Buyer's Guide: Diversifying Revenue with Video, Webinars, and Events
This article is from the Publishing Executive Buyer's Guide which is a publisher's reference on emerging technology in the media industry. You can find other Buyer's Guide Sections here:
Publishers and advertisers are storytellers by profession. Increasingly, they are required to "show" as well as "tell" their story to their audience members. Video, webinars, and events allow publishers to do this, all while extending the engagement they've cultivated in print and online.
Digital video itself is not a new phenomenon. The move from analog film and magnetic tape to digital formats has been ongoing since the 1980s. What is relatively new is the online hosting of video content, made popular by search-based, user-generated content (UGC) sites like YouTube and Vimeo.
Magazine publishers have a number of options when it comes to online video, starting with free or nearly free hosting, using links to UGC video players. However, this approach comes with fundamental problems:
- Free video is not free. The UGC model is typically ad-driven, and companies like YouTube can routinely place pre-roll advertising -- sometimes from competitors -- in popular videos. Even when the publisher takes ownership of the advertising (for a fee), the returns are often small.
- Free or low-cost video hosting can mean loss of content control. Although viral sharing sounds appealing, it is easy for such content to me misused, subjected to damaging commentary, or simply removed for reasons outside the publisher's control.
- Not all encoding and hosting environments are created equal. Videos that play well in Flash over a high-speed connection can be highly problematic in other environments -- especially mobile ones.
Some publishers have attempted to host their own video content, using free or low-cost developer tools. These of course require dedicated development resources that may be beyond some publishers' means. Another solution -- literally embedding digital video files in a mobile app -- is now possible in environments like Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite. However, these files are extremely large, often making the resulting apps too large for many users and devices.
John Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org), former Editorial Director of The Seybold Report, is an independent writer, ghostwriter, and editor. He is the co-author of the interactive printed textbook, Introduction to Graphic Communication, on the art, science and business of print, which has been adopted by Ryerson, Arizona State, the University of Houston, and many other schools and vocational training centers. Custom editions of the book are under consideration by major printing companies and franchises for internal training purposes.