So why am I telling you all of this? Because the next big thing in syndication is online.
As video consumption on the Web continues to grow and as Web sites move from text/photos to video and rich media, we are going to see a steady growth in the online video syndication market. If you take a long term macro view, one could argue that video will evolve as the Internet's primary communication, information, and entertainment delivery medium.
Online video syndication can be broken down in two basic categories: paid vs. non-paid. It's really that simple. For example, if you want to do non-paid syndication you would upload your video to all the video sharing sites, do grass roots marketing, virally distribute on social networks, etc. In online video syndication, this was the first wave. The next wave is paid video syndication, which describes the growing practice of paying to distribute video content on a CPM basis to Web sites. Content is syndicated to targeted Web sites whereby the publisher is compensated on a CPM per video view by the advertiser or content owner.
Paid video syndication can be broken down into two buckets: "Network" vs. "Custom". Network video syndication is the practice of utilizing video ad networks to do broad buys across video players that already exist on publisher Web sites. Generally speaking these are pure ad buys, meaning preroll or overlays. Custom video syndication is quite different and the focus is on content and "hand-placement" of videos in the right areas on publisher Web sites. This content focus is what typically separates these two types of syndication and in many cases the syndication company has to work with the publisher's editorial department to educate them on the value of adding monetized third party video content. Thus, custom video syndication is an iterative, high touch, hands-on process designed to ensure optimum value for all parties.
There are generally two types of video content being syndicated online today via the paid model: original Web video and repurposed TV/Cable material. In the original Web video model, advertisers pay to have unique video content created (e.g. a weekly Web video series) and then as part of that budget have it syndicated and placed on the right sites, in the right areas, to reach the right audience at the right time. Alternatively, original content owners also create content on "spec" and then find sponsors for their material. The paid video syndication model works nicely for all parties involved here: content owners get immediate reach, advertisers engage a targeted audience, publishers get unique video content and a new ad revenue stream, and viewers are entertained and informed (hopefully!).
Online video syndication may ultimately surpass the size of the TV syndication market as all media eventually becomes distributed or consumed over the Internet. Imagine a world where TV Networks launch their new shows online and pay to reach their desired audience. Imagine a world where original online video shows become more and more popular with viewership surpassing that of TV. King World built the original TV syndication powerhouse by securing distribution rights to shows like "Wheel of Fortune," "Jeopardy," and "Oprah." These same opportunities are emerging today in online video and there are decades of growth ahead of us, much like television in the early days.
The bottom line: Video content owners and advertisers need to reach a large targeted audience quickly. Video syndication is where it's at and we're just getting warmed up.