The biggest hurdles publishers face in monetizing digital video

Just about every publisher is pouring money into developing digital video, and it’s easy to see why: It’s the fastest growing format of the non-mobile display-related market, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, growing 17 percent to $3.3 billion from $2.8 billion in 2014. Other formats are flat or up in the single digits. But those are hard-earned dollars, as publishing executives know. At Digiday’s Publishing Summit in Miami this week, we rounded up some of them to ask: What’s your biggest challenge in monetizing video? In short, too many agencies are still trying to recycle their 30-second TV ads for the desktop and mobile. There are viewability requirements to be satisfied. What works for the advertiser often results in a bad user experience. Here are their answers in their own words, edited for clarity:

Austin Wignall, vp, ad product strategy, Fox Sports
Getting 30-second spots from advertisers. We have content that is 30 seconds or under 30 seconds, whether that’s editorial or league highlights. That is great for mobile, but the tariff you pay to watch it is equal. Our users are still willing to put up with that tax. But it’s about us wanting to deliver a better user experience. Getting platform-specific content is supremely important. We’re facing the challenge of missing out on the revenue or accepting a mass-market spot.

Rick Hamann, senior vp of content, The Onion
You’d be surprised how many advertisers are willing to work with us and our sensibility; it’s intelligent and not really talking down to readers. There’s quite a few who value our audience. But our biggest challenge is getting [ad] content that’s worthy of the audience. Having a 30-second pre-roll that’s far from our sensibility actually does a disservice to to our audience and our advertiser.

Shaun Koiner, chief product officer, Sporting News Media
Right now, it’s satisfying the viewability requirements, and using content that still comes from TV. And we spend a lot of money on rights from leagues, but people are still ripping GIFs from them. They can Vine that and watch it immediately. They’ll do that 100 times before they’ll sit and watch an ad. But if it’s a great play, we want to make you watch an ad for it.

Jeff Burkett, senior director of ad innovation, The Washington Post
The biggest problem is, pre-roll is one of the biggest reasons people are installing ad blockers. So we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face. Advertisers just aren’t adjusting their creative to the format. We think the user experience is super important. So after 15 seconds, we’ve started letting them skip the ad.

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