‘It’s strictly a CPM play’: Confessions of a publisher video exec
It’s been a few years since publishers big and small took an earnest dive into video, and, now, more than a few of them are struggling to keep their heads above water.
For the latest installment of our Confessions series, we spoke with the head of video at a mid-tier digital publisher about his struggles with ad formats, distributing to platforms, and the struggle to balance quantity and quality.
The conversation has been condensed and formatted for clarity.
Why is everyone doing this?
It’s strictly a CPM play. It’s become a delivery vehicle for a pre-roll ad, without much consideration for what that content is. I’ve even seen some [English-language] publishers get Spanish-language ads going, just because they had pennies-higher CPMs, which is insane. [My employer] made a big deal about wanting to bring someone in that was highly experienced to do something big with their video, but they were really late to the party.
And so everyone’s just putting video all over their sites.
Having video run on every page is just dumb. It’s crazy. What are they doing to build the brand? Nothing. They’re hurting it. It’s impossible to have video match every article. No one can have enough staff to do that. You’re chasing your tail when you’re trying to put video on something that there just isn’t video for.
So where should publishers put their video?
Publishers have to be really leery of giving away their best stuff. Too many publishers are so concentrated on feeding that Facebook beast. Facebook is great for marketing and audience development, but what’s key is getting the eyeballs on your [owned and operated properties]. There are too many publishers putting it all on Facebook and giving it away for free.
How about ad quality?
Far too many publishers know how to sell print but aren’t savvy on the digital side. A lot of these sites are going whole hog on programmatic advertising that bombards the user. You get an ad on a video, a pop-up on your screen. You’re turning people away. If you’re going to do a pre-roll, don’t make it any longer than 10 seconds. If you’ve got good content, I’m willing to put up with 10, maybe 15 seconds. You put a 30-second spot up, with no opportunity to opt out, I’m gone.
There’s a tension, though, isn’t there, between resource-intensive video and quick hits you know will get views?
Everyone on the team has to do some of the crap and also be able to go out and do original content shoots. What’s important is to spread around the fun stuff and the more routine stuff. It became important to keep people motivated and not burnt out. If you need to attract eyeballs, you need to do some of that bread-and-butter stuff to afford the longer-term, more in-depth things. But “Beyoncé having twins!” as a 30-second text-over-video — you know that’s going to do really well and you gotta do it. But it’s tough to do both.
Where is the long-term, reliable money, really?
Syndicate. AOL, Yahoo, MSN. I don’t really feel that’s necessarily cannibalizing your core audience. You’re picking up new audience, and you’re getting more bang for your production buck. It’s not an insignificant amount of revenue. Depending on what kind of deal you can get, you can get 50-70 percent of the revenue that comes to your content in another platform.
Member ExclusiveCase Study: How PBS programming informs its YouTube strategy — and what it looks like when it gets there
PBS has a "deluge" of content that needs to be strategically placed across online channels. Here's a look at how PBS does it in this Digiday+ Case Study.
Why Showtime will release episodes of ‘The L Word: Generation Q’ early for streaming viewers
For its tentpole Sunday night original programming block, Showtime has already seen streaming viewership begin to exceed linear viewership.
In a perpetual mission to compete with the Facebook-Google duopoly, UK’s Channel 4 aims for more ad dollars with customer data sharing regime
The UK's Channel 4 is betting on a sophisticated data sharing process to score ad revenue from advertisers with lots of customer data but serious privacy and security concerns.
SponsoredIdentity solution fatigue is setting in: How to keep moving
By Kristina Prokop, CEO and co-founder, Eyeota As we move deeper into 2021, the desperate search for identity solutions that can smooth marketing organizations’ transitions to a cookieless world is reaching a fever pitch. There’s no shortage of new identifiers and identity technologies vying for attention — and that’s a big part of the problem. […]
Member ExclusiveFuture of TV Briefing: Instagram is taking a ‘mix and match’ approach to money-making tools for video makers
As a digital video platform, Instagram has not necessarily carved out a niche among video publishers and individual video creators. But that may be becoming more of a feature than a bug.
NBCUniversal is supporting three Black filmmakers in Target-backed program, though DE&I experts say more work is needed
In addition to highlighting the filmmakers on its TV networks and digital properties, NBCUniversal has signed deals with each to develop a TV pilot script.