More people are consuming more video in more places and on more devices. So what's the problem? The problem is that as television viewing becomes increasingly un-tethered from the television set and unbounded by time, the conventions of linear television delivery are becoming increasingly irrelevant, and current online conventions are not keeping pace. What was once relatively simple -- finding "something to watch" -- has become complex, in some cases painful, and worst of all tedious. Consumer awareness, adoption, usage and monetization all suffer.
Dear social media gurus, I get it: if you ran NBC, you'd program the Olympics differently, everything would be live on television and online, but... you don't. So get over it, and keep saving up to one day buy NBC or pay billions of dollars for the rights to the games. Or you can, of course, stop watching the Games and get back to work and hope to rise to the top of the corporate latter to one day run NBC.
We all agree that the RFP process is, to put it bluntly, in disarray. This issue is a frequent discussion topic, but those conversations don't seem to get us anywhere. What we need -- both buyers and sellers -- is to think about this in terms of mindset and industry citizenship.
YouTube generated ~$800 million in 2011 through its YouTube Promoted Video program. YouTube connected the dots, and got many content providers and advertisers excited to join the YouTube boom. This is how the company did it while adding a billion-dollar line into its P&L, making us all fall in love (or did we?):
July 21 marked the 40th anniversary of George Carlin's arrest for performing "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" at Milwaukee's Summerfest. Carlin was charged with violating obscenity laws, but the case was dismissed that December, with a ruling that his language was indecent, but not obscene. In 1973, spurred by a radio broadcast of Carlin's material, a five-year battle of F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation ended with a Supreme Court ruling that the routine was "indecent but not obscene," and that the FCC could require that indecent broadcasts air during hours when children were not likely to be listening …
Hiring Marissa Mayer was a huge statement for Yahoo, but as a wise man told me privately, the company gets no points for simply anointing her. To use a sports analogy, it's akin to hiring a defensive-oriented coach at a franchise known historically for its offense (or vice versa). The move made headlines, but only results will matter.
It's happened to almost everyone. You go to a blog -- say, to find a trick in Excel -- then suddenly, you hear loud audio. You desperately scan the page to mute whatever is making the noise, scrolling down and find a video player embedded there, autoplaying a video you did not intend to watch, often with a VAST-standard pre-roll ad in front of it. Why tell this story? Because "fake pre-roll" is a perfect example of a conversation we are all forced to have, and should not have to, given what is possible.
Content publishers invest large amounts of time and money defining and honing their media brands. As a result, a publisher's internal sales team is well-versed and well-trained in directly selling the unique value propositions associated with that property. Of course, we all know the saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's why when it comes to audience-based selling, it's tempting to try to do it in-house as well. After all, if your sales team can broker million dollar deal roadblocks with some of the most savvy media agency minds in the business, they'll be able to pitch specific …
Was George Romero the keynote speaker at the last major marketer's meeting? Because a zombie apocalypse seems to have overtaken the marketing industry and given rise to a fast-growing legion of marketers in single-minded pursuit of one thing and only one thing. No, not brains -- brains are clearly missing from this equation -- but viral video.
History has a way of repeating itself -- except, of course, when it doesn't. Back in 2000, I saw firsthand how venture-backed TheMan crashed, burning through $17 million in capital, while my company AskMen survived and thrived on only $500,000 in funding. Today, AskMen is a unit in FOX's empire; TheMan is a footnote in dot-com history.