If you’ve worked in publishing or media in the last few years, you’ve felt the impact of digital video.
The rising tide of the early digital video days not only lifted many boats but also created some tumultuous waves that led to many organizations drowning.
When industry leaders touted that social video was going to be the next big thing, media and publishing companies began putting eggs in these proverbial baskets, only to have them not hatch into the successful revenue results they were anticipating.
From layoffs to acquisitions, the pivot to video was a bloody battle that organizations and people endured. But lately, new headlines seem to be popping up nearly daily about new digital video plans from media and publishing darlings.
Here’s a sampling:
These headlines and recent conversations I’ve had with leaders at events like NAB, TV of Tomorrow, the OTT Executive Summit, and, more importantly, with actual media and publishing customers, have highlighted a new shift. I’ve personally seen the publishing industry change over my career, and especially since 2013 when I founded Zype, a digital video content management and distribution platform.
That’s why I believe we’re in a new dawn of digital video. The next chapter is unfolding today. So how do media and publishing companies take full advantage?
There are three main trends that are leading this new dawn of digital video. Let’s dive into them.
Before and during the pivot to video, organizations were very focused on a few select platforms including owned and operated sites, YouTube and Facebook.
Producing and distributing video for every platform required intense time commitments from ideation to distribution. During the pivot to video, companies created exclusive content for Facebook Watch/Live, unique video series for YouTube, and even more original content for their sites. The high production costs and the short shelf life of video led to an equation that just didn’t add up to profitability.
The evolution of digital video is about the diversification of distribution and monetization by giving creators full control. With the advancement of both how we produce content (extracting more juice from the squeeze by filming and editing for various platforms) and digital video infrastructure, organizations can now easily create and distribute their digital video across every platform and channel.
This development of infrastructure has had a few key advancements that are bringing the video-everywhere concept to life:
• Transcoding and encoding advancements: The ability to process and deliver high-quality video everywhere via new codecs like h265, VP9, VP10/AV1, AAC and OGG.
• Video content management systems: vCMS platforms allow organizations the ability to easily manage and distribute their digital video from a single platform.
• Video app templates for OTT and mobile: Organizations no longer need to invest heavily in building with easy-to-implement OTT app templates.
• CDN advancement: Content delivery networks like Akamai and Fastly are enabling organizations to deliver top-tier user experiences everywhere.
The advancements in how people are creating and how technology is delivering video content are really at the heart of the new dawn of digital video.
Video and advertising have always been two peas in a pod. But publishers and media organizations are having to ask themselves if only monetizing through advertising is enough (it’s not).
While you might jump on the idea of implementing onsite paywalls, new rules around incognito mode browsing mean users have an easy way to opt-out. But paywalls and advertising aren’t your only options to monetize video. You can look at incorporating multiple revenue streams in your digital video strategy that users actually enjoy.
New revenue opportunities include:
• Distributing to MVPDs and OTT platforms that have already solved for audience, discovery and revenue.
• Offering access to exclusive content on your website or mobile apps to drive a customer relationship (and capture first-party data).
• Live streaming events with daily or weekly updates from your team that don’t require a full suite of production resources.
Understanding how to build phenomenal video experiences that viewers want to engage in is no easy feat, but it should start with listening and understanding what your viewers want.
It’s likely that you subscribe to at least one major consumer retailer’s emails like Sephora, Home Depot or Target. Go and search your inbox for one of their weekly ads. It’s personalized to you, isn’t it? Based on your shopping patterns, they’re making recommendations on what you should buy next.
Now, think about Netflix or Hulu. It’s like they know exactly the kind of content you want to watch. How do they deliver these personalized experiences?
It starts with a robust video content management system (vCMS) where video metadata like tags of the type of content, descriptions, genres, actors and more can be managed. Netflix has built its own proprietary vCMS that allows it to hyper-personalize your experience based on tags and algorithmic learnings. But you don’t have to build your own vCMS to bring personalized experiences to life when there are software solutions that specialize in digital video delivery and management.
Beyond a vCMS, you can create personalized experiences for your audience investing in video analytics to understand what and how they watch and optimize experiences based on your actual user behavior.
Personalized content recommendations keep users watching and tuned into your content, just like those personalized emails keep you clicking.
Strategic Execution In The New Dawn Of Digital Video
The evolution of digital video is about diversifying distribution, monetization and content creation. Media and publishing organizations are investing in distributing their content across every channel and platform, fortifying their advertising revenue with additional monetization opportunities and delivering the personalized experiences users crave. What’s your plan for this new era of digital video?
This article first appeared in www.forbes.com
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