IMAG Report: A Quick Reality Check on Video Revenue
There was a time, and it doesn't seem like it was that long ago, when no matter where your company was in the hierarchy of publishing, the most common denominator of magazine franchises was that we all published printed magazines. That is no longer the case.
For 600 years we thoughtfully put ink on paper and sold it to a willing public who were in the need to know. Now as we reallocate resources and streams of income, print -- although it is still about 75% on average of the revenue pie -- gets little of the conversation and only a small amount of the love.
This reaction comes from just attending the IMAG-MPA conference in Los Angles. It was a great show filled with important media conversations, and I highly recommend you go if and when you can. It seemed to me without looking at my notes, that at this event 90% of the conversation was about video. This is clearly what everyone expects to be the next big thing when it comes to new revenue streams. I personally have my doubts. Will it be a thing? Absolutely! But the thing? I am not so sure.
Success and with it the resulting revenue clearly depends upon what your franchise is based upon. TEN: The Enthusiast Network, which was the IMAG host publisher in LA and which is to the auto industry what Bayer is to pharmaceuticals, is a perfect candidate for success in the auto action/instruction video gambit. I see ample opportunities for major success for them. At the IMAG conference and at the tour of their offices they demonstrated that success and power.
Considering the theory that one shoe does not fit all feet, I wonder just how much time audiences in other sectors will spend with video. I've been told by one of my new best friends who I met at IMAG that video search on YouTube is wildly successful. I get that. You want to know how to do something, what could be better than a visual demonstration? Answer: not much. From the time-is-money perspective, how much time will the public spend on publishers’ videos? Millions of hours for sure. But when you slice and dice Mary Meeker's time-spent-with-media charts from her famous Internet Trends report, where does video and video search fit in? On mobile, of course.
Keeping in mind that attention is monetizable, I will point out that in a typical day in the life of mobile users, their time seems to be spent on average with only three apps. In the U.S. those apps are Facebook, Chrome, & YouTube, and they spend five hours every day with them. More than two-fifths of all digital ad-spending in the U.S. will go to Google this year, with Facebook in second place. No other digital publisher will enjoy even 4% of total revenues.
Not to be a curmudgeon, but this adventure in the search of revenue needs to be offset by some reality of the situation. So, it comes down to what category your title is in for your continued and on-going success in print or video or both. Should publishers explore video and its revenue opportunities? Assuredly so. Will this be the next big thing? Will it supplant the print revenue for most publishers? Decidedly not. It will take its place among dozens of other revenue opportunities as we expand our brands to maximum effect. In short, a thing, not the thing.
All that being said, this is not my review of the IMAG conference. It is perhaps a preface. This weekend, after I catch my breath from just having got back from LA, I will write my synopsis and reactions.
Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.