Digital video, the next big frontier

New Delhi: The big message from the just concluded third annual Digital Content NewFronts in New York is actually a warning for the unprepared and the uninitiated: digital video is going to be the next big frontier.

Following an upfront model, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) based in New York, lined up heavy hitters—with a few up-and-coming players—to answer the existential question of how to increase the flow of advertising investment.

First, the numbers. According to projections put out by GroupM, investment in digital media this year will account for little over a fifth of measured spending globally. And no surprise, digital video, in particular, remains the fastest growing format of the display market, exhibiting a 19% increase and trebling to $2.8 billion in 2013 from $908 million in 2009, report IAB and PricewaterhouseCooper’s Digital Advertising Revenue Report 2013.

The increase in the share of digital has come at the expense of print media, while television’s share of overall global ad spending has remained steady at around 45%. It can be argued that while the marketer’s spending on digital video is growing in double digits, compared with single digit gains for television, the ad pie is still dominated by television.

It is no rocket science that to exploit the potential of digital video, a sustainable business model that successfully monetizes content is a prerequisite. The digital aspirations of the six founding partners of the event, NewFronts 2014—AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo and 14 other prominent companies that produce and distribute original digital video programming—was neatly laid out at the New York summit. Obviously marketers and media buyers seized on this rather unique opportunity to seek valuable partnerships with digital content creators—which can be broadly divided into four genres.

Buzzfeed, a digital native, believes in the power of social video. With close to a half of all videos being viewed on mobile devices and social networks assuming the role of distribution channels, the reach and impact of social video is dramatic. For BuzzFeed, building shareable video formats optimized for mobile is key to succeeding in the crowded marketplace of online content creators.

The New York Times took much pride in proclaiming that it is not a newspaper, instead, a hub of 430 videos a month. Yahoo, in the same spirit of projecting itself as a market differentiator, described itself as a collection of high-end content creators. If online video is setting a precedent for the Internet era, interactive television, the second genre, cannot be far behind. Predictably, Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios unveiled a new television experience to bring bold original shows to life through the Xbox. Its focus is on providing TV programming including scripted and unscripted series, animation, reality, documentaries and live events—across an array of screens.

With an established ecosystem for premium curated content, Glam Media, the seventh largest media property in the United States with over 15,000 content businesses, introduced Project M, which exemplifies the third genre. The idea is to align the content marketing efforts of the company with video. Similarly, Conde Nast Entertainment (CNE) is promoting the concept of creating digital first content for a new generation of its affluent digital audiences. In the last one year, CNE launched 11 digital video channels for some of the most powerful media brands – Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, The New Yorker and Wired. Having generated more than 560 million video views last year, their presentation showcased new digital channels, new series and new video platforms.

This brings us to the fourth genre. Positioning ads as content, Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO, had excited advertisers. Google Preferred gives advertisers the opportunity to partner with the top talent on YouTube and with verified measurement by Comscore and Nielsen, she said. DigitasLBi would be the first agency partner for Google Preferred.

In support of Wojcicki’s view, PepsiCo Inc.’s chief marketing officer Frank Cooper said that while in the past it raved about past partnerships with music superstars, the trend is now shifting to working with YouTube stars like Devon Supertramp because of the sharing potential. “Sharing is brand nirvana,” said Cooper, praising the real-time analytics YouTube offers.

Digital immigrants Time Inc. and The Wall Street Journal are not too far behind with their digital video ambitions. Time Inc., in its presentation, expanded on its storytelling expertise across all platforms and its digital video initiatives providing ad partners with premium quality programming, access to talent and new ways to reach influential audiences at scale. The Wall Street Journal on the other hand, demonstrated its keen interest in building new custom solutions and redefining the way consumers interact with the content.

In conclusion, the conference laid out the milestones that media companies need to traverse if they are to serve the emerging digital video consumer on multiple screens. It is not a choice though for anyone who wants to be part of the rapidly transforming digital era. Those who hesitate will only have themselves to blame.
Read more at:

This entry was posted in Publishing (Print & Online). Bookmark the permalink.