Video, ad revenue and the overburdened publisher
How many of you know that Morgan Stanley’s advisory services division drives more than 15 percent of that firm’s annual revenue? That should come as no surprise, although it’s still shocking that so few of us use financial advisors. Financial planning is a complex undertaking with trained professionals who do this for their living. What makes someone not trained on the thousands of particulars, think they can do as well? Keep that metaphor in your mind as you read on.
As with the above, the ever-changing video ad landscape is pushing publisher and content owners to work with partners who can guide them through the dozens of options and seemingly organized chaos of video advertising.
When Google bought YouTube in 2006, it triggered an explosion of video ad networks, platforms and exchanges in an attempt to be at the intersection where video-loving marketers meet video publisher/creators. But those needs vary significantly depending on the video supplier. NBA.com, and its live-streaming premium sports content, is significantly different from the private, nonprofit PBS.org. What MLB.com needs for managing advertising and eventual revenue sharing on its premium live streaming and recorded baseball content is not the same as what Break.com needs for its short-form, viral UGC hits.
There are numerous aspects to video monetization and vendors can solve some of these challenges. The problem is that too many content providers aren’t recognizing the complexity of video advertising and they’re trying tackle it themselves, at a detriment to their stated purpose, whether that’s content creation or aggregation.
Here’s a short list of the issues involved with monetizing online video. When you add in the exponential growth of mobile video and connected TV, you can see why publishers’ heads are spinning.
- Ad Serving: Some publishers, most notably premium or high-volume publishers, have ad sales teams that sell their inventory and need to distribute their sold campaigns across their traffic while respecting the numerous delivery criteria of their marketer clients.
- Backfill Ad Delivery: Regardless of whether or not publisher has its own sales team, it will always need to fill some of its unsold inventory with ads from third-party ad networks or video ad exchanges.
- Ad Delivery Configurations: Effectively using advertising within video is not as simple as “just turning it on!” Frequency controls and categorical blocking are just a few of the crucial settings that must be considered to respect the viewer experience and maintain the contractual obligations with the publisher’s various partners.
- Three screen: While PC/Web online video traffic has been seeing greater than 25 percent year-over-year growth, connected TV and mobile video are shaping up to be steeper hockey sticks. Both environments will have similar monetization needs, but each will have unique technical aspects that need to be handled.
- Analytics: No investor can effectively allocate his money among financial options without visibility into the performance of those investments. The same goes for publishers, who require sufficient reporting so that they can understand the ad sources and settings that are yielding maximum revenue for their inventory.
There’s a lot to handle, and I’m not touching on all of the complexities. Luckily, video-focuses supply-side platforms have emerged as effective partners for publishers, solving several of the above challenges.
LiveRail, a video advertising technology platform, recognizes that providing tools to media companies operating in the fast paced world of video advertising has obvious value to the supply-side of the media landscape. Their CEO Mark Trefgarne, explains "Publishers have come to learn that success with advertising is defined not only by the right content or relationships, but perhaps more importantly, by having the right technology solutions in place to ensure superior results for their bottom line."
Just as discount online brokerages like E-Trade have empowered the average Jane to buy and sell stocks as if she is on the NYSE floor, it is possible for publishers to cobble together homegrown solutions to manage their video monetization strategy. More often than not, both the stay-at-home investors and overburdened publishers will end up spinning their wheels and underperforming.
Online video, like investing, is a complex field. Anyone looking to capitalize in either field is better off working with an expert. Sell-side ad management platforms exist to help solve the growing number of challenges springing up as the industry advances. Publishers who work with these vendors are sure to see the benefits.
Jason Burke is VP, Product at Tremor Video (formerly Tremor Media) where he has responsibility for product strategy and technical business development. Tremor Video, the leading in-stream video advertising technology provider focused on delivering brand optimization and results for advertisers while maximizing brand impact and delivering unmatched transparency and measurability. Jason has over ten years of product management and development experience in online media and in enterprise business software where he has driven product and business strategy initiatives. Jason is based in Boston and has degrees in Computer Science and Engineering Psychology from Tufts University.