and engagement are paramount, how content providers are creating their own data management platforms and selectively exposing their first-party data, why the consumer is really in the driver’s seat, the role of branded entertainment, the challenges of moving to a direct-to-consumer approach at scale, ad-blocking and much, much more.
One of our early sessions at the recent Video Ad Summit was "TV is Video, But is Video TV?" which included Doug Knopper (Co-CEO, FreeWheel), Peter Naylor (SVP, Ad Sales, Hulu), Fred Santarpia (EVP, Chief Digital Officer, Conde Nast Entertainment) and Dan Suratt (EVP, Digital Media and Business Development, A+E Networks), with me moderating.
The question is highly relevant as it influences how ad spending will evolve and how pay-TV's value proposition will be perceived given the proliferation of online originals. Our panelists offer a range of perspectives, with some consensus that if it's long-form, high-quality, rights-managed and brand-safe online video, there's no practical difference vs. TV. One data point that Peter shares - that 62% of Hulu's content is now viewed on connected TV devices - underscores how mainstream online video viewing has become.
One of the key takeaways so far from this year's NewFronts is that traditional print publishers are doubling down on online video. Last week, four big print publishers - the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Inc and Conde Nast each shared ambitious plans (here, here, here and here) to expand upon existing video initiatives.
While the specific plans vary from company to company, the common underlying thread is that online video is a once-in-a-generation game-changer, that could ultimately redefine every aspect of these businesses, including how they will engage their audiences, what their competitive advantages will be and how they will make their money.
Following is a contributed post by Frank Besteiro, VP and Head of Business Development & Partnerships, The AOL On Network. VideoNuze will consider contributed posts that are educational for video industry colleagues. Please contact me to learn more.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating an Original Video Series
by Frank Besteiro
Over the past few years, the online video industry has evolved from a wild west of user-generated content and repurposed TV clips to one of the most exciting and buzzed about parts of the web. Major players like Amazon and Netflix have drawn attention by betting big on star-studded series that encourage viewers to indulge in marathon-style viewing. At the same time, media companies with their heritage in print and TV have been turning out innovative and highly produced content that engages their audiences in new ways.
Though there’s no denying that it is still early days, there’s also sense of urgency in the industry borne of the fact that the ultimate winners in video will be those that get in the game early, experiment and start building a loyal fanbase. It’s for this reason that most online publishers who haven’t gotten into the game yet and are wondering if it’s time to jump onto the original series bandwagon. As someone who spends his days with the biggest names in the industry, I can tell you that this path isn’t for the faint of heart. Even though the potential payoffs are high, building a quality series and cutting through the noise is a major undertaking. Here are 5 questions every publisher should ask themselves before jumping into the fray.
Categories: Indie Video
I'm pleased to present the 171st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Leading us off today, Colin digs into Nielsen's new "zero-TV" homes data, part of its Q4 '12 Cross-Platform report. When Colin crunches the numbers, he concludes that the U.S. pay-TV industry may have lost 1.1 million subscribers last year, who moved into the zero-TV category. That would be above other estimates, which range from flat to down about 500K.
Of course one of the industry's key initiatives to add value has been TV Everywhere, and on that front, there were refreshingly candid admissions this week from both David Levy, head of Turner's sales, distribution and sports, who said he was "embarrassed" at TV Everywhere's progress, and Lauren Zalaznick, NBCU's chairman, entertainment and digital networks, who said it's too confusing. Both are right, and there are other reasons as elaborated in the recent Ultimate Guide to TV Everywhere (free download).
Contributing to the pressure on pay-TV providers is the ever-expanding range of quality content available online, and 2 more efforts surfaced this week, Conde Nast's new digital video network, and VEVO TV, a 24x7 music video network.
Separate, Colin has released his excellent new white paper, "Second-Screen Apps for TV" (free download here)
And a reminder to sign up for "Sizing Up Apple TV" a free video webinar on April 2nd featuring Brightcove's Jeremy Allaire and me.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 42 seconds)
Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 35th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for October 9, 2009.
This week Daisy and I first discuss Daisy's New Media Minute piece on how book publishers and authors are building iPhone apps, which include video, to enhance their books. The apps also present content in the interval between when a book is finished and when it finally hits the store shelves. Daisy highlights apps for marketing expert Bob Gilbreath's new book "The Next Evolution of Marketing" and novelist Nick Cave's new book "The Death of Bunny Munro." While the book publishing industry is not known for being on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, interest in iPhone appears to be building.
