It's Getting Hot 'n' Heavy
Heavy.com, an in-your-face online video smorgasbord, is for advertisers brave enough to do what it takes to reach guys. Advertisers like Burger King let Heavy run ads created by real people using the famous king mask to put the fast-food icon in some compromisingly hilarious positions.
The aggressive content mix includes weekly shows like "American Suck Countdown," a sarcastic roundup of top news stories, extreme sports clips, music videos, games, and home video. The site happily blurs content and advertising with 30-second made-for-TV spots offered as part of the content mix.
"Heavy is one big PointRoll," says co-CEO Simon Assaad. "It's an entertainment environment, so if you make an ad that feels like entertainment, people will watch it."
Pricing ranges from $10 to $80 on a cost-per-thousand basis, depending on the type of ad. Assaad advises advertisers to stop thinking in terms of traditional ad units. Any piece of the environment can be owned and sponsored by an advertiser, and Heavy.com will work with marketers to present their content as editorial or create custom placements. For example, Heavy.com works with game companies on "Machinima," a series of shorts based on game titles.
The Web-based network recently signed a deal to deliver content to Verizon Wireless' VCast mobile video service, although Assaad doesn't believe cell phones are ready for ads yet. The company plans to move its service to cable video-on-demand and other connected devices.
Video Is So You
YouTube.com enables people to upload, tag, and share video clips across the Internet and through e-mail and millions have done so, making this site the third-largest provider of video on the Web.
Because users can search or browse to find the content they're interested in, YouTube attracts a broad demographic: 18- to 49-year-olds. Content is a mix of mainstream TV shows (contributed by producers), clips from vintage TV shows, and homemade movies from around the world. Next up: advertising.
"YouTube is a stage for anyone and everyone including traditional ad agencies," says Julie Supan, director of marketing.
YouTube already runs promotional video, such as film trailers and clips. Disney featured a classic video of the band Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" to tie in with "Queen Week" on "American Idol." A partnership with E! Online will direct YouTube users to E!'s own broadband video channel.
In the next few months, Supan says YouTube will offer marketers a combination of promotions, sponsorships, contextual, and traditional banner ads, plus brand-new formats unique to YouTube.
Granting Interactive Permission
PermissionTV lets content companies combine existing Web assets with streaming video, and then add highly interactive commercials.
"If you have the video and the idea, and are ready to get on the Internet with an attractive channel, we can get you up and running in under a month," says CEO Dave Graves.
PermissionTV licenses the technology, and broadcasters control how they deliver content and ads. They can enable pay-per-view, sponsorships, or a variety of advertising models, including using their existing Web-based advertising networks. Grove Communications' "Update Hollywood" is the first show launched on PermissionTV; several others are in production and remain under wraps.
The company is devising new types of ads to reduce clutter while boosting effectiveness, notably the telescoping ad: a 5- or 10-second spot that invites users to click to find out more. Viewers can even buy from within the ad.
As more broadband users connect their PCs to TVs, Graves sees PermissionTV creating a true interactive television experience, bringing the Web's targeting power to the living room. "Instead of making 10 million people watch a commercial that may be appropriate to only 100,000, we can show it to those people who are truly interested," he says.
RipeTV Lures 'Em On-Demand
For that attention-deficit demographic men aged 18 to 34 RipeTV offers quick, hot hits of video whenever and wherever they want it. For media buyers, it offers seven different ad formats embedded into the video.
RipeTV is one of several video-on-demand networks created by Ripe Digital Entertainment to reach specific demographics. In this case, it's those multitasking young guys who almost never sit down in front of the TV set. They can pick from eight different channels with up to eight video shorts in each, watching via cable on-demand, mobile phones, or a PC with broadband connection.
Shows are free to viewers and have one advertiser per show, and that advertiser is all over the place. Ad formats include a "TV skin" that wraps all four corners of the screen, a jump-in logo bug, a 15-second spot, and a branded feature at the end of the show.
"There's a voracious demand for measurable media in broadcast," says Ripe Digital CEO Ryan Magnussen.
Advertisers are charged a cost per view ranging from 12 to 25 cents, which Magnussen says works out to a $120 to $220 cost per thousand. "But an actual person is watching the show," he points out, "so we think ad rates will go up dramatically."
RipeTV is completely sold out, with advertisers including Old Spice and Boost Mobile, as is OctaneTV, a Ripe network targeting auto enthusiasts. But marketers hungry for this demographic shouldn't despair: Next up is a NASCAR network, with more to come.
Build Your Own Channel
Brightcove's on-demand Internet TV service lets content creators package and publish Flash-based media on their own Web sites, or offer it for distribution via Brightcove.com. The service remains in commercial preview mode, but there are a few hundred programmers using the platform for stand-alone video sites, including SmartMoney.com and National Lampoon TOGA.
Webcasters can sell their own avails or become part of the Brightcove Ad Network, planned for late fall. Brightcove will sell the ads and distribute them to publishers that opt in, with ad rates yet to be determined. Brightcove promises integration with third-party ad-serving, targeting, and tracking applications.
"Our on-demand solution will allow marketers to build their own content channels, through which they will have complete control, and syndicate them out to affiliates," says Adam Gerber, Brightcove's vice president of advertising products and strategy. For example, a travel marketer could create a content bundle and offer it to community forums, travel sites, and blogs.
Marketers will be able to brand the video player or an entire bundle of content. Gerber is going after advertising and media agencies in a big way, touting not only traditional ad placements but also long-form "content experiences" that will be direct-to-consumer.