2010 in Online Video: Are You Ready For Some Surprises?

Dear Video Insider readers, I have a confession to make: I'm a closet finance geek.  I have had an on-again, off-again fascination with the stock market since I saw the movie "Wall Street."  That extends to spending a decent amount of time reading the business pages and related Web sites each week.  At this time every year, much space is dedicated to end-of-year prediction lists.  And like the predictions you see being made in various online marketing publications and blogs, they can be very repetitive (if I read 2010 is finally the year of mobile, or that spending on social networks will increase next year significantly again, I might scream).

One of my favorite financial writers is a hedge fund manager named Doug Kass, who writes for  Each year, he publishes a list of potential surprises to watch out for in the next year.  Generally speaking, they are events that have a reasonable chance of occurring, and if they did, would be total surprises to the majority of investors, because they go completely against common thinking.  It's a fascinating exercise, if only to test your assumptions and see how prepared you are for the proverbial Black Swan.

Therefore, in the spirit of closing out 2009, here is my list of potential surprises in online video for 2010.  You may find yourself in complete disagreement with some or all of them.  And that's the point.  If the entire industry is leaning in one direction, what will happen when and if the opposite occurs?

1.     There will be an uptick in brand advertisers entering the online video space, quickly.  It will occur early in the year, and will cause a large inventory shortage.  Publishers will be left with a supply issue, just as they have been in late 2009.

2.     Pre-roll will continue to dominate.  No innovation from Hulu, YouTube or Vivaki will prove as effective as a 0:15 or 0:30 coupled with a companion ad.  YouTube gains massive market share with its abundance of pre-roll.

3.     The rollout of VAST will be championed by the IAB and member companies in early 2010, but fizzle out completely due to lack of publisher adoption.  Little to no progress will be made.  We will still be complaining about lack of standardization at the end of 2010.

4.     Hulu will attempt to charge ever-higher CPMs, but also begin to see more competition from NBC and Fox as premium video outlets.  It will begin to lose share gradually, and then quickly, by mid-2010.

5.     A company with game-changing video technology will emerge.  Someone other than Google will buy them, setting off a wave of consolidation in the video player and technology space.

6.     Many of today's display ad networks, being squeezed out of the space by Right Media's discontinuation of DMX and DSP strategies, will reinvent themselves as video ad networks.

7.     National TV broadcast buyers will recognize the opportunity in online video in late 2009 and will begin taking the lead in digital video buying and planning.  The entity that will take the lead will not be Hulu, but CW, with its ideal audience and video-rich site.

We'll check in late in 2010 to see how much of these, if any, ring true.  If even one does, 2010 will prove to be quite a year for online video.  Have a great holiday season, and I'll be back in January!

5 comments about "2010 in Online Video: Are You Ready For Some Surprises? ".
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  1. Ari Paparo from DoubleClick/Google, December 24, 2009 at 11:47 a.m.

    Not surprisingly, I disagree strongly with the comment about VAST adoption.

    I've personally spoken to most of the top 10 video publishers and they are all in the process of building out VAST support.

    Many video ad networks already support the standard.

    DFA, Atlas, EyeWonder, and Eyeblaster all fully support the standard, giving agencies the ability to run VAST ads right now.

    And agencies -- those who control the budgets -- are demanding VAST support in their 2010 RFPs.

    So I'm pretty confident that 2010 will see broad VAST adoption and the subsequent operational benefits will help video advertising take off in a way that a fantasy "game changing technology" will not.

  2. James Wood from HD Productions, December 26, 2009 at 1:51 p.m.

    I agree many companies that couldn't afford traditional tv, satellite or cable advertising, are jumping on the Youtube/online video band wagon as it allows them to engage with their clients and audience. Can now market their service, brand or product in an audio-visual attention grabbing manner.

    With lower costs to entry and possibility of branded content or product placements opportunities are huge.

  3. Steve Noble from, December 28, 2009 at 5:56 p.m.

    Good article Eric. I will wait on your predictions. I produce and sell online video ads to small businesses and have my own thoughts on ad networks but agree with you for the most part. I see SMBs doing a lot on their own and getting pretty hip to whats been brewing with Social Media and it's potential to push more video too. I can't wait. Video is everywhere!

  4. Joshua Aikens from Rocketmade, January 5, 2010 at 3:16 p.m.


    Interesting list.

    What do you think will be the result of "TV Everywhere?

  5. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., January 6, 2010 at 11:41 a.m.

    To Rocketman Joshua: What will the result of TV Everywhere be? Well, it's already generated several lawsuits - so you KNOW it's gonna be exciting.

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