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March 2007 Marketing Archives

Friday, March 09, 2007

Personalized Web Video Coming to TV

Yesterday I posted (again) about how we need a standard and simple way to organize web video content and deliver it to TVs through cable boxes or DVRs such as TiVo. Just as you can do today with MyYahoo or other RSS readers to save textual content, you could save video feeds or individual pieces of content to your video vault and have it accessible online or on TV.

I ran the idea past Suranga Chandratillake, Founder and CTO of video search engine blinkx. His e-mailed response:

We are look(ing) at exactly that ... I just wish I could tell you more. What you describe will happen soon.


- you log into the blinkx site, set up 'channels' based on topics/searches
- when you go home you can click onto 'channel blinkx' which has these saved searches right in front of you.
- you can then click on those and see content that matches that channel stream, back-to-back.

So coming soon, a personalized TV channel that shows your favorite web content. It will be interesting to see how much of a role ads will play.

Personalized Web Video Coming to TV By John Gartner at 07:01 PM
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False Impression: Web Publishing Is Easy

While many publishers are trying to get rich through online media, most are dying trying. Internet guru Tim O'Reilly writes that building a $50 million web publishing business requires incredible amounts of traffic given the low ad rates currently offered.

Even thought internet ad dollars are expected to keep flowing during the next few years, the fastest path to getting the millions of impressions per month is by aggregating content instead of building an uber-content site.

Because of this advertisers will have to adjust to the network model and become comfortable with having ads on a variety of sites. Ad networks will be of greater importance in verifying the credibility and worth of the dozens of unknown publishers that may be on the network.

Reporting -- through tracking individual website performance and monitoring click fraud -- will be paramount as advertisers get comfy working with smaller blogs and independent publishers.

False Impression: Web Publishing Is Easy By John Gartner at 02:22 PM
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

TiVo-Amazon Put Downloads on TV

Things are looking up a bit for TiVo. The company reported higher revenue and launched a service with Amazon that brings video downloads to TV.

TiVo still lost nearly $19 million during its fourth quarter of 2006, but that's down from a $22 million loss the previous year. Revenue was up 22 percent, which is encouraging, but the company that is loved by users but not investors still has to work on relationship building to be profitable.

The deal with Amazon enables customers to buy or rent movies or TV programs online and have them saved to their TiVos. This is very convenient, and I'm not so worried about Amazon's Unbox only being available to Windows users since Apple and Unix users are a small fraction of the world.

TiVo needs to embrace ad-supported video content as well since the company's ability to track consumer viewing habits is an advertiser's wet dream. TiVo could track the pre-roll and post roll ads that are being watched on downloaded videos. A partnership with a video search engine such as Blinkx or YouTube for subscribing to RSS feeds and showing them on TiVo (which I call DVRSS) would benefit advertisers and companies looking to bridge the PC to TV gap.

TiVo-Amazon Put Downloads on TV By John Gartner at 12:59 PM
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The Like-Minded Fallacy

Marketers never stop in developing new ways to match people to products that might interest them based on the things their peers like. For instance, market intelligence company Umbria is developing "tribe analysis" software that finds patterns between buying behaviors across seemingly unrelated product categories.

The software will identify if people who own flat screen TVs also like hybrid cars. The probably with this thinking is that people's tastes are as unique as snowflakes, and that even if you can get a majority of folks to agree on two things, you will still be paying a premium for all of the people who disagree.

How many of your closest friends can you find with three things in common -- such as the car they drive, the place they like to visit most, and the type of ethnic food they like to eat? I bet it's not so easy, even if you went to the same school and are at similar age and income level.

Netflix has been running a contest offering $1 million to anyone who can develop a recommendation engine that does a better job than what Netflix currently does at predicting the movies that you would like. The Technology Evangelist has interesting suggestion -- allow friends to recommend movies.

This would be a good PR move for Netflix and would encourage more renting of movies, but probably won't be an improvement over their current system for the reasons stated above. Spouses can't agree on movies that they like and even the best of friends diverge on interest in genres and affinity for individual films.

