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May 2007 Marketing Archives

Thursday, May 03, 2007

OnHollywood: Getting High CPMs from User Generated Content

Sites such as YouTube have tremendous traffic, but making money is difficult because the CPMs for videos of skateboarding accidents are so low. DaveTV is carving out a niche by developing high CMP sites heavy on user participation that expand the reach of known brands.

"In user generated world such as MySpace, CPMs are 50 cents or less. YouTube is getting maybe $5, according to Rex Wong, CEO of DaveTV. His company (which I at first thought was just another upload site) focuses on packaging video and community to increase traffic to known brands and media sites. Wong said he has been getting $30 and higher CPM for video on a branded site, and $6 for banners.

DaveTV has worked with MGM to build a site for the Stargate TV show, and advertisers are willing to pay more because it is a known demographic. The site enables visitors to create video mashups of show clips, to produce parodies, and to rate and comment on content. DaveTV also developed Hook.tv, a site dedicated to fly fishing. To make sure advertisers are comfortable with the UGC, DaveTV filters content to make sure it is not offensive. "With a trusted brand, advertisers are more confident in what they are getting more than a UGC site."

To drive traffic to the vertical sites such as Hook.TV, before the site launches, DaveTV identifies the top "alpha" bloggers that are interested in the vertical. "Blogs are where you go to get traffic, and press releases are where you go to get credibility," Wong said. They also submit videos to YouTube and search engines such as blinkx to makes sure the videos get indexed.

This all makes sense, and DaveTV is smart to avoid trying to compete in the wide open and as yet unprofitable area of user generated content sites. Established brands with proven demographics will have the advantage over startups in generating revenue.

OnHollywood: Getting High CPMs from User Generated Content By John Gartner at 01:34 PM
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OnHollywood: Avatars Give Content Life

I've never been much of a believer in virtual worlds or avatars as revenue generating or business tools, but SecondLife and Oddcast are doing their best to persuade me. Adi Sideman, CEO of Oddcast, told me about how stickiness and return visits can skyrocket when websites from customer service to sales to personal websites include avatars and human voices.

Interactivity certainly gets your attention, and Oddcast has been working with publishers including ESPN and Comedy Central to enliven their content with avatars. The company licenses the technology to corporation and gives away avatars to individuals to embed in their websites. Oddcast generates revenu by putting branded wrappers around or behind the avatars. Avatars can promo products or be included in emails.

Sideman says avatars add personalized expression while allowing the individual to not include pictures of themselves, since not everyone is comfortable with digital cameras. We can expect to see avatars showing up on MySpace and at retailers. Like it or not, onced they start becoming commonplace, publishers will have to consider adding avatars or risk having their sites seem static by comparison

OnHollywood: Avatars Give Content Life By John Gartner at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

OnHollywood: New Journalism Requires New Rules

Bambi Francisco, a longtime journalist with CBS Marketwatch recently left the organization to pursue a venture that she started called Vator.tv. She started the website, which enables startups looking for capital investment to post videos about their companies and receive feedback from Francisco and other, in September. She disclosed the site to her bosses at Marketwatch, which was comfortable with the arrangement.

Some news reports claimed a conflict of interest because she had invested in the company (she is the founder) and had written about Peter Thiel, the primary financial backer of Vator.tv. After the news reports, Francisco decided to hasten her decision to leave Marketwatch.

Francisco's only reference to Thiel after she started Vator.tv was mentioning that he was on the board of startup Powerset, which she was writing about. Duing a chat with Francisco at OnHollywood about the changing rules governing journalist/entrepreneurs, she admitted that in retrospect she should have mentioned that she had a business relationship with Thiel. That disclosure probably would have diffused much of the criticism that led to her quick departure from Marketwatch.

While reviewing startups and allowing them to post videos might have the appearance of improprietary for a financial columnist, Francisco said she has does not charge companies to place their videos on Vator.tv, nor does or will she work as a consultant for startups. So her assessments, as well as those of Vator.tv contributors, can be perceived as being without bias for financial reasons. Vator.tv, which is relaunching in a few weeks, will take money from ads and sponsorships, just like thousands of other online publications.

