‘There’s a lot more crap than there is premium’: Buyers cast doubts on publishers’ pivot to video
The great pivot to video continues. In the past few weeks alone, the publishers that said they were shifting resources to video (and often laying off staff in the process) has included Vice, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated and MTV News. Underpinning all of these moves is an inconvenient truth: Advertisers love digital video more than users. And even ad buyers are wondering if this will pan out.
While there may be a lot of video out there, there’s still more demand for good video than there is supply. Barry Lowenthal, president of The Media Kitchen, is a big proponent of video, particularly as a way to persuade people who aren’t aware of or haven’t made their mind up about a brand. And video quality has generally gotten better.
“But we don’t want everyone going to video,” he said. “It’s expensive. Not everyone does it well. Not all users are ready for video. There’s a lot more crap than there is premium. CPMs are still pretty high — that says to me there’s a shortage.”
Publishers that are relatively new to video have improved at it. But the expectations have increased, too. Ten years ago, “it was just about amassing quantity,” said Christine Peterson, digital investment lead for Mindshare in the U.S. People are spending more time watching video, and advertisers are scrutinizing video more closely for the right talent and whether the right audience is watching it and returning, suggesting the video is making an emotional connection to viewers.
“There’s still more need for high-quality video content,” she said. “There’s a much more fine microscope on quality.”
The trouble is, it’s near impossible for publishers to monetize text with advertising alone. The best off have healthy subscription revenue streams. That’s a small club, though. And with advertisers and Facebook demanding video, it leads publishers to cut corners, using handy tools to string together photos and GIFs and call them video or passing off taped video as live.
Publishers’ biggest social video distributor, Facebook, has slowly begun cracking open the door to helping publishers make money from distributing video on the platform, but that, too, is far from being a meaningful source of revenue. Facebook is putting ads in the middle of publishers’ videos, but publishers haven’t cracked the formula for creating short social videos that are worthy of watching past the ad. “There’s definitely room for improvement in how to best capture the attention of the user,” said Alex Stone, vp of digital investment at Horizon Media.
The persistence of autoplay is another sign of how many publishers are trailing in video quality. It’s all over the place, even though it risks driving away audiences and advertisers, who are increasingly turning up their nose at such placements.
“Autoplay for advertising and autoplay for content is a bad experience,” said Bernard Gershon, president of GershonMedia, a publishing consulting firm. “There are obviously publishers who do it to bring up their play count. You’re going to get 10, 20 times the number of views you can sell to an advertiser. But even advertisers are getting wise. They want to be around high-quality content that appeals to a range of demographics.”
If you’re talking about making real money on video, though, it’s premium, high-quality video programming that creates an emotional connection with people that drives the highest rates and most revenue, and few traditional publishers have cracked that. Just doing sight, sound and motion doesn’t guarantee an emotional connection.
And with the likes of Amazon spending billions on original video and setting itself up to pick off video ad revenue from Google and Facebook, “you’re not going to compete unless you’re playing on that field,” Gershon said. “The printed word still creates a response and an emotion.”
Member ExclusiveFuture of TV Briefing: How the creator economy’s power balance has shifted since the era of multichannel networks
The Future of TV Briefing this week explores how the balance of power is shifting between individual video creators and the companies that have built businesses around them.
How publishers like ESPN are assessing their TikTok videos’ performance
Video makers are looking beyond standard view counts and monitoring their videos’ average completion rates, view growth rates and views from non-followers to better understand what appeals to audiences and TikTok’s algorithms.
Member ExclusiveFuture of TV Briefing: How the TV ad measurement landscape has changed since summer
The Future of TV Briefing this week reviews the flurry of activity on the TV ad measurement front since the summer when the Media Rating Council stripped Nielsen of its accreditation and NBCUniversal opened the doors to alternative providers.
SponsoredHow advertisers are shifting mindsets to succeed amid iOS 15 and other identity challenges
On top of the impending cookie deprecation, Apple’s recent iOS 15 changes are causing concern for many advertisers by affecting pixels, IP addresses and email addresses. While these upcoming changes may be concerning for many, shifting mindsets and getting away from a binary way of thinking with solutions being 100% contextual or 100% universal IDs […]
Tastemade adds programs to sell and manage subscriptions, events for creators
Creators are able to sell multi-tiered subscription packages through Tastemade as well as tickets to virtual and in-person events, with 85% to 90% of revenue going to the creator.
Member ExclusiveFuture of TV Briefing: Streaming services’ subscriber growth slowed during the third quarter of 2021
The Future of TV Briefing this week looks at the broad deceleration in quarter-over-quarter streaming subscriber growth that took place over the summer into the fall.