The NewFronts continue their relentless pace today with Time Inc., CNN, Digitas and YouTube. What’s striking about all of the presentations so far is the vast amount of original video programming that’s been unveiled by stakeholders including Hulu, The New York Times Co., Condé Nast, Vice and many more.
Last night, Hearst Magazines Digital Media announced 14 video originals in total under its Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR, Delish, and Sweet properties alone. That doesn’t include Hearst’s partnerships with Hollywood celebs Channing Tatum and Elizabeth Banks, plus Wieden + Kennedy and Sony Music--and the formation of a new development fund with A+E Networks to identify and create content with emerging and established producers.
AOL/Verizon planted a big stake in the ground with video, announcing a new street-side studio for live programming under its BUILD brand that will include virtual reality. It also showcased 20 + original video series including “Coach Snoop,” a show about Snoop Dogg and his inner-city kids’ football program; “The Runner” on Verizon’s Go90 mobile media network; the “Makers Men” series, a spinoff of AOL’s successful women-focused Makers franchise; the Huffington Post’s “Celebs Have Issues”; TechCrunch’s “Bitcoin: Digital Gold?”; and Engadget’s “World’s Most Dangerous Unboxings.”
Is your head spinning yet?
AOL’s announcements on Tuesday also included a minority stake in AwesomenessTV, a network geared to 12- to 24-year-old women (grabbing at GenZ); a joint venture with Hearst to create digital channels with even more millennial-skewing programming; and its deal last month with Complex Media to get at the young male demographic. AOL’s acquisition of RYOT, an L.A.-based studio specializing in virtual reality and 360-degree video, will generate even more original video programming.
This begs the question: How will publishers and media companies monetize all of this video programming? “Monetize” is just a jargony buzzword. Put it this way: How will publishers and media companies make money from all this content?
Is there a point at which there is too much programming chasing attention spans that are extremely short, and consumers that are extremely fickle? While millennials and GenZ Snapchat and Instagram their way throughout the day, will they also be watching all of the new video programming? Even older demographics have the attention spans of gnats these days—there is simply too much content to sample and enjoy.
One could argue that viewing video originals and live streams will replace actual work. Maybe the economy will come to a grinding halt. Who knows?
Media companies and publishers are counting on consumers watching several shows simultaneously, flipping between them all day long. This makes targeting these audiences with advertising pretty tricky.
So while a lot of this programming will be entertaining, engaging and “immersive"—as AOL CEO Tim Armstrong noted—it remains to be seen how so much content will generate revenue for the companies producing, distributing and presenting it.
Queue the advertisers…