Recently I was on vacation traveling around the Mediterranean by boat. What made the nautical journey special, in addition to being with close friends on turquoise waters with a literal boatload of hummus, was that we all left our cell phones, BlackBerries and laptops at home -- with the rule that we were "getting away from it all."
This past week, Video Insider contributor Steve Robinson wrote an excellent blog titled "It's All About SCALE!" In it, he outlines one of the key challenges standing before us in the online video ad business: the lack of player standardization. I agree completely that lack of standardization is a major hurdle that must be overcome for online video to flourish. However, I believe that the bigger issue facing online video right now is not lack of standards, but lack of quality content.
Traditional television is moving to the Internet. Networks publish their videos, consumers watch. MTV announced 1.8 million streams of the first season episode of "The Hills" just 24 hours after it launched on the Internet. While there are plenty of rich-media ads created and lots of ad networks to provide them, the media buys haven't occurred. Why? The problem isn't targeting, ad formats, supply or demand. The problem is the inability to scale in-video media buys.
In case you haven't yet downloaded the Piclens Video Browser to your desktop, let me be the first to introduce you to a new type of video viewing interface that neither looks, feels, or smells anything like television.
Over the last few weeks, Mark Cuban has blogged about Google, YouTube, and Hulu. These blogs have included the following, and I paraphrase the concepts: 1. That if you upload your content to YouTube, be forever prepared for Google to own your content, and every right associated with that content. 2. That YouTube, with its amalgam and mishmash of content, has no business model that is sustainable. 3. That "Hulu is kicking YouTube's Ass."
This electronically altered world has become so real that scientists are asserting the behavior of the young generation is so completely shaped by digital technology that it might impact human evolution, transforming the physical brain and the way we think....
In a not-so-stunning turn of events in May, confirmation surfaced that Xbox will be making a Blu Ray drive add-on available. It would be nice if Microsoft offered the gamers who bought the HD DVD drives the opportunity to swap their obsolete peripherals for Blu Ray. But I'm sure gamers will have to cough up another $199 for the new device because it competes with HD content offered for download through Xbox Live Marketplace. With over 10 million Xbox Live subscribers, it's hard to imagine a reason why Xbox users would buy the Blu Ray peripheral drive.
DRTV is art, science and business rolled into one. To be able to come up with 30 minutes of advertising that keeps viewers captivated enough to sit through it in its entirety, and then have a significant percent take action at the end, is pretty impressive in my book. Lately I have been thinking about these advertisers in the context of online video. Why have they not come up with a way to leverage the format the way they do on television?
I recently sat on a panel where a big topic of discussion was: Can we reach television-sized audiences using online video? The answer is, unequivocally, yes. However, it became clear that most digital media buyers do not think about the world in terms of television size audiences -- and most television media buyers only speak the language of television. If the online ad industry wants to facilitate the process of moving television budgets online, then it is time to package inventory in ways that television buyers understand.