Speaking of publishing, I provide more detail on my post this week "Goumet Magazine's Closing Offers Lessons for Navigating the Broadband Era." I received a lot of emails in response to this post, as the 68 year-old Gourmet clearly had a passionate following and its shuttering by owner Conde Nast was further evidence of how the media industry is changing. I contend that media brands need to embrace a multi-platform approach to survive. It's not good enough to simply be a great magazine anymore. All media brands need to figure out how to play in both online and mobile video.
Click here to listen to the podcast (15 minutes, 2 seconds)
Click here for previous podcasts
The VideoNuze Report is available in iTunes...subscribe today!
Earlier this week when Conde Nast pulled the plug on Gourmet magazine and 3 other titles, there was much hand-wringing about the depressed state of the magazine industry. But while falling ad sales, costs of production, editorial issues and redundancy were all contributors to the 68 year-old Gourmet's ultimate fate, in my view, its failure is part of a much larger story of how much the media business has evolved. More specifically, Gourmet offers abundant lessons for those trying to successfully navigate the broadband era.
Gourmet, and its owner Conde Nast, are part of a proud media tradition that relied mainly on tying an editorial approach and brand to one specific media outlet - the magazine. In this traditional paradigm, the media world was thought of in terms of categories: broadcast TV network, newspaper, radio, cable, etc. While the same corporate owner might have interests across categories, the specific mission of each media property was well-defined: turn out the best product possible for your chosen medium and keep your audience and advertisers coming back for more. (As a sidenote, this is a key reason why most magazine companies did not launch cable TV networks related to their areas of specialty 25 years ago, thereby opening the field for upstarts.)
The problem is that this model is out of synch with the way many real people actually experience media today. People affiliate with media brands in a more deeply self-identifying way. It's no longer just the information and entertainment that's conveyed, but also about the statement affiliating with that media brand makes and/or the implied trust and comfort that's provided. For better or for worse - depending on your perspective - brand affiliation is now a deeply ingrained part of our cultural landscape.
Smart advertisers know this too. They are not just interested in just reaching their target audience when they pick up a magazine for example. They want to surround consumers with their brand whenever consumers engage with their chosen media. Advertisers continue to grapple with how to optimize their media spending to gain mindshare and drive sales.
Forward-thinking media companies have realized for sometime now that changing consumer and advertiser preferences must drive the way they do business, not the other way around. Two examples I like to cite are ESPN and Food Network, two highly successful cable networks that have built strong media brands and prospered by constantly reinforcing the value of their core franchises.
Among the many non-cable activities each has launched are successful magazines. That may seem ironic given the magazine industry's woes, but in truth each has figured out how to extend their brand, editorial, and importantly, advertiser interest into print. Food Network magazine's recent success is all the more remarkable; while Conde Nast has undergone a wrenching downsizing, Food Network Magazine, which launched in October '08 (in partnership with Hearst), has recently expanded its circulation base to 900,000, nearly on par with what Gourmet achieved after 68 years.
Noteworthy for ESPN and Food Network have been their successful online initiatives and push into broadband video, all reinforcing their core franchises. In addition to its ad and commerce supported web sites, ESPN has rolled out ESPN 360, a subscription online video service available in 41 million U.S. broadband homes for which ISPs pay a monthly fee. Food Network too has been busy expanding its franchise in online video, among other things recently launching Food2, a broadband-only channel catering to younger viewers that cultivates up-and-coming talent. And as I wrote on Monday, Scripps Networks (Food's owner) just announced a deal with 5Min (an online video syndication platform) to proliferate its content across the web while also gaining access to additional targeted ad inventory to sell.
What do you think? Post a comment now.
Following are 4 news items worth noting from the week of August 24th:
1. Time Warner Cable, Verizon launch TV Everywhere trials - Little surprise that Time Warner Cable announced its own TV Everywhere trial yesterday, given that former sister company Time Warner has been one of its biggest proponents. More interesting was Verizon launching a TV Everywhere initiative, which I regard as a pretty strong indicator that most or all service providers will eventually get on board. (The Hollywood Reporter has a story that DirecTV is in talks too for online distribution of TBS and TNT to start).
I have to give credit to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, TV Everwhere's key champion, who's clearly generated a groundswell of support. While some critics see TV Everywhere as being at odds with the "open Internet" ethos, I continue to think of it as a big win for consumers eager to get online access to their favorite cable programs. Assuming authentication is proven in during the trials I expect a speedy rollout.
2. Conde Nast distributes through boxee - I was intrigued by news that Conde Nast Digital will begin distributing video from its Wired.com and Style.com sites through boxee. boxee and others who connect broadband to TVs are valuable for magazines and other content providers who have long been shut out of the cable/satellite/telco distribution ecosystem, thereby unable to reach viewers' TVs. Years ago special interest magazines missed big opportunities to get into cable programming, allowing upstart cable networks to grow into far larger businesses (consider ESPN vs. Sports Illustrated, Food Network vs. Gourmet or CNBC vs. Forbes). Broadband gives magazines, belatedly, an opportunity to get back into the game.
