‘It’s still YouTube’: Video publishers talk about revenue potential on platform

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Facebook, YouTube and other social platforms offer scale to publishers looking to reach large — and new — audiences for their videos. For all the promises made by these distributors, which of them are helping video publishers generate significant — or, at the very least, consistent — revenue? At the Digiday Video Anywhere Summit in New Orleans, we asked a group of video executives about the platforms that offer the best chance for making money. Here’s what they said:

Tim Trevathan, head of revenue operations, Defy Media:
“It’s still YouTube. It’s as simple as that. People’s viewing habits have become concentrated, and that’s why the platforms are as big as they are. Our websites are still important to us, and they have an audience that we program to, but for video, most people don’t go to websites as much as they go to YouTube.”

Neil Katz, editor-in-chief and svp of content for The Weather Channel:
“Right this afternoon, there’s only one platform that pays any money, and that’s YouTube. Sixty days from now, we’re going to see if Facebook can do the same. Nobody — not even Facebook — knows what’s going to happen once their mid-roll ads start running widely. But Facebook is smart, and I’m optimistic that they’ll be able to solve monetization for video — they’re not going to walk away from the table until they’ve monetized all those video minutes. The question is, will they share enough with their partners to keep everyone happy? I hope they will.”

J.D. Crowley, evp of digital, CBS Radio:
“If you’re able to generate massive scale on a monetizable off-site platform — like YouTube — then there are a lot of dollars to be had. But if you want lasting value, the most profits are on your sites or a network that you run yourself.”

Isaac Showman, managing director, Reuters Consumer:
“The short-term way of making money is to get paid by platforms and distributors because there’s real money being spent on content there. The quickest way for Reuters to make money is to sell or license our content to a big distributor or social platform. But if you’re just starting out, do something creative on YouTube, Instagram or another social platform and create an audience and build a brand from that. The way to long-term value is creating a brand or characters that people can identify with and come back to consistently.”

Josh Rucci, gm of Bloomberg Media Distribution:
“It’s linear. Linear still provides the highest user engagement for longer periods in a day. It scales to any platform — terrestrial, satellite, desktop, mobile — as evidenced by players like YouTube and Hulu launching their own linear services. It’s the most exportable to other countries and regions, so it has global scale. It has the most stable revenue streams, in attracting both advertising and affiliate revenue, which often have long-term commitments. And it’s the most pliable, in being a source for program sales, short-form clips and raw video as ancillary revenue streams.”

Taylor Ablitt, CEO, Diply:
“We were born on Facebook, and even with the ups and downs we all go through as publishers on the platform, it’s still the best for connecting and building an audience. And even though Facebook doesn’t provide the best native tools to monetize on their platform — yet? — there’s a huge value in the scope and engagement of the audience you can build as a publisher on Facebook.”


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