Success With Video in a Soft Economy
With the global financial crisis rearing its ugly head in almost every corner of the industry, the time has come to take an even closer look at the technology publishers have turned to for years as a new means of generating advertising revenue and a more cost-effective way of producing content for readers. Video on a publication Web site -- now more than ever -- is a hot alternative to costly print. That is if you know how to use it.
Charles Weiss, an 18-year vet of the trade publishing business, knows how to best supplement editorial content with solid video. Currently with Nielsen Business Media as associate publisher of Back Stage, Weiss has worked in the past with Reed, CMP and Miller Freeman. He spoke with Publishing Executive Inbox about the value video is bringing and will continue to bring to magazines, especially during the current recession.
Publishing Executive Inbox: What's working for publishers with video at the end of 2008?
Charles Weiss: As with mobile, Web, podcasts, e-newsletters, etc., video is providing users with an additional platform from which to derive industry-related content. Every time an interview, event, etc., that would traditionally be covered editorially is also given a video component, we as publishers are strengthening our relationship with our readers or users, and augmenting the traction and stickiness of their time on the brand's site. In terms of what's working -- the concept of value-added for video sponsorship is similarly effective as it is with print. An example would be that in addition to a 15-second pre-roll, a publisher can package in an anchor banner ad plus a rotating ownership to the picture frame of the video player. This gives the advertiser or sponsor that added advantage of 100 percent share-of-voice, often on the homepage. One more pro -- if the video player has several channels, as most do, you're offering an advertiser the equivalent of exclusivity in conjunction with several sources of content -- i.e., articles -- rather than one. The Back Stage video player for example has six channels.
Inbox: How is something deemed a success? Is it more than click-through rates?
Weiss: Certainly the value of any type of digital advertising to the media buyer is that we can now substantiate their ROI through measured metrics. Those metrics offer multiple sources beyond just clickthrough rates. An e-newsletter, for example, can provide open rates, number of days between delivery and open, etc. With respect to a site's video player, one measure of success is when you, as the publisher, determine that the video is getting such a positive response that you increase or decrease the frequency of viewership. In other words, assuming the page views are strong, you can preset the video to play every third time, second time, etc., that a unique visitor uses the player to retrieve content.
Inbox: What would you recommend a publisher not yet using video on their site to do to just simply get started with video?
Weiss: I think the most important thing to remember is that editors can no longer afford to be just journalists. They need to be content strategists, and as such, it is implicit that they provide that content in a media agnostic platform. Magazines are no longer books -- they're brands positioned as multi-platform media networks. One simple way to initiate that position is to begin videotaping interviews. With your content now in digital media, it's an easy process to provide via Web video, podcast, etc. Also, through excellent vendors such as Brightcove, it's a fairly simple matter for anyone to put video on their site. Many of the Nielsen Business Media brands are using this staple.
Inbox: Who would you point your peers to look toward as a title or publisher that just simply gets it when it comes to video? What are they doing that's so special?
Weiss: In my experience, I've found that any trade or b-to-b publisher with a strong expo division such as Nielsen, Reed, etc., represent some brands with very strong video components on their Web site. The Hollywood Reporter, for example, has almost a built-in conduit because of their "red carpet" status that positions them with a constant source of video content. With Back Stage, I believe it's the multi-channel component that offers more value to our audience. We post videos of interviews, of our own events, of Q&As that we moderate, and then move on to more proactive opportunities such as different series with various competitors in the field. Giving an industry expert almost unlimited opportunity to be played and replayed, downloaded and archived, provides us as publishers a strong vantage point from which to sell advertising.
Inbox: How can publishers successfully bring in advertising revenue with video content?
Weiss: ... The added positioning -- anchor banner, picture frame, pre-roll -- is an excellent way for us to provide the advertiser with value added exposure. ...The fact that this content can be replayed, archived and/or downloaded is a strong selling point. Also, I've found that offering to edit down their own video into the brief format necessary is similar to offering print ad design or flash banner design ... it makes it that much easier for the advertiser to make that leap from traditional banner ad to a more interactive platform. Making sure the advertiser understands the true value of this level of share-of-voice and exclusivity is key to the sales process. This video platform affords them incredibly advanced ownership of a branded audience. Lastly, since we're providing a resource with this level of ownership, I feel it entitles us to command a much stronger price. Video sponsorship, for example, can reflect a $50 CPM vs. a $15-$20 CPM that might normally be associated with traditional non-static banner advertising.