Signs Point To Success For Upcoming Video Venture

I am looking forward to the upcoming launch of the joint online video venture between News Corp. and NBC. Since the original announcements were made in March, there has been quite a bit of speculation around what this company would be called, and more importantly, if it will be able to live up to its potential.

It appears as though the company is starting out right by selecting a digital executive to lead it. Jason Kilar has a good reputation and appears to be a wise selection. I am sure traditional media people with extensive backgrounds were considered for the position. But, ultimately choosing someone who has worked in what is still a very entrepreneurial and high growth business like Amazon is a good thing. The management behind this venture knows they need fresh and creative thinking, and that starts with leadership that comes from the online world.

When the joint venture was first announced I commented that this was exactly what the industry needed to jumpstart the online video marketplace. And here we are months later and the excitement and need for this is even greater than I first thought.



There are still too many companies on the sidelines that need to begin executing video programs. With user-generated content comprising upwards of 90 percent of all online video, this platform is a welcome change to marketers who are concerned about where their ads will appear. With the TV upfront in the rearview mirror, agencies and marketers are securing video assets so they can run interactive campaigns. It is just a matter of finding the right environment, one that consists of quality content along with the scale necessary to make it worthwhile for the Fortune 500 and other brand marketers.

Jeff Zucker of NBC recently said in a Financial Times interview "The goal at the beginning here is to have a place for the premium, quality content that the networks and channels are producing that clearly advertisers are clamoring for. They are not, necessarily, clamoring to be allowed to advertise on user generated content."

I completely agree with Mr. Zucker regarding the lack of viability of lower quality content. User-generated video content is an important part of the video landscape, but cannot turn video into a multibillion-dollar segment the way this venture can. My advice to the soon-to-be named venture is to learn from the past but focus on the future. Leverage your media parents' assets and capabilities, but be nimble, dynamic and act like an Internet start-up that has just received its first few million in financing. Be aggressive and outspoken and come to market with lots of new and unique video sponsorships ideas, especially for all those pre-roll naysayers. If you do, I think this company can be the most significant player in online video in 2008 and beyond.

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