The answer is that marketers need to address the audience of one and personalize the ads based on the individual. An ad network such as Google or ValueClick should embed a thumbs up or down button into all of their ads, like TiVo offers. If you don't like the category of an ad (like dating services or SUVs), then you don't see those ads anymore. They could provide an incentive (say a $10 coupon at the merchant of your choice) in return tracking your data, which is protected.

It would be more effective to ask me what I like than trying to guess based on my age or a single purchase.

The Like-Minded Fallacy By John Gartner at 09:41 AM
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

MTV Takes on MySpace and YouTube

MTV used to own the 13-25 year-old media market, and they are determined to get it back. MTV Networks, which also owns Comedy Central, will build thousands of websites in support of its TV programs and let loose its archives with ad-supported free video.

Reuters has the lowdown on MTV's grand plans to double online revenues this year by putting more content online and allowing visitors to edit and share video clips. Folks that had been spending time building MySpace pages and watching YouTube videos will start tracking their favorite bands and shows through MTV.

While MTV is being the most aggressive today, all of the networks are realizing that this is the future and that online revenue could someday rival the money they get from TV advertising. Advertisers can expect a massive influx of inventory as consumers will create millions of music video and content mash-ups featuring their favorite shows.

The NBA announced a similar effort recently, and I've been waiting for this to happen for months. Advertisers need to become comfortable with mashups of the best bits from Colbert or Reno 911 as being valuable content to advertise against.

I wouldn't be surprised that if by the end of the year that MTV Networks is worth more than YouTube, and getting nearly as much traffic.

MTV Takes on MySpace and YouTube By John Gartner at 03:10 PM
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No Ads, No Video Search

Video search sites are finding making money a challenge, and that's because they haven't found an effective method of integrating advertising. While Google (via YouTube) has traffic and Blinkx has great technology, but not enough exposure, they both have no choice but to integrate pre-roll or post roll ads.

Writing for MediaPost, Aaron Goldman suggests that Google would be smart to buy Blinkx, which has relationships with legitimate media companies and superior video search technology. While Blinkx would make Google better, partnering with a video ad network would bring either company's video search to profitability much sooner.

YouTube users are accustomed to watching video ad free, but those days are numbered. Think back to online music - Napster and Kazaa and others convinced people for a time that music could be had for free, and publishers were slow to start selling their archives online. Along came iTunes, and now it's cool to pay for downloads.

The same thing will happen with video. While users won't love watching a 5-10 second clip before during or after a video, they won't stop watching entertaining clips just because they have ads. While the first video sites might temporarily see a downturn in traffic, the crowds will return if the only way to see exploding soda bottles, news, or clips from The Daily Show.

People will adapt to the TV model relatively quickly if the content is worth it, so finding a strategic partner to deliver ads is the way for Google, Blinkx, and their competitors to go. Someone has to "blink" and start consistently delivering ads, and the rest will follow.

No Ads, No Video Search By John Gartner at 02:27 PM
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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why Online Trumps TV Ads

Online video ads are a better buy than TV, and as the audience grows, the money will follow. Media buyer Jim Meskauskas of ICON International make a strong case for online video because it is more measurable.

Rather than paying for a percentage of an audience that may or may not have seen your ad (especially in the TiVo era), video ads are only delivered when someone is watching. Advertisers are slowly learning that they will get a better bang for their buck online, and many advertisers, such as Microsoft who have advertised on TV are reallocating their ad budgetsto online video.

It will be interesting to see how the growth in video content and advertising affects the search industry. Will the visual medium convince people who have been only spending on search online to shift resources? Will videos with embedded ads - or video ads themselves -- start showing up in search results?

Why Online Trumps TV Ads By John Gartner at 02:39 PM
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Video Ad Network Targets Content

YuMe Networks launched a video ad network that matches content with ads and restricts campaigns based on geography.
The network uses technology that "looks" inside video to discover the content and categorize into ad-friendly topics such as automotive or finance. The company says it is safe to use with user generated video because it can automatically flag inappropriate content.

