Hard to see clearly on online video monetisation

Guest post from Rob Kelly, Publishing Director, Magnetise Group

I found myself at the IAB Summer of Video Buyers & Sellers Debate recently, which made me ponder about the interim opportunities for monetising video content....

The floor was taken by the head of sales from Sky's online division and an influential digital planner/buyer. The initial question was along the lines of… 'Do re-purposed TV ads make the best online digital ads?' I voted with the derision that I felt this question deserved, this was too simple a solution, we work in new media you know. My problem with this is that one of new media's prime assets is the generation of interactivity, yet TV ads have hardly ever been interactive.

I started to think then about exactly what it is we mean by 'online video'. Video monetisation is a phrase that is bandied about, latching onto all sorts of disparate content, from user generated idiocy on YouTube, to more professional blogs, through to the near broadcast quality of some newspaper video content and finally to the broadcast material now being hosted online.

It appears that there is such a wide differential between the various types of content produced specifically for digital consumption, even before you add in the content that is coming to online from other sources. It is extremely difficult to lump them all together and apply the same monetisation solution.

This was brought home to me this weekend when I started sampling some shows on Seesaw, the initiative that arose from the ashes of Kangaroo. Project Kangaroo had its ups and downs, but was a worthy attempt to get TV content online. Ultimately it wasn't so much a Kangaroo as a camel, having been formed by committee, but at least we now have something. Seesaw offers a range of free and paid for content, with much of the free content being ad supported. It seems to me that there is a rule of thumb which means that we are willing to take more filler for more content, and will happily consume minutes worth of ads for longer premium content.

The experience of watching old TV shows (in my case back seasons of the I.T. Crowd, and a voyage into the past through Michael Palin’s Around the World in 80 Days,) is fundamentally different to watching a 2 minute report on Telegraph TV or Bloomberg and needs a completely different monetisation strategy. I am happy to sit through what is essentially a TV ad to watch TV content, but if I have to suffer Iggy Pop driving golf balls before I get the latest on updates on Sterling versus the Dollar, I won’t be happy and would probably go elsewhere for the information.

So back to the question of re-purposing TV ads for digital. One the one hand we have superb, linear creative already budgeted and paid for. On the other we have the wealth of true engagement opportunities brought to us by digital. While we're figuring out the future (which is bright, by the way!) why can't we simply combine the two? The next time I settle down with a cuppa to catch up on Michael Palin's adventures online, why not serve me a traditional TV ad for Heinz Tomato Ketchup, overlaid with an interactive creative that gives me a money off coupon, some recipes, links to social media communities and perhaps even some of that lovely digital content from the Heinz website, all without needing to leave the video page?

I for one would buy into it, like it (yes, I'd even 'like' it on Facebook too) and notch those sales up that little bit higher because of it. Innovation is everywhere, but to me the best examples come from using what you already have in a new, exciting way. We've taken a step towards that by using TV ads online, now let's take the next one together...

Rob Kelly, Magnetise.


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