I enjoyed David Berkowitz’ Who I’m Thankful For, so I decided to give that a spin and pen something on who the video industry should be thankful for. Some of it is tongue-in-cheek, but it’s all sincere.
Tim Armstrong and AOL can be criticized for many things, but when Armstrong opened up the checkbook to buy 5Min, TechCrunch, Go Viral and Huffington Post for nearly $500 million, he did more to validate video and content than anyone else since Google when it bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. Any private or public company CEO will tell you that Armstrong’s big bet on video and content gave the industry a shot in the arm. Thanks, Tim!
You can stop the Eulogy of the Portals right now. AOL, Yahoo and MSN are not only very much relevant to the average user – but, since they’re by virtue of being three of the earliest producers of original video programming, they have led the way with marketers by producing the kind of informative and entertainment content that big advertisers and agencies have sought for years. While AOL’s video strategy is not increasingly anchored around 5Min, Yahoo in particular is betting big on original video, and the results are very positive. (Disclosure: All three are WatchMojo’s distribution partners.)
YouTube’s sheer dominance presents an interesting challenge to content owners -- but net-net, it gives producers an ability to target the most captive video audience with relatively zero technology costs. Yes, with over 48 hours of content uploaded each minute and 3 billions daily streams, it’s hard to cut through the clutter, but the fact remains that YouTube has done a lot to bring video to the mainstream. Last but not least, by forking over $250 million to content producers for original programming, YouTube is also ushering in a new era of video online (disclosure: YouTube is one of our largest distribution partners).
Better late than never, but when comScore partnered with YouTube to provide channel-level audience metrics to marketers, it allowed content producers to finally monetize their burgeoning audiences. Time will tell what kind of impact this will have, but without a doubt, if YouTube delivers on its promise to displace cable and television altogether, then we can look back to this transformative partnership.
Traditional Media Companies
We can blame them for wanting to protect their assets and occasionally not giving consumers what they want. But were it not for the investment, imagination and risk-taking of the big traditional media companies, we consumers and the online video community would have nothing to watch -- or, well, disrupt.
Who are we kidding? Were it not for Fair Use copyright law, the amount and quality of content online would be far inferior. While some fair use involves using the content as is, other types involve making use of existing content to create transformative material.
It could be argued that what YouTube did for online video, Apple has done for mobile video and consumption of video content on tablets. The BlackBerry may have been a pioneering communications tool, but it was the iPhone that made mobile video consumption (and online browsing in general) a reality. Thank you, Steve.
Amazon’s cloud infrastructure has allowed startups of all sizes to drastically reduce the cost of managing their bandwidth assets, meaning more money left over to create products and services that are their core competencies.
David touched on this in his article, and he’s right. I’ll just add that people ask me why I write so much. I tell them that when you write for large publications that are well-read, then there’s a strong chance that others have read your work and heard your ideas -- so when I meet them at conferences or meetings, I can shut up, listen and learn.
My team and my family
It’s easy for a CEO to establish lofty creative and business goals, but ultimately your team has to go out and get the job done.
Last but certainly not least, I know it sounds corny, but above all, I am most thankful to my family (starting with my wife, Christine) for letting me venture out on my own and stick with it through thick and thin. I always remind people that even overnight success stories take years to build -- and our adventures are no exception.
Behind every great man is a great woman, and alongside every great entrepreneur is an amazing team.
What are you grateful for?