2007: The Online Video Era?
Shanfelt predicts other monetizing opportunities could include pay-per-view, or pay-per-click models.
Spanfeller says Forbes was fortunate in getting its video venture off the ground by finagling an early partnership with Samsung. “We bartered their presence on the network for resources, like equipment …,” he says. “That helped a lot in those days, but now it’s not a big deal. Equipment required to get started is not so expensive. The biggest issue is bandwidth, but even that’s become more economical.”
Spanfeller makes it sound easy. That’s because he believes pursuing video doesn’t have to be complicated. “Don’t worry about looking professional. It’s just not that important right now,” he says. “The Web showcases everything from homemade handhelds to professional rock star videos and, as different mediums have proven, both have been popular in their own right.”
He adds that the experience is more about what publishers are trying to accomplish, what the right look and feel is, and what the audience will respond to. Other than that, Spanfeller says it’s just a matter of trying to find sponsors, investing in video equipment and having the appropriate bandwidth.
Lauf says Wired initially was “as nimble and entrepreneurial as possible. As we grow, we’ll probably need freelancer video personnel,” he says. “But we make do.”
Koreto suggests that publishers first concern themselves with format and hosting. “Hosting is not cutting-edge, publishers already have hosts for their sites, so it’s more a matter of having good hosts,” he says. “For do-it-yourselfers, a visit to Geocity.com, which offers multimedia components, should do the trick.”
Shanfelt says, “It’s still just publishing. We’re still creating content that is valuable …, developing an audience around that content and selling sponsorship against it.”
Spanfeller takes that philosophy to a whole new level. “We don’t even look at ourselves as a magazine Web site. We look at ourselves as a best-of-breed destination content site that shares a brand with Forbes magazine,” he concludes. “We get 20 million viewers a month on our site compared to 5 million readers of our magazine. Maybe it was dumb luck, but we wound up developing a huge audience online, and, over the past four years, it’s all been a work in progress.”