Monetizing Video Online


by Valeria Maltoni

How do you transform digital pennies into dollars?

I don’t think we had one answer at the Hub Cira Center PhIMA panel. Rather, we had a spirited discussion and discovered how much many people on Twitter and in the room love Hulu. Kudos to that marketing team for the experience they have been able to craft.

The premise for the discussion was simple – despite all the hype, video represents just 3% of online advertising. YouTube has 5 billion video views, but it reportedly makes less than $40MM from video advertising. Few sits have been successful in getting users to pay for content. Video is no exception.

I for one don’t think it’s going to be the ZunaVision route, I agree with Robin at TechCrunch. Even when tastefully done, how do we keep trying the same tactics that stopped working off line online?

It may come down to comfort level, and one question Asfaq asked me on Twitter as I was sharing highlights – what metrics does a marketer use to buy inventory online?

The question around metrics is a tricky one.

Moderated by Scott Bailey, we had perspectives from Catherine Spurway from PointRoll, Kevin McGurn from Hulu, Jason Glickman from Tremor Media (they launched Acudeo last Spring), Brendan Gallagher from Digitas Health, and David Enberg from WebMD.

Essentially, this panel was taking about content marketing on video. The question is – where is the money?

Some choice comments from the panel:

Glickman from Tremor: Online you have advanced intelligence features in advertising with professionally produced video stream. As the video viewership increases, video will see an increase with advertising buy.

McGurn from Hulu: talked about how the combination of audience fragmentation and high level targeting capabilities stretch your dollar farther online than in broadcasting. He is confident in the growth of Hulu’s service. They are addicted to Twitter. A brand is what people are saying about you when you’re not in the room, he said. They take feedback to heart.

Gallagher from Digitas Health talked about the marketer needing to target message to a specific buyer, and not using a watered-down, broad message. He is confident on the need to provide value. Today people see through marketing. Social forces are changing the media so fast, it’s hard to settle on standards for the pool.

Are things moving too fast to settle on a standard for online video metrics?

Enberg from WebMD is in the content providing business. They produce videos for all media, not just on the web. He is confident that broadcasters will go to them because they are online publishers. They will move from video to writing stories about health issues by video,creating characters. It’s very much about personalization – creating your own health play list – and integration in videos that are 5 minutes long.

Bailey from asked – Hulu has fantastic content, advertisers who can track everything, yet why aren’t companies clambering for it?

Spurway from Pointroll discussed making videos interactive and building learning into the experience itself. What are the marketer’s key goals, the key buying activities?

Joining in from Twitter, Asfaq commented that the agency model is setup such that agencies have to spend more of their client’s money to earn anything. Why measure? The industry really has to come up with a metric that is useful.How do you qualitatively define a metric for a conversation around a brand?

Jack Brandt about HuluThe studios don’t need to pay SAG actors for content viewed on the Web either. You’d think they’d be selling like crazy. If I want 2 see an episode of #House, I must wait 7 days. Content should be next or same day. Why the wait? Advert $$$? There is the need for scale and end user participation (speed at which viewers convert to online/IP viewing).


The conversation was extending on Twitter and in the room seamlessly, as you can see.

VideoPanel on Twitter

There was a question around User Generated Content. Are producers of online video making money? David Burch of TubeMogul set out to find out last summer with a survey.

It looks like the average CPM was $12.39 (with variance from pennies to $100) among the 51% who responded they monetize their videos (47.4% of whom producers joining revenue-sharing programs on video sharing sites like YouTube and taking a rare sponsorship deal when and if they can get it) with overlays as the most popular formats.

This is probably not the polished post you have come to expect here, but the questions are still too many to provide definition at this point. Except for the power of social media. We know we have something there with sharing, telling, discovering information and products. As long as it’s authentic and genuine reporting and sharing.

Someone towards the end asked “how do you monetize Susan Boyle?” Personally, I think she is great for Britain’s Got Talent, the program. But you cannot predict viral.

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