Metacafe Loses Marketing VP Campa
The move comes as Metacafe seeks to boost ad sales efforts and focus on building a new wiki-like platform that allows users to edit metadata around videos to improve video search and monetization.
Campa, who joined Metacafe in 2006, will continue to work with the company on a consulting basis. But as Metacafe increasingly focuses on monetization rather than marketing, her responsibilities will be spread among marketing, product, and content operations departments.
Campa's imminent departure follows that of Ido Safruti, another member of Metacafe's executive team and general manager of its Tel Aviv office, earlier this month. Safruti's exit was part of a reorganization within the office that also included cutting less than 10% of the 70 employees there, according to Michelle Cox, a spokesperson for Metacafe.
Yaron Finkel, vice president of research and development, has assumed Safruti's responsibilities.
Founded in the Israeli capital five years ago, Metacafe has since moved its headquarters to Palo Alto, Calif. and opened a New York branch. The company has about 20 U.S. employees.
"We're building out our media business and growing ad sales revenue by becoming the premiere destination for creators of short-form content," Cox said. To that end, the company plans to double sales staff to about 12 in Palo Alto and New York.
All video sites, including category leader YouTube, are struggling with how to monetize inventory while satisfying advertisers and users. "Advertisers don't necessarily feel comfortable advertising around user-generated content, and by the time they do, it may be too late," said Bobby Tulsiani, a JupiterResearch analyst who covers online video.
Metacafe has the added challenge of competing directly in short-form video with YouTube, the tenth-most-visited property on the Web. YouTube had a U.S. audience of 66.2 million compared to 5.9 million for Metacafe in May, according to comScore. But Metacafe's worldwide audience is closer to 30 million.
In a report on YouTube competitors released Tuesday, Tulsiani categorized Metacafe among "Fast followers"--well-funded video sites competing for second place to YouTube by replicating key functions such as fast uploading, video tagging, and ratings.
"But those are just the table stakes," Tulsiani said. "If you get those right, then you can start differentiating."
In that vein, Metacafe is developing a collaborative platform to make it easier for users to describe and discuss videos online. That effort in turn will create more metadata, or descriptive terms, around videos to improve search and better target video advertising.
"Video search has not been solved," said Tulsiani. "The more you can refine and make search results more relevant, absolutely that helps you."
Earlier this month, Metacafe also launched a larger media player (614 x 554 pixels) and added several new content channels including a promotional site for "The Incredible Hulk" that lets users create mash-ups with clips from the recently released movie.
Other new content partners on Metacafe include Wannahaves, aniBoom, Comedy.com and Howcast Media. The channels reflect efforts to carve out advertiser-friendly areas offering mostly professional, niche content geared to young viewers.
However, Metacafe has no plans to shift away from short-form video, and maintains its Producer Rewards program, which compensates independent contributors based on the popularity of their videos. To date, the initiative has paid out $1.2 million to video makers.
Like YouTube, Metacafe is betting on overlay ad units as the least intrusive and most lucrative type of advertising for video clips. So far, however, overlays have not commanded the higher CPMs of pre-roll video ads. "It's likely to take time for it to be as valuable a unit as pre-roll," Tulsiani said.
Jupiter forecasts the online video market to hit $2.3 billion in 2012, which will not support more than a handful of players besides YouTube. With a total of $45 million in venture backing to date from investors including Accel Partners and Benchmark Capital, Metacafe believes it has funding at least through 2010.