But what Francisco wants to do is no different than what many bloggers are doing -- running a website that offers analysis and accepts ads to pay for it. Many writers also have personal blogs and receive a small amount of income, but the difference is that she upped the ante because she is an accomplished columnist and by creating a company that took an investment from a well known investor.

The standards that journalists are held to is changing as more personalities decide to test being entrepreneurs. Should they be prohibited from writing just because they own a website that accepts ads? That seems a very high bar (and one that I will be measured by soon as well). Would the same "scandal" have arisen if CBS Marketwatch gave Francisco a small interest in itself? Probably not. Athletes can own part of the teams that they play for, so why not journalists?

Journalists see the opportunity of being their own bosses, and preventing them from having ownership of publishing ventures seems unfair -- as long as there is disclosure. Similarly, Arianna Huffington writes and owns Huffington Post at the same time, and that is acceptable. Historically writing for the NYTimes or CNN gave instant credibility to a writer. But the world of blogging and internet publishing has opened up ownership, and puts the onus on the reader community to decide who should or should not be a trusted source.

I'll post the full interview with Francisco later, and you can decide for yourself.

OnHollywood: New Journalism Requires New Rules By John Gartner at 06:20 PM
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Kyte: Post Video Once, Deliver Everywhere

I spoke with KyteTV CEO Daniel Graf today and he demonstrated his publishing platform for using a cell phone, webcam or digital camera to create custom TV channels. By creating a channel, you can snap a picture or video and have it simultaneously pushed to your blog, other websites, MySpace page and mobile phones.

You can create slide shows and add poll questions with a few clicks. Also, online chat with others watching the channel is built in, which could come in handy for auction services like eBay. The technology is really slick -- I guess the highest compliment is that it looks like it could have been developed by the iPod or iMovie teams. Missing so far is the ability to post your own audio, but Graf says it is in the works.

Since it will be a free service for consumers, the question is how does Kyte make money? Graf says there are 3 potential revenue streams -- the TV model of delivering a mass audience to sponsors, premium subscriptions, where friends and family can share private channels, and professional publishers who can license the technology.

Im confident that this will be the coolest thing I see at OnHollywood. Graf freely admits that the revenue models are still up in the air, so for now he is focused on building an audience. I'm sure it will get traction and build buzz. Monetizing will be another question.

Kyte: Post Video Once, Deliver Everywhere By John Gartner at 04:20 PM
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Video: Never Meta Data It Didn't Like

If a video file is posted but it isn't tagged, does it really exist?

OnHollywood's session this morning on content delivery included several companies that allow people to publisher their own channels and consumers to create their own channels to watch.
The common thread between presentations from Move Networks to CozmoTV to Gotuit.com is that customization that enables people to identify relevant content is critical to the growth of online video content.

For this to happen -- meaning for distributors and advertisers to find a relevant audience -- all boils down to meta data. Publishers need to develop a common tagging architecture, and consumers need a dead simple way to tag, rate, and comment on content to make it useful.

As Gotuit's Mark Pascarella said, video is moving from linear "prime time" watching to non-linear watching of tagged clips, such as NHL highlights. Describing the content is essential for advertisers to want to participate.

We need a universal tagging structure similar to technorati or del.icio.us that publshers and consumers can use to sort through what is becoming an avalanche of video content. Without it, we'll have an overwhelming mess of un-indexed video that won't satisfy anyone.

Video: Never Meta Data It Didn't Like By John Gartner at 02:04 PM
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OnHollywood: Breaking the Breaking News Code

The OnHollywood conference this morning is having a session on the changing face of news online.

Who spoke:
Kara Swisher, Co-Producer, D: All Things Digital
Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor, Huffington Post
Alan Citron, General Manager, TMZ.com
Kevin Rose, Founder, Digg

Kara asked Arianna about promiscuity on the web and the integration of print and online. Arianna said it is no longer a choice of print or online, but both. She said that users don't have to choose either, such as being forced to choose between "Ginger or Marianne." It's going to be a threesome," Arianna said. Kara said that that was fine by her, "as long as Mrs. Howell isn't involved."

My Take: No kidding. A newspaper isn't something that comes out once or twice a day, it is ongoing operation, and nearly every publisher is rapidly embracing the idea. While this increases the cost of staying relevant, the cost per news story and ability of publishers to leverage reporter's expertise is huge.

