Yahoo's YouTube Competitor Should Draw Cheers From Marketers

With deal-making in the traditional TV upfront market set to start, one veteran digital brand is pushing -- what else? -- a big new video platform.

Yahoo wants to get into the business in a big YouTube-like way. Some might say the big Web destination missed this train about a decade-and-a-half ago, or perhaps longer. Marketers, meanwhile, continue to seek out video platforms, but many complain scale is still wanting.

No matter. Yahoo looks to sweeten the pot to jump ahead of the line -- by giving content creators a better advertising split, as well as more freedoms without the exclusivity that YouTube demands.

Here is what tantalizes:  YouTube channels average around $10 in U.S. cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) -- numbers significantly higher than with display or other digital platforms.

YouTube keeps around 50% of all advertising revenue from its content providers. Yahoo would let video producers keep a bigger share, as well as not limiting them with exclusive deals.  



Good news for Yahoo, even with its late start, is that the digital video market is still growing -- even as YouTube continues to be perhaps the strongest player in terms of advertising revenues.  

Next year Yahoo will premiere two half-hour comedies -- its first efforts into long-form, TV-like programming.

If you are a traditional producer or network, all this is good news. Traditional TV content makers know how to make content, even as the number of independent video makers rapidly rises. Linear TV producers increasingly cheer new distribution channels, even as their content competitors grow.

TV’s upfront market is now beginning. For all the noise from digital makers, the $19 billion or so in upfront revenues that go to traditional TV platforms won’t feel any pinch from digital video erosion this year.

But -- as was the case with a young cable industry in the early ‘80s -- upfront revenue, with almost no one noticing, will find its way to new video platforms.  For many marketers, it’ll be the bigger the better.

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