Companies including IBM, Google, and Microsoft have been spending millions trying to develop video sensing technology, and no one has perfected the process as yet. An easier solution would be requiring video providers to tag their content, which would make life much simpler for publishers and advertisers. Video publishers should agree on standard tags using XML.

Being able to direct video to specific region will encourage local advertisers who don't want to pay to stream ads out of their markets. YuMe integrates the ads into the video so that separate video downloads can be created for different regions.

Video advertising is still in its infancy but is catching up to display and search advertising technology in a hurry. This should close some of the gap between video content and ad dollars.

Found via Adotas.

Video Ad Network Targets Content By John Gartner at 01:40 PM
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Monday, March 05, 2007

Google's Click Fraud Spin

Google is again on the PR trail to defuse concerns about click fraud on its network, but to paraphrase Shakespeare, the company "doth protest too much."

Google said in December that click fraud was only 2 percent, but now says it has identified click fraud rates of only two-hundredths of one percent. As Donna Bogatin points out, the company is actually revealing more than it should in stating that it can only identify 2 out of 10,000 clicks as being fraudulent.

Since most advertisers believe (and with good reason) that the click fraud rate is at least 10 percent, that means that Google is only able to identify a tiny fraction of fraudulent clicks. It's like someone saying that global warming isn't reducing ice caps by studying the weather in Australia -- they aren't looking hard enough or in the right places.

Google is now letting advertisers block IP addresses, but that ain't enough. Google is only digging themselves deeper into a credibility hole by pretending that there is very little click fraud.

If Google wants to be believed, the company should hire a reputable third party to track clicks on their network, and invite advertisers to contribute data to the project. Only by allowing independent analysis will people start to believe Google on this topic.

Google's Click Fraud Spin By John Gartner at 01:28 PM
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Search Engines Go Vertical

They may not be stealing headlines or raising tens of millions like they did in the 90's, but search engine startups continue to find a niche. Health, travel, shopping and visual search are among the most popular categories for launching a new search engine, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Silicon Valley and San Francisco are returning to their former glories as the places to be to launch a search startup. There's still VC to be had, and lots of talented engineers and designers available. Niche search engines have more modest goals in trying to do one thing better than Google and Yahoo.

There is plenty of opportunity to improve search, and exclusion rather than inclusion could be the quickest path to improving the quality of results. Since everyone who can type has some sort of web presence, it is even more challenging to find quality information from reputable sources.

I'd like to see vertical search engines that restrict the web to "trusted" resources only as a way to consistently provide the best answers. For example, a search engine could limit results to the best mainstream and alternative information sources and track individuals' search habits to customize the results. If you care about cars, a search engine could pick the top 200 vehicle websites and blogs, because the odds are you'd find just about everything you'd want their.

Individuals could choose to block or add individual domains as their needs dictate. Don't want academic research (.edu) domains, or only care about information from North America? No problem. If a user consistently chooses results from a handful of publishers, then push those sites up to the top of the rankings. If you care about search marketing you could probably build a list of 25 sites that would cover 90 percent of everything you need from search.

While search engines are amazingly fast, narrowing the search universe and creating "do it yourself" engines could greatly increase the quality of results.

Search Engines Go Vertical By John Gartner at 10:28 AM
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Friday, March 02, 2007

Video Affiliates: Smart Like a Fox

Fox Television's decision to sell and stream video of its television program through local TV affiliates is a smart move in making content more readily available to increase revenue.

Fox will offer programs as downloads for $1.99 or as ad-supported streams on the day after airing. Fox has been slow to stream program's on, so diving in and allowing affiliates is a clear change in philosophy.

Local affiliates aren't getting much traffic or revenue today so this should help a little, but the real money will be in embracing fans. I've been saying for months that the TV networks should develop affiliate programs to let fans and publishers promote videos and sell downloads.

Fox now has the revenue sharing model down; the company just needs to open it up so that people passionate about "24" or "House," can embed links to entire shows or distribute clips. Enabling mash-ups of clips is the ultimate in free publicity, and that should be coming soon.

