It used to be simple. Creative agencies would make ads, media agencies would place them, and PR companies would handle corporate communications and press. This is no longer the case. Online video and social media have blurred the lines between these players, and opened the door for other, smaller companies to get larger pieces of the online advertising pie.
I read with bemused interest Jason Burke's July 6 article, "Video Ad Exchanges Aren't A Silver Bullet." Burke attempted to make the case that buyers on exchanges are chasing "unicorns" -- bargains that don't exist. Exchanges may indeed have limitations, but let's keep it real. None of the points in his article are new or unique to exchanges. In fact, exchanges are eliminating "unicorns" by actually improving brand protection, transparency, ad units and standards for online video advertising.
These are indeed amazing and volatile times for online video. Every day there's a new study showcasing the accelerating growth of online video; the never-ending demand for video content by brands; and a prevailing gold-rush mentality by media companies (both new and old) to get their piece of the pie. While the old saying that a rising tide lifts all boats might be true, all of us in the online video sector should periodically take a deep breath to ensure that we're not losing track of some important fundamental truths about online video in the midst of all this …
Yet another time, I hear the same story. A brand publisher is surprised to find that, while members of its sales team work for a company everybody knows, advertisers do not want to work with them. So advertisers are not interested in video inventory that's brand safe, in premium content, gets quality U.S. traffic, and comes in standard ad units like pre-roll? The reason? The inventory is too small.
Before YouTube, people turned to iFilm for video entertainment. While the site would occasionally publish a viral video without the written consent of the rightsholder; iFilm largely housed movie trailers. While they were advertisements, trailers were the quintessential short form of entertainment. But as a sign of how little "professional" video content existed at the time, iFilm was able to build a syndication business by aggregating movie trailers and redistributing them around the Web.
This diatribe has a lot to do with my new iPad2. I can't understand how a device that doesn't allow the user to access all moving image Web content (including certain Facebook features and our own emmytvlegends.org site) is thriving. Even worse, to make our website work for what is now millions of iPads in play, we've had to reprogram our site at great cost -- how many other nonprofits like ours, with unique video content, are in the same boat regarding Apple's obstinacy? How much amazing content will be forever lost in the shuffle?
The recent demise of another premium and studio-backed producer of original Web series and entertainment content -- NBC Universal Digital Studios --- shows two main problems that exist with a Web-only strategy.
Online video and social media marketing seem to be obvious choices for those tasked with marketing new video game titles, but I'm consistently surprised at how those strategies are misused, underused or used not at all. Following are ways that video game marketing directors, brand managers and social media managers can help launch titles using video and social media marketing:
Content is a woman, distribution is a man. In the online video arena, I've cut hundreds of deals with distribution companies. By and large, distribution companies never make any promises, have no-strings-attached offerings, make no commitments, rarely seek exclusivity -- and when they do, it's usually too good to be true. Content owners, meanwhile, enter distribution deals with expectations, believe the promises they hear, expect a commitment, and want a guarantee.