Commentary

Video Focus: When Push Comes to Pull

Integrating video into networks brings eyeballs

When it comes to understanding how to deliver and present video on the Web, it’s time we connected the dots. Let’s simplify investigative video analysis and go back to the days when we were held captive by 56k dial-up. All we wanted was to get online to catch a glimpse of movie reviews, sports statistics and the weekend weather forecast. So why not increase our odds and simply marry this behavior to video?

Users should be presented with the opportunity to watch the information, in addition to reading it. It’s efficient, immediate and relevant. So why not utilize all of the natural-born intelligence of the Internet and find the users where they are? Contextual video relevance will convert the practice of consuming video online from the pull model to one of push.

Anyone who thinks aggregation is about single-domain retention isn’t paying attention. Even the portals understand the benefits of audience “fringe.”

Content companies like ESPN, MTV, CNN and others are starved for more video inventory. They sell at or close to capacity each month, and they are seeking audiences beyond the walls of their domains. Enter the distributed network model and the content networks. Many of the programmers want to control the extended experience and the points of distribution. They want page and associated content oversight to ensure that their programming isn’t presented in less than desirable company. They want owner-operator jurisdiction without the rigors of asset collection. They want “micronetworks.”

One major broadcast and cable company is attempting to roll out a wired online network of its own, which validates the network model. The idea is to create a place into which the content owner can push its programming, create an inventory-rich environment that is preauthorized, federated, tagged and tracked by any ad-serving vendor, measured by comScore or Nielsen and fully managed by the programmer. The network becomes the enabler, facilitating connections between viewers and content suppliers.

As the digital spectrum continuesits horizontal spread across media, and convergence takes hold, ad dollars will justify the need for a self-sustaining ecosystem. Consider this from the perspective of the ad exchange. Despite all of the recent M&A activity surrounding the exchanges, the inherent flaw in the system is its dependency on sheer quantity of inventory. Give the brand advertiser a chance to buy a show and the affiliate on which it airs. Give him a contextually relevant micronetwork.

The beauty of it all is that the network operator isn’t conducting the manual process of having to deliver third-party content into sites’ existing video environments and build walls around it in order to create these micronetworks. That’s where contextual video search comes of age. The distributed model builds upon itself organically by using clues from HTML and META (all of which gain intelligence by the day).

If relevant video is dynamically presented on a page containing movie reviews, sports statistics, or the weekend weather forecast, the user is likely to be converted into a video viewer.

Only the über network wins here: the one that allows the brand advertisers site visibility, brand security, and reporting by brand, site, demo and day part. Give a brand the opportunity to associate itself with the programs of its choosing, allowing it to cherry-pick, and you’ve justified a seismic shift in budget allocation. It’s the über network that figures out how to provide content and context. Only the über network can father the micronetwork.

Bryon Evje is president of technology for Broadband Enterprises.
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