3. Amazon announces 5 finalists in UGC ad contest - Have you seen the 5 finalists' ads in Amazon's "Your Amazon Ad" contest, announced this week? They're quite clever, with some amazing special effects. The contest is another great example of how brands are tapping users' talents, posing new competition to ad agencies. I haven't written about this in a while, but I continue to be impressed with how different brands are pursuing this path. Doritos has been the most visible and successful with its user-generated Super Bowl ads.
4. Microprojectors open up mobile video sharing opportunities - Maybe I've been living under a rock because I just read about "microprojectors" for the first time this week (I have a decent excuse since as I non-iPhone owner I wouldn't have a use for one, yet). As the name suggests, these are pocket-size projectors that allow you to output the video from your iPhone to project onto a large surface like a wall or ceiling. According to this NY Times review the quality is quite respectable, and is no doubt only going to improve. The mind boggles at what this could imply for sharing mobile video. Imagine bringing a kit - consisting of an iPhone, portable speakers and microprojector - to your friend's house, then plugging in and projecting either a live stream or an on-demand program for all to see.
Enjoy your weekend!
I've been optimistic about print publishers' (magazines and newspapers) opportunity to expand into broadband video for a while now. They bring recognized brands, editorial expertise and advertising relationship to their video initiatives. But of course they have plenty of learning to do about how to create compelling yet inexpensive video that serves their audience's needs.
Yesterday's Online Media Daily had a good piece on what Forbes, Conde Nast and the NY Times for example, are doing to bolster their video efforts. Their executives' sentiments echo what I heard from Eric Grilly, president of Philly.com, the web site associated with the Philadelphia Inquirer, in a recent conversation with him.
Philly.com has been building out a number of programs this year on topics including wine ("Philly Uncorked"), local restaurants ("The Philly Dish") and local gossip ("The Gossip with Marnie Hall"). Philly.com seems to have hit on an initial formula for identifying a sponsor first, recruiting outside talent and regularly releasing episodes. Eric noted he's not trying to compete with local broadcasters, but rather trying to do something new and different. The programs look like they're inexpensive to make, but have high advertiser appeal. Despite print publishers' larger challenges, I expect to see them continue pushing hard into video in '09.
What do you think? Post a comment now.
I've been writing for a while now that broadband gives non-video media companies a whole new strategic growth opportunity. This is especially true for magazines with well-defined brands, strong advertising relationships and sought-after audiences. Few magazines fit that description as well as Vogue, Conde Nast's high-end fashion bible. So I was pleased to read about a month ago that Vogue intended to launch Model.Live, a 12 episode original broadband-only series, in a partnership with IMG.
Model.Live went live recently, and I've caught the first couple of 8 minute episodes. Shot in a reality/documentary style, Model.Live follows the lives of 3 young and aspiring models. With a budget of $3 million, these productions do not feel like run-of-the-mill low-end indie video. There are multiple camera angles, great lighting, and extensive on-location shoots. Absent are the high-end graphics and faux cliff-hanger moments typically seen on TV contest shows.
While many will find the subject matter and dialogue insipid (19 year-old Dutch model Cato's mildly defiant "I can party when I'm 30..." justification for deferring college is a classic eye-roller); my guess is that for Vogue readers and for those interested in the fashion world, these authentic behind-the-scenes peeks will be quite intriguing. For example, in episode 2 we hear Cato's mother expressing her authentic unease with the modeling world's fame and glamour (of course, her star-struck sister more than offsets these reservations).
The video player allows sharing through email, and easy downloading to iPods. Curiously though, there's no commenting or rating available, two tools now widely used to generate audience interactivity. Also missing is any email or RSS alert function so it's not clear how a fan would know when the next episode will be released. There's not even a teaser for what's coming next, a standard promotional tool for serialized TV shows.
Still, Vogue has definitely nailed certain things. It is smartly distributing Model.Live on the social network Bebo, which is sure to gain the show widespread visibility among targeted younger audiences (it is supposed to be available on Hulu and Veoh as well, though searches at both sites yielded no results). And, for a deal in the reported "low seven figures," it signed up Express to be the program's sponsor. Express gets huge visibility in the right panel of the video player, with clothing purchases a few clicks away. Vogue's ability to drive awareness and revenue for Express will certainly influence whether Model.Live continues on after its first season.
Model.Live actually follows several other programs Vogue has released ("Behind the Lens," "The Collections," Trend Watch") yet, it is clearly the most ambitious. These kinds of shows are a natural extension for the brand, and I believe are essential as Vogue seeks to engage an increasingly online audience seeking out video. Other magazines should be taking note.