Kevin was asked about the Digg rebellion from yesterday. He said contributors posted code used to imprint HD DVDs which could be in violation of the DMCA. They got a cease and desist order, and after consulting with Digg's lawyers, they took the posts down. "Our community rebelled against it" posting code strings thousands of times, claiming posting the code is free speech. After internal deliberations, Kevin said "we reversed our decision and allowed the code to be posted." We will take our chances and face the lawsuits.

My take: Digg underestimated the opposition of censorship in its users and should not have taken the code down so quickly. They learned an important lesson, and any legal costs will be worth the "cred" they get with users. More updates soon.

Update: Arianna talked about how the mainstream media misses stories and has a short attention span, quickly moving on from important issues. She said mainstream media should be following Digg's lead to track the pulse of reader interest in topics. She said "the blogosphere acts as a court of appeals. When MSM drops a story, blogosphere takes it up to further the story and provide a narrative, and forces the MSM to take another look.

My take: Editors used to decide what was a story, but now citizen journalists, bloggers, and commenters to a great degree will determine what stories are kept alive. However, CNN and the entertainment programs will continue to keep unimportant stories such as Anna Nicole Smith going until the next celeb scandal takes its place.

OnHollywood: Breaking the Breaking News Code By John Gartner at 11:43 AM
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OnHollywood: Where Digital Media Meets

Last night was the beginning of OnHollywood at the historic Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. This should be a very interesting coupla days of schmoozing and learning about what's next in online music, video and social networking.

I was hanging out with marketing guru Renee (I know everyone on the planet) Blodgett, which always includes ample doses of surprising moments. She's the Kevin Bacon of the online/technology world -- everything that happens somehow passes through her.

I met Mariana Danilovic, the VP of business development at MediaZone, a video distribution company that broadcasts free and pay-for television. MediaZone features international programming plus sports and lifestyle programming. Content can be downloaded, and they also wrap it in community features so that you can chat about programs while you watch.

Speaking of video, I briefly met Alexander Rowland, the CEO of CozmoTV. CozmoTV groups content into channels to help sort through the YouTube maze and simplify finding relevant content. Users can also customize feeds based on tags to create their own channels.

It was refreshing to hear talk that extended beyond the Web 2.0 bubble. Chase Norlin, CEO of image and video search company Pixsy and Kevon Saber, the co-founder of game site GenPlay Games were talking about solving poverty and homelessness, of all things. Things should get even more interesting today as the event officially starts.

OnHollywood: Where Digital Media Meets By John Gartner at 08:39 AM
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Heading to OnHollywood

I'm heading to LA today to cover the AlwaysOn OnHollywood conference.

It will be interesting seeing what the digital media movers and shakers have to say about the future of entertainment, marketing, and advertising will be there. I'll cut through the noise and hype to fill you in on how Hollywood is shifting online.

If you will be attending and would like to chat, contact me at gartner-dot-john at gmail.com or just introduce yourself and I'll be happy to talk.

Heading to OnHollywood By John Gartner at 09:44 AM
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Content Clearinghouse Mochila Adds Craig Calder

Content distribution company Mochila hired Craig Calder, a veteran of the NYTimes, TheStreet.com, and DoubleClick, as chief marketing officer.

Mochila's mission is simple: use technology to understand the value of content and monetize it by licensing or ad-supported distribution. The company analyzes meta data to match content producers with buyers and with advertisers. Through the power of XML, the company can chunk content to find where it is most valuable.

The business model allows licensees to distribute content and share the revenue with the author (and Monchila). It's an interesting model because it allows content producers to focus on what they do best, and as long as they are open-minded about where their content appears, extract the maximum value from it.

Content is king, but it in today's world of blogging and commenting on others work, it is also a commodity. That's a tough reality for some content companies to swallow, but the small ones will take advantage of the opportunity.

Content Clearinghouse Mochila Adds Craig Calder By John Gartner at 09:34 AM
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May 2007 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (9 entries) May 1-5
  • Week 2 (5 entries) May 6-12
  • Week 3 (6 entries) May 13-19
  • Week 4 (6 entries) May 20-26
  • Week 5 (2 entries) May 27-31

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