Making Sense of Video Advertising “Anarchy”

June 10, 2007

In ancient video history (pre-2006, before “video” displaced “television” as the default term), advertising meant buying time for placing television commercials and, occasionally, infomercials. The only variables were the length of the spot, and where and when they were placed.

Then YouTube came along and dumped all the apples out of the cart. Today, we have anarchy and uncertainty. Or maybe we should consider the expanding options to be more like a smorgasbord of new opportunities. If so, here are some of marketers’ choices:

Sponsored videos, produced for a fee by semi-professional usertainers, and spread via their fan bases.

Video usertising contests, such as those mounted by Doritos and others that were hits at February’s Super Bowl. 

Contextual, Google-style text ads displayed next to videos (just beginning to emerge, but certain to be HUGE).

Product placements — a specific form of sponsored videos.

Subversive campaigns — deliberate “viral mysteries,” inspired by the success of lonelygirl15.

How-to videos — a form of sponsored videos or product placements.

Emerging mobile formats, which presumably will include associating videos with Twitter postings.

Widgetized video — and it’s worth mentioning that associating such videos with abbreviated text ads looks like a good bet.

Proliferation of web-only video networks — ranging from content-development plays such as Michael Eisner’s Vuguru, to a host of well-financed YouTube clones and variations (such as Joost) waiting in the wings.

Online initiatives undertaken by traditional television networks and channels.

Re-invention of POTS (plain-old television service) as TV and TV advertising adapt to online innovations.

Half a dozen other options I haven’t thought of.

Did I say smorgasbord?


BusinessWeek Proposal: Video’s Limits, or Infancy?

June 2, 2007

bw_255×65.gifThis week’s reports that BusinessWeek is considering launching its own YouTube-style video channel points to an interesting question: Does such an initiative strain the limits of where user-generated video can go, or does it instead just scratch the surface?

Some aspects of the proposed BusinessWeek program struck me as perhaps pushing the limit. A user-generated business-ideas contest, on a mainstream business website? For that matter, is a buttoned-down brand like BusinessWeek suitable to UGC video at all, given that the form thus far tends to be dominated largely by humor and assorted oddities? And then there’s the matter of unruly commenters and irreverant response videos. Oh, and what about the tendency of users to hijack a UGC site (as Digg recently learned) if it shows the least tendency to attempt to “control” their behavior?   

Granted, the emergence of Internet video as a platform opens huge opportunities for BusinessWeek and other established business-media outlets. The question is, would they be better off taking a more conventional approach — or if unconventional, something (I have no idea what) that doesn’t even remotely resemble YouTube?

If nothing else, we’re full-bore into experimentation. Who knows, this proposed initiative by BusinessWeek may soon end up looking tame.