What Has Video Done For Us Lately?

Andy Plesser was kind enough to invite me to speak last week at Beet.TV conference on a panel with Kevin Krim, Global Head at Bloomberg (disclosure: one of our customers) and Bismarck Lepe, Ooyala founder and president of products. We were fortunate to open the event on a day when the panels following discussed topics such as video strategies, things publishers do, what works, what's not and -- is Hulu a mega-web failure or not? (A question more or less answered below.)  

I thought I'd share some of the notes that were discussed by some key media leaders:

1.     "Content is king."Dermot McCormack from MTV was great, passionately articulating the importance of good content: "We keep reminding ourselves at MTV that, yes, we can try to deal with technologies, and discuss various solutions as much as we want to -- but at the end of the day, it's all about whether you produced a 'Jersey Shore' with Snooki or not. MTV did. Period, the end  -- and content is indeed the king.



2.     Personalized videos can triple your video views and revenue. Kevin Krim and I were discussing the impact of replacing contextual related videos that reside on story pages, topic pages, video pages and the homepage -- with personalized related videos. The uplift it can create in viewership and revenue is ~3x.

3.    We need  single advertisers to invest $100M in online video. Bill Lederer, CEO at Kantar of WPP, said the industry needs serious advertisers. In a later conversation with me,  Bill  said that the need is not for a "package" where it's a TV + online deal, but rather a direct deal to the Web. Bill also estimated that the largest video advertiser spends $30 million annually.

4.     Don't ignore your mobile viewers. Bismarck Lepe  said that as publishers launch Ooyala they see new audiences coming from mobile/portable devices -- from 5% of the total to start, growing to 20%.

5.     Blend expensive production with cheap ones -- otherwise you will not cover the cost. Ran Harnevo from 5min was provoking the panel, asking if Hulu is really a good business or not. He compared the amount of money poured into producing the content Hulu offers versus their revenue. This equation is obviously skewed towards the cost.

6.     Monetizing distributed traffic is not an easy task, but we're getting there. Andy Plesser was discussing with Ed Halsam, head of marketing at YuMe, the challenges advertisers face when buying video traffic that is not on the "MSNBC of the worlds" but rather on blogs, etc. Ed made a comment that if the distributed traffic is unsafe it's hard to monetize it, but there are some good technologies that are advancing a "brand safety" environment so advertisers can capitalize on that traffic.

7.     Good content sells. Mark Marvel from mentioned that his company is seeing 200 million monthly video views and they are fully sold - because the content and the environment is something advertisers seek. Mark then asked the audience who would pay to read NYTimes online, and most of us raised our hands. The point was clear: good content sells.

Video is gaining increasing momentum in the industry. I see more people coming to conferences and panels than I used to see, and it's the topic of discussion for media leaders.

Those who have videos are seeking ways to get more viewership, and those who don't have videos are trying to get them through syndication and distribution.


Feel free to comment below if you want me to elaborate on anything.

2 comments about "What Has Video Done For Us Lately? ".
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  1. Grant Crowell from, April 13, 2011 at 3:37 p.m.

    Adam, I have a question on your 2nd point: "Personalized videos can triple your video views and revenue." Do you have any examples we can view online, plus where you received that statistic of a 3x increase in viewership and revenue? Is this something that's more for just video ad networks, or is it possible for video publishers to do as well? (In regards to the latter, I would presume it would involve having a vast media library.)

  2. Adam Singolda from Taboola, April 20, 2011 at 1:37 p.m.

    Hi Grant:

    The 3x is only for publishers (ad network enjoy this as a side effect, I'll explain):
    -- Taboola has a robust A/B system across many sites (such as CNN, NYTimes, Bloomberg, Demand Media and others). As part of that, we're constantly testing different algorithms in tandem to our core technology to be able to keep providing our clients and their users good service.
    -- This allows us to compare CTRs between different ways of recommending content to people around the world
    -- If you take a bucket of users and offer them contextual (or version of it such as popular videos from the same sub-category) and you compare it to personalized recommendations the CTR gap is in the 3x range.
    -- This means that for a given real estate on a page, publishers that do not apply advanced techniques to offer content lose ~2x CTR at any given moment
    -- From that there are 2 potential winners or losers. The publishers who could gain more video views on their site, and, indirectly, the ad-networks that sell ads against that viewership (that's where video ad networks fit into this equation)
    -- In terms of video corpus, I'd say it needs to be in few hundreds of videos on the low end. The more -- the better the system can get and the higher the gap gets.

    I hope that helps, and please don't hesitate to let me know if you'd like me to elaborate.


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