What do you think? Post a comment.
I've been a long-time advocate that broadband video offers print publishers such as newspapers and magazines a whole new strategic growth opportunity. In a recent briefing with Richard Glosser, CondeNet's Executive Director of Emerging Media, he went a step further, telling me that for Conde "all roads lead to broadband video." For those not familiar with CondeNet, it is the digital business unit of Conde Nast, the upscale magazine publisher (Vogue, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, GQ, Details, Wired, etc.).
CondeNet has been pursuing video on its 5 web sites (Style.com, Men.Style.com, Epicurious.com, Concierge.com and Wired.com, which are associated with its magazine brands and collectively generate around 12 million unique visitors/mo) since late '06. Coincidentally, Conde's approach to video is very aligned with how I described magazines' video opportunities in a report I released in Q2 '07, "The Top 40 U.S. Magazines and Broadband Video: Learning to Thrive in a Multi-Platform World."
Conde recognizes that many of the same skills and assets vital to a magazine franchise are transferrable to video, and, when augmented with new video-specific capabilities and people, the combination significantly expands the brand's potential, especially with advertisers, in the digital era. Conde is now producing or licensing approximately 600 videos per year, with most in the 2-3 minute range. While insisting that the its video be high quality, it is very budget-focused, with target production of $1,000/minute.
Since CondeNet is a separate unit, some of its videos stand alone on the site, unaffiliated with print stories. But often the video is related to what's in print, and that brings up one of the main challenges for magazines to successfully pursue video: evolving the editorial process to incorporate a video angle. Conde has hired video producers who now work closely with magazine editors to identify appropriate opportunities. The question guiding these decisions: "What do our audiences expect from us?"
Meanwhile, Conde's early video syndication efforts also show why video is so strategic. Though only distributing to 5 partners as yet (YouTube, iTunes, Sony Bravia, Verizon VCast and Adobe Media Player) - Richard shared that two-thirds of its overall video views now come from these 5 partners, with the other third generated from Conde's own sites, underscoring the opportunities I've previously written about concerning the "syndicated video economy."
Better yet, Richard cited a number of examples where a certain clip breaks out on a partner site, demonstrating that Conde's partners help it reach new audiences it doesn't typically attract on its own. One example was videos it placed on YouTube about Culinary Institute of America students Epicurious was tracking for a series. Video of one student in particular underperformed on Epi, but was off the charts on YouTube. Conde's thinking is that YouTube's younger audiences related better to this student's particular trials and tribulations and embraced her in a way that Conde's traditional audiences had not.
This is just one of Conde's many insights gained from its early video experience. Conde is showing that magazines should look at video as a logical and inevitable extension of their franchises. It is increasingly expected by their audiences and advertisers.
What do you think about magazines' video opportunities? Post a comment now!
Tracking the innovative use of broadband video by brand marketers is an ongoing focus for me and I'm always on the lookout for great examples. The latest I found is a campaign from CIT, a global commercial finance company, that has just introduced the third installment of "Behind the Business", a broadband-based interview series with notable business leaders. If you haven't seen it, it's well worth checking out. This particular installment is a series of interviews with the co-founders of Intrepid Pictures, Marc Evans and Trevor Macy.
The press release states that CIT is "reaching out to its client base through various initiatives that will highlight key business issues facing middle market executives today." Having watched a number of the videos available at the site, it is evident that CIT is taking a soft-sell approach, with the interviews focusing on Intrepid and the founders, with no overt CIT plugs. The video player window is embedded in a page that has strong CIT branding and links to learn more, but that's about it. The idea is to inform and educate the target audience, with CIT branding wrapped around the experience.
Another aspect of the campaign is its multi-platform nature. CIT hooked up with Conde Nast Media Group, which is promoting the video heavily in its publications. This follows a separate video initiative that Grey Goose Entertainment and Sundance Channel are pursuing with their "Iconoclast" series, in which Conde Nast is also a partner. Conde's involvement shows that when big brands are going to invest real money in broadband-centric campaign, promoting in relevant print publications is an important key to driving awareness.
CIT is following a list of other brand marketers who want to expand beyond traditional 15 and 30 second TV spots to use video to drive deeper engagement with their target audiences. This artful blending of entertainment, information and advertising is at the heart of how I believe broadband will be used by smart brand marketers. With broadband's unlimited shelf space, marketers have a new and unprecedented palette to promote their brands. Behind the Business shows that savvy brands are beginning to take advantage of it and that there are a plethora of opportunities unfolding for skilled producers.
Categories: Brand Marketing