Video Affiliates: Smart Like a Fox By John Gartner at 03:46 PM
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Digg Can Still Be Rigged

A freelance writer for Wired News got her lame blog put on the front page of digg thanks to the help of the "gamers" at User/Submitter. Writer Annalee Newitz paid $100 to generate lots of traffic and even got some legitimate diggs from people who wanted to vote for something that was getting traction. This shows that marketers with no morals can work the social networking circuit to their advantage. Among the ratings websites based on reader popularity, digg is like Microsoft's Internet Explorer -- it's the most popular, so people will work harder to expose its faults. The great thing about social recommendation sites such as digg, reddit and others is that so many people can easily get involved. However, because the masses are encouraged to participate, these sites will inevitably fall victim to the unscrupulous marketers who put a quick buck ahead of integrity. While digg may take some legitimate heat for allowing its system to be worked, the enmity should be directed towards User/Submitter and the like (including spyware and spam companies) who will contradict the intent of the open internet and make it a little less valuable.

Digg Can Still Be Rigged By John Gartner at 12:10 PM
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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bad Video Holds Back Ads

A survey commissioned by ClipBlast shows that the people watching video are most frustrated by the quality-to-crap ratio on video search engines. Danny Sullivan makes some great points in his analysis of how technology can address the problem, but we can't underestimate the importance of people rating content.

The problem of too much noise in video also affects advertisers, who would like to participate more in online video if they could be assured that the content that they would be advertising against isn't a) infringing on copyrights, b)doesn't contain objectionable material and c) is actually worth watching.

Perhaps ad agencies can help to connect advertisers with quality content. Agencies could form relationships with YouTube, Blinkx, and Blip.TV and find the content that is worthy of their clients investments. The video provider could suggest likely content and provide the volumes, and the agencies could pick the videos that are best suited to their needs. Agencies could catch onto to videos likely to become popular and book the ads before videos go viral and generate hundreds of thousands of impressions. Conservative companies could specify videos made only by professionals.

Advertisers want to know where they are being displayed, hence Google's announcement that it will share the websites where AdSense campaigns run. This goes double for video, where there is a high percentage of crap.

Bad Video Holds Back Ads By John Gartner at 01:27 PM
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Search Owns Ad Dollars

Search marketing will continue to be the dominant revenue source for online advertise for the foreseeable future. What does that say about the effectiveness of other forms of advertising?

According to investment bank Jefferies & Co. (as quoted by MediaPost, keyword search advertising represents 40 percent of advertising revenue and will be a $14 billion industry in 2010.

Worldwide online advertising will reach $60 billion by 2010, indicating that search's share will be declining over time.

Search advertising remains popular because ads are based on requests for information. So search marketing attempts to give people want they want. On the other hand, anticipating what people are interested in through behavioral and target marketing should become a more effective solution.

People use search because they don't know where to find something. Search is the first step towards matching consumers with the information (be it a purchase or context). But informed consumers theoretically should know where to get good prices on sneakers or to read about interesting cities in Italy to visit. Every search for sneakers is a defeat for the agencies that are promoting footwear in other forms of advertising.

Using technology that analyzes prior behaviors (including search data) on the sites that people regularly visit negates the need to use search. You should haven't to do a search to see ads that match the things that you like -- ad networks should be smart enough to know what you are interested in most cases. There is still much work to be done on behavioral and target marketing, so search has a few more years of riding the gravy train. But those days may not last forever.

Search Owns Ad Dollars By John Gartner at 10:34 AM
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March 2007 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (14 entries) March 1-10
  • Week 2 (10 entries) March 11-17
  • Week 3 (10 entries) March 18-24
  • Week 4 (12 entries) March 25-31

MTV Takes on MySpace and YouTube
MTV might actually have an edge if over everyone e...
by Motiono
False Impression: Web Publishing Is Easy
I would tend to agree. I'm trying something ...
by Brian King
MTV Takes on MySpace and YouTube
It looks more and more like Google may have made a...
by Mark Metz
Digg Can Still Be Rigged
I agree with all this except the last sentence. Y...
by Damon Hastings

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