Furthermore, for those who are producing content for third parties – such as social media platforms – whether there is the danger they are simply mortgaging their own future, taking the money now, but not having any in the future?
These were just two of the questions in a lively discussion on monetising video, hosted by Laurie Benson, CEO, Upnexxt and featuring speakers from TV production company Endemol and publishers Golf Digest and Refinery29.
One particularly interesting area that the discussion explored was around scale. Unlike Golf Digest and Refinery 29, TV production company Endemol (which is responsible for shows such as diverse as Mr Bean, Big Brother and Peaky Blinders) doesn’t have its own digital platform.
Instead it is using large social media platforms, such as Facebook, to distribute some of its 100,000 hours of TV content to users. While Endemol’s traditional clients are broadcast companies, its new clients are increasingly digital subscription services.
“Putting content on social media has helped us to grow our reach, as well as create a lot more buzz around our new content,” explains Andrew Crofoot, head of digital distributions and partnerships, Endemol Shine Group, UK. “People want to be able to consume content wherever they are, which is often on social media,” he adds.
Similarly, Refinery 29 – with its video platform aimed mostly at young women – has used Facebook to great effect. This include Shortcuts, a make up and beauty tips programme which, because it’s language agnostic, can be enjoyed globally.
It has also partnered with Beachside on a powerful comedy series called Strangers, which appears on Facebook’s new streaming video platform, Facebook Watch, VP of International Strategy and Development Kirstin Cardwell said.
So how do the platforms make money from video?
While Endemol’s Crofoot admits that much of its online content is about building the company’s brand online, it is also partnering with Facebook on its new mid-roll advertising platform: Facebook Ad Breaks. Likewise, Refinery29 is also working with Facebook Ad Breaks on monetising its video content. “It’s still early days but we are making money from it,” said Cardwell.
None of Endemol or Refinery29 has seen a major drop-off after the ad is shown. “As long as the mid-roll is placed where they are hooked, they will wait until after the ad is shown to watch the rest of the content,” said Cardwell.
For Golf Digest, which is part of Condé Nast, being able to secure worldwide exclusive rights for content at no extra cost is crucially important to ensure a return on investment from video production. With an audience of 10 million and 30 international editions, Golf Digest provides mainly evergreen, instructional videos that can be monetised globally via its platforms.
Content is not always that expensive to produce, said Angela Byun, senior director international development and strategy, Golf Digest USA. “You don’t necessarily need huge budgets,” she says. “We recently produced a series of still images of Tiger Woods for a story which attracted two million views.”
Although much of Golf Digest’s content is free, it is currently experimenting with putting some of its premium videos behind a paywall. Inevitably, this doesn’t attract so many eyeballs but it does help command a premium, including for advertising which can’t be a bad thing, she said.
In summary, what is clear from the conversation is that distribution of video across social platforms can develop and command large audiences for publishers, building brands. When it comes to monetisation, as with so many other things, it’s all a work in progress.
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