I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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20 posts categorized "Video"

January 28, 2008

Ze Frank's Experience Embracing "UGC"

Podcast of Ze Frank's very entertaining presentation at a recent Rails conference here.   The second half of his talk, in which he describes "the anxiety of acceleration" that he experiences as his audience becomes his partner in producing content, is especially interesting and highly relevant for publishers pursuing user-generated-content.  Possibly NSFW, probably not.

December 04, 2007

My Mobile Internet World Interview for Bnet.tv

Monitor Group: Ceasar A. Brea by golemur

October 15, 2007

Online Video: That Sound You Hear Is The Dam Bursting

By various measures there are some $500 billion spent globally on advertising.  About 40% of this goes to TV, which is why Oxygen is worth a billion dollars to folks like NBC.

Yesterday I saw a press release in which Sony announced more content partnerships, with folks like CondeNet and Sports Illustrated, for the "Internet Video Link" service it packages with its BRAVIA high-def television sets.  Sony gets unique content it can sell ads against.  The online publishers presumably get a rev share on video assets they've already produced, and extra traffic going back to their sites.  If I understand how the service works, this completely bypasses the cable TV infrastructure by using whatever broadband you have available.   Memo to cable company, re: $100/month digital cable subscription:  "Ask not for whom the bell tolls..."

(Ok, you say, but why buy an HDTV if all you can watch is low-res Flash clips?  Not so fast.  See this interesting announcement from Brightcove and BitTorrent yesterday?  How long will it take Sony to add BitTorrent nodes into the   Internet Video Link modules on its sets?)

So, how do we know if Sony's video content bet is ultimately better than NBC's?

NBC paid $12 per Oxygen channel subscriber.  According to news reports, there are about 300k Oxygen viewers in prime time.  Let's assume of course that different people watch different shows each week, and that prime time is as popular as all other times combined.  So I figure that 300k prime time viewers translates into 1.2 million unique viewers per month (cross-check: Oxygen.com has 1.2m uniques).  OK, so $900 million (Oxygen's acquisition price), divided by 1.2m = $750 per unique viewer.  (NBC also has to continue producing programming and pay carriage fees to cable networks to continue to reach those viewers.) Against this up front and ongoing cost, Oxygen gets about $7/unique (per month of course, ~$100M in sales/ 1.2m uniques/12 months). Figure a 15% margin, and NBC's netting $1/unique out of that top line (Oxygen Media LLC didn't disclose income AFAIK).

I don't know the terms of Sony's rev share, or how they are placing those ads with advertisers.  Let's assume the overall split is 1/3 to each party (Sony, content partner, video ad network).   Let's assume a $30 gross CPM for the premium content.  So  Sony's getting $10 CPM.  If  I assume each unique is good for 25 impressions per week, this translates into $1/unique, but that's essentially cost-free (no programming, no carriage fees, no amortization of acquisition costs) if you ignore the cost of the Internet Video Link network infrastructure.  So, Sony's getting the same $/unique.

Now for the sound of the dam bursting:  if I'm an advertiser and I can pay an ad network $3/unique (split three ways between publisher, ad network, and Sony) to reach my audience of women watching TV via, say CondeNet content, vs. paying NBC $7/unique, and get better targeting and measurability (remember, this is *Internet* video), which do I prefer?

Seems to me Sony's got the better growth/ scalability story, though reach is more limited in the short term.

I'm not criticizing the Oxygen deal;  there are sure to be cross-promotional opportunities with iVillage that add to Oxygen's value to NBC (if a small fraction of iVillage's 15M uniques go to Oxygen, that's a huge leg up).  And of course, there are near-term limitations of Sony's Internet Video Link value proposition to advertisers: low reach (the number of people with Internet-ready HDTV sets), and low availability of content from its partners.   Plus, there are a number of apples-and-oranges problems with my analysis (like, are these ways of reaching viewers really the same?  Do they ultimately reach the same viewers?  Are viewers in the same frame of mind?). 

The broader point, though, is about the significant arbitrage that is appearing for advertisers between reaching TV viewers the old-fashioned way and the new-fangled way, and about the dramatic shifts in fortunes that will occur over the next couple of years as dollars flow accordingly.  It's a good time to be long high-quality video content, and to be aggressive about getting online with it.

May 18, 2007

Beyond The Click-Rush Climax: Content As The Once and Future King

Following last week's post, this week's news:

AOL buys Third Screen Media, WPP buys 24/7 Real Media, and now MSFT buys aQuantive for an 85% premium (congrats to my old Razorfish friends).

VLCK's out there if you have, oh, $4B lying around.   However, I'd be surprised if we saw another 2x deal, since it takes a lot of cash and a big market cap to absorb that kind of dilution.  OMC's a possibility given the logic of the WPP-24/7 deal, though it would be a more complicated deal, and like WPP, OMC might be tempted to look "deeper in the draft".

These moves by the big portals clearly raise the stakes for the big online publishers.  Not only do the portals control how traffic gets to them, but now they control even more of how ads are placed on them.

Continue reading "Beyond The Click-Rush Climax: Content As The Once and Future King" »

May 07, 2007

The Great Click Rush of 2007

Ad networks are hot, and in many cases highly-profitable businesses right now.  On the heels of Google's snapping up DoubleClick for $3 billion, Yahoo! bought (the 80% it didn't already own of) 4 year old  online display ad exchange Right Media last week for $680 million.  So, a logical question to ask is, who buys whom next?

