Video is becoming more vital to online publishers to engage users on their site, earn higher CPMs and even tap into growing mobile business ($1.34 billion by 2014, http://goo.gl/FLCl).
There are more than 20 million Web sites on the Internet, and there are many ways to enrich your site with videos and participate in this video economics. What is the right way? Robust CMS? YouTube as platform? Content licensing? Create your own content? What do other sites do, how much does it cost and what's the right way to build your video strategy from scratch while being frugal?
This post will discuss some highlights/tips as well as my own personal style: make things work, and then make them better. Below are five suggestions:
(1) "Video-ize" your articles. This is a baby step in which you manually embed videos into your posts. Some sites that offer great embeddable content are CNN, MyFox, and of course YouTube.
Investment measurement: a bit of time to select embedded videos.
Live example: Huffington Post enriches an article with a CNN embedded video http://goo.gl/KDyY
(2) Build a video section. A video site is usually a site that has at least 100 (better hundreds) videos available to watch on the site. Regardless of your site's vertical domain (i.e. news, how-to, entertainment, animation, sports) - you can find more than 100 embeddable videos on the Web that meet your site's domain. Do it. Once you've collected 100 videos (still manually, by browsing the web), build a "video tab" or section on your site, and create a page for each embedded videos.
Investment measurement: two to three days if you put your time into it. You should be able to do it fairly easy and the result is great. By now, you've spent $0.
Live example: Breitbart.com has a video section (http://breitbart.tv/) in which every page has an embedded video on it, and it looks like every video site -- right?
(3) Promote, promote, promote. By now, for most users your site offers sufficient video experience. As a next step, you want to help your users to discover those videos. One way of doing this is to place video links on your homepage, at the end of every article, and on the video pages. You can do it manually, or by using automatic discovery services.
Investment measurement: won't cost money but will take some real estate such as on your homepage, story pages, etc.
Live example: Bloomberg story pages, homepage, and market pages where you can see related video links.
(4) Content is king. At this point, your users are aware of your video section, your promoted links, and even your editorial choices in terms of what type of content they should expect. If things go well, you could have reached some decent monthly streams. If you did get to a point that you have half a million streams to a few millions streams per month, you want to consider acquiring content in new ways. Either record it yourself if it meets your site's theme, or license it. You can still use platforms like YoutTube, Blip.tv, Vimeo and others to upload your videos there, and embed those videos on your video section. You may even get some bucks from YouTube for doing that. The main benefit is that you're now growing up the food chain, creating your own identity and content, and building the foundation to start selling high video CPMs in the future.
Investment measurement: This will cost you time, and the money it cost to record/license videos. It will not cost you for streaming, as you're still using platforms like YouTube, Blip.tv, etc.
Live examples: Beet.tv, askthebuilder.com, and scobleizer.com are shooting their own interviews and videos, uploading them to platforms like YouTube, and Blip.tv to then embed it on their sites.
(5) Size matters. At this point, consider a more robust system that will allow you to sell higher video CPM advertising as well as enjoy the video technology echo system. There are many great solutions out there, and each is differentiated by its unique offering: scale, pricing, etc (i.e Brightcove, Ooyala, thePlatform, Kaltura, Kyte, etc).
Investment measurement: CMS platform. The benefits will be (1) higher CPMs selling directly or using networks like Tremor Media, Brightroll, Scanscout, Innovid ; (2) you'll tap into huge video technology repertoire such as reporting, discovery, subtitles, syndication, etc.
Live example: Techcrunch.tv is Techcrunch's video section where they use Ooyala. To see an example of technology sites these platforms can offer, check out what Brightcove offers here.
I hope I was able to provide a glimpse with some live examples of who does what, as well as when is the right time to tap into each step. Video is exciting, and by curbing your enthusiasm and doing it right, you can build a video strategy for your site, start out paying nothing, and build the audience and scale into a proper video- centric business. Good luck.