Finding A Better Way: Pathways To Video Profits

The online advertising industry is continually discussing where video is going and what opportunities exist for it. Which prompts me to ask: If you were given $1 million for an online video business, how would you spend it? What type of entity would you create to turn that $1 million into $100 million? I don't think there is a single silver bullet, but if I was in a position to take this challenge, a few ideas come to mind.

Video search. With all traditional video content being converted and new online video content being created, how do you find a certain movie from when you were a kid, a how-to video or anything else? Sure -- you can search the content used to describe the film, or perhaps even a full transcript becomes available for every video, but is that sufficient? Some companies today are built for this, but from what I've generally seen their technology only works if you search within their library. Is there a better way?

Video portal. Is there a better way to leverage UGC than YouTube? Is there a better way to house professionally produced video content that is not in violation of copyright? With marketers beginning to develop more original content that allows them to control the product placement, is there a commercial site where this can all be housed?

Ad serving. With the pending approval of Google and Doubleclick, I would expect to see new ad serving platforms emerge in the U.S. One opportunity that continues to exist revolves around the lack of standards and a turnkey solution for video deployment. Publishers use different players, whether home grown or licensed, and they frequently don't work with another's technology. Perhaps this problem will resolve itself in a year or two, much like how traditional ad serving standardized as it matured, but there must be a way to seize the opportunity today.

Ad solution. Overlays, pre/mid/post-roll, contextual video, behavioral video, in-banner, video -- what is the ad format that convinces broadcast and cable buyers, collectively spending $71 billion, to consider your ad product? What solution exists that is turnkey, easy to deploy and won't completely turn off consumers?

Many companies are already at work on these ideas, so I'm sure soon enough we'll hear from them on the message boards about their products. But this is not about an idea that has already been thought of -- but, how would you execute to take that idea, or an original one you have -- and make it work?

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