Continue reading "The Great Click Rush of 2007" »

April 30, 2007

Video Search Part II: ScanScout

A week ago I had lunch with Waikit Lau, president and co-founder of ScanScout (http://scanscout.com).  Waikit, whom I got to know when I was at ArsDigita and he was part of the http://photo.net team a few years ago, describes ScanScout's video analysis technology like this (this is the shareable version): 

Continue reading "Video Search Part II: ScanScout" »

April 29, 2007

Think Viral, Act Tribal Part III: "Dissecting Numa Numa"

Last Thursday morning I attended a MITX Digital Marketing Series presentation titled "Dissecting Numa Numa: A Critical Analysis of Viral Video Content", given by Jeremi Karnell of One to One Interactive, Professor Jeffrey Bardzell of Indiana University's School of Informatics, and Dr. Carl Marci, Chief Science Officer at Innerscope Research.  The questions considered (my version):  why did this amateur work go as "viral" as it did, and how (well) can neuroscience help us predict viral media propagation?

Continue reading "Think Viral, Act Tribal Part III: "Dissecting Numa Numa"" »

April 24, 2007

Media as Software: A Conversation With Doug Turner

Kiki Mills at MITX introduced me recently to Doug Turner, whose past includes eight years as a member of the 3D graphics research team at Apple's Advanced Technology Group.  Doug and I met for breakfast and talked shop about digital media.  One of Doug's ideas, which I found particularly interesting, is (his words) the concept of "media as software".  Right now rich media streams are largely analog audio and video once they are "published".  (If you've composed or edited a digital video "project" and then converted it into its final form, you know what I mean.)  Doug describes this  as publishing digital media as platforms on which other people can add/edit their own stuff. 

Continue reading "Media as Software: A Conversation With Doug Turner" »

April 06, 2007

Update: Gotuit Media and Video Search

Recently I wrote (http://www.octavianworld.org/octavianworld/2007/02/gotuit_video_se.html) about cool stuff going on at video search service Gotuit Media, where my friend and former colleague Patrick Donovan is a senior executive. 

Patrick got in touch the other day to pass on some great news:  Gotuit is now supporting the NFL "Film Room" at Sports Illustrated's si.com (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/specials/draft/2007/video/) and at the National Hockey League's video site (http://onthefly.nhl.com/index.html). 

For the NHL, Gotuit transforms what used to be a 60 minute linear viewing experience to one that can be sliced and sequenced in a variety of ways, without having to cut, splice, or otherwise edit the underlying video asset. 

Here's a review of Gotuit at latimes.com that does a good job of explaining the potential of this service: http://opinion.latimes.com/bitplayer/2007/04/gotuit_and_web_.html

Good Luck Patrick!

February 12, 2007

Gotuit: Video Search, and its Implications

A couple of weeks ago I had breakfast with Patrick Donovan, and old colleague from when we worked together in the early 90's at a Lexington, MA consulting and software development firm called Symmetrix.  These days Patrick is VP of Product Development at Gotuit Media.  Gotuit provides technology that allows users to "deep-tag" a slice of a video they look at on sites like YouTube and Metacafe. 

Here's a slice I made of a four-minute video on YouTube about the BT around the world sailing race.  I wanted to highlight what I thought was one of the more "that's gotta hurt!" moments in a video otherwise full of them:


Here's the url for this slice on Gotuit: http://www.gotuit.com/player/index.html?c=SM_Entertainment&t=8503&s=59028

Gotuit doesn't actually rip and store video itself; rather, it's an interface through which you create a data layer (on Gotuit) that identifies and describes (with title, tags, and a free-form text field) slices of videos hosted elsewhere.  Gotuit provides a browser toolbar with buttons that make it easy to quickly deep-tag a slice of a video and then share it via embedding or a hyperlink in a blog or other web page, or by simply emailing it to one or more friends.

So what?  Search is already a killer app on the web.  Video is exploding on the web.  Ergo, search for video will be huge.  Since video (and audio) is consumed linearly, meaning you can't browse it the way you can browse text, simply tagging and otherwise describing a source file on YouTube or somewhere else is only partially helpful to getting you to what you're looking for and helping you consume it efficiently.  Being able to deep-tag slices becomes really useful particularly for form factors and contexts -- like mobile -- where efficient use of limited resources (time, bandwidth, and memory) are more important. 

It doesn't stop there.  Of course, if you can tag inside a video, and you can sell ads against tags, you can advertise inside a video, in a highly targeted way.  And if you can tag inside a video, you can also string together slices to create what we used to call "highlight reels", but now would call "tag-dimensional mashups" I guess, allowing "omni-directional re-purposing" of content.  Videos of NFL games could be sliced and mashed up to create "best touchdowns", "hardest hits", "ugliest players" series.  Again, particularly interesting for mobile applications and contexts.

While I'm not sure that Gotuit in its current business model incarnation (today's separate service vs. a licensed, embedded capability in major video sites) or UI expression has reached its final stage, this is a really interesting company, and Patrick is a very smart guy.  Check them out.