Thursday, January 22, 2009, 9:45 AM ET|
Pixsy, a white label video search provider made an interesting announcement yesterday about the launch of its new "Premium Feed" service, which I think is another example of the Syndicated Video Economy that I've been talking about for a while now. I talked to Pixsy CEO Chase Norlin about Premium Feed to learn more.
For those of you not familiar with Pixsy, it has been quietly building one of the largest video indexes since its founding in 2005. To date it has mainly focused on licensing the index to partner sites which wanted to offer easy video discovery to their users. As more content providers have offered embedding, Pixsy also enabled found videos to be played right on its partners' sites. Even though activity has grown well, Chase is pretty candid about monetization to date being difficult.
Premium Feed takes embedding to the next level by creating a subset of Pixsy's video index that is both higher-than-average quality and has accompanying pre-roll and overlay ads. Then Pixsy is developing an economic relationship between the content provider and its publisher network by signing redistribution and revenue-sharing deals with both. Chase says that to date the publisher network has 45 million unique visitors/mo and that 1-2 million videos are in the Premium Feed.
One of those publishers is EgoTV, and I chatted with founder/president Jimmy Hutcheson to find out how they're implementing Premium Feed. If you look in the lower right corner of their home page you'll see 3 new "channels," Ego Cars, Ego Comedy and Ego Travel. Each of these are constructed solely of Pixsy Premium Feed videos that are curated by an EgoTV editor. In another example at Ego People, the 300x250 ad in the right column is now populated with the Premium Feed. This is a simple "highest-and-best-use" real estate decision: Jimmy explained that Premium Feed is yielding 2-4x as much net revenue for EgoTV as it would receive if it sold rich media ads in this position.
The concept of bundling content with ads (or vice versa?) and distributing them to sites seeking video and extra monetization is of course at the heart of the syndicated video economy. Much of what Pixsy is doing with Premium Feed is conceptually familiar to Google Content Network, Adconion TV, Voxant (now Grab Networks), Syndicaster, Jambo, Magnify.net, 1Cast and others.
Yet each of these initiatives has its own somewhat differentiated value proposition and underlying technology approach. As syndication grows in importance, sites with strong traffic and an interest in incorporating video will have many choices. As to how they'll decide, Chase makes a good point: simplicity and one-stop shopping are always valued by resource-constrained sites. Providers that can address as many of these sites' potential needs will be in a strong position.
What do you think? Post a comment now.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 8:37 AM ET|
Having staked out the idea of the "Syndicated Video Economy" as a key driver of the broadband video landscape about 6 months ago, I'm continually looking for insights from those companies operating on its front lines. How is it evolving? What are the key challenges and opportunities? How are they being addressed?
I got more feedback yesterday, moderating a session at the Contentonomics conference in LA. On it were:
- Gary Baker, Founder and CEO, ClipBlast
- Jimmy Hutcheson, President, EgoTV
- Damon Berger, Senior Director of Programming & Business Development, Revision3
- Danny Wright, Senior Director, Business Development, Photobucket
Here are a few takeaways I scribbled down during the session:
Revenue issues persist - Jimmy was quick to note that while he's an optimist about syndication, EgoTV's current deals have yet to produce a lot of revenue. I pressed him on the reasons: lack of distributor promotion/traffic, their inability to monetize traffic, both or neither? Jimmy's response was that with so much video flowing through key distributors, gaining solid promotion is a real challenge. A bigger issue is distributors' ability to monetize the traffic they're generating. I've heard this from others as well. This could suggest a continued shift to content providers owning/selling their ad inventory, with distributors focusing mainly on promotion/traffic, and receiving a revenue share for their efforts.
Friction in executing syndication - Though Damon highlighted that Revision3 has 40 distribution partners, that's definitely the exception, not the norm these days; a recurrent SVE theme the panel discussed is the overhead involved in identifying partners, negotiating deals, implementing them, collecting performance stats and doing follow-up analysis. There are no easy answers here. As I've written in the past, some of this just gets resolved as the ecosystem of companies matures.
Brand building takes on greater importance in syndication - There was some consensus on the panel that with content be viewing through multiple outlets, a clear challenge is building a consistent and differentiated brand. The importance of a content provider's own web site magnifies in the SVE. Even though a lot of viewership may occur elsewhere, it's still the best opportunity to control and define the brand for viewers. Further, even if substantial revenues don't materialize from syndication, these deals are still viewed as solid brand-building.
Push to programming quality - As broadband video proliferates, getting noticed is harder than ever. As a result there's a real push to quality video that's underway. In part this involves pulling more high-quality talent into broadband originals. The quality bar is getting ever higher for broadband video especially as better-know talent adopts the medium. Distributors will be in a stronger position to choose which video to include and promote.
That's it for now. I'll keep providing regular updates on the SVE as I gather more information from those fully immersed in it.
What do you think? Post a comment.
(Note: tomorrow's a rare day off for VideoNuze as I observe Yom Kippur)
Categories: Syndicated Video Economy
Thursday, July 10, 2008, 9:47 AM ET|
"Widgets" are an area that VideoNuze hasn't really touched on to date, yet they are quickly proving to be a potent way of distributing content in general and video in particular. I was pleased to get an email recently from Jimmy Hutcheson, president and founder of EgoTV, a broadband content startup, who wanted to share some details on their success distributing their "Malibu U" program through Clearspring's widget platform. In a subsequent call with Jimmy and Bill Rubacky, who leads Clearspring's marketing, I got a better handle on how the model works.
For those of you not familiar with widgets, they are small chunks of HTML code that essentially create a container into which content can be continuously pushed. Widgets have gained widespread popularity with the rise of web 2.0 social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, as users can select different widgets for embedding in their personal pages. This allows both the user and visitors to easily view content there. A user can also embed widgets in personal content sites using PageFlakes, iGoogle or others, or can use widgets right on their desktop.
Content providers view widgets as a low-cost opportunity to dynamically distribute content to opted-in audiences. Similarly, advertisers look at widget advertising as an opportunity to reach targeted, engaged audiences.
As an example, EgoTV is now distributing "Malibu U," through Clearspring's widget and its site. Getting the widget is simple, you just click on it, find the social media platform to which you want to embed the widget and go. Jimmy explained that about 50,000-75,000 unique visitors/day can now see his widget. He's able to track video traffic across all places the widget is embedded and when he pushes a new episode, users are automatically notified. I put the widget on my rudimentary Facebook page and this is how it looks:
From an advertising standpoint, you'll notice in the upper right corner a little peel-back flap, which is one of the ways that Clearspring implements advertising. (In fact, VideoEgg's new AdFrames approach unveiled yesterday uses a similar peel-back, which in turn links to Clearspring's widget sharing capability.) Widget ads can work in all kinds of ways, including banners, pre/mid/post-rolls and overlays.
Clearspring's play is to create a "Widget Ad Network" by aggregating the content flowing through its widgets. With 4 billion pieces of content served through its widgets each month and working with many of the top 100 publishers, Bill explained that it is able to offer targeted inventory to media buyers who want to tap into the web 2.0 world.
In short, widget platforms from companies like Clearspring provide both large content providers and smaller ones like EgoTV yet another way of reaching and engaging their fragmented audiences on their terms. I fully expect more content companies, especially early stage ones looking to gain an audience toehold, to take advantage of this low-cost distribution option. Widgets will take their place as yet another distribution choice in the rapidly-evolving "syndicated video economy."
Posts for 'EgoTV'