“Commercialising Video” conference in Sydney

On Tuesday 24th June I attended the “Commercialising Video” conference held in beautiful Jones Bay Wharf in Sydney’s harbour. AIMIA and Claudia Sagripanti from VentureOne organised it together.

It was a mixture of case studies and panels. The case studies were talks by successful digital media companies, including Sony, Bebo, Viocorp, Clear Light Digital and Fox Interactive Media (really: mySpaceTV). The panels constituted each a moderator and a small number of industry experts that briefly presented on their knowledge on a specific topic and then discussed this topic led by questions from the audience.

I thought the format was very successful and the conference covered a broad range of current topics of interest in digital media. Panel topics included:

  • mobile: challenges for getting video onto mobile and making a return on it
  • business models: how to make money from online video
  • sports video: what business models work with sports content
  • metrics: why we need to measure video and what and how
  • innovations: what innovative products are to be expected in the near future in video

I was one of the panellists on the metrics panel – my slides are here. The very last slide provides a very basic preview of the video metrics service that is in development at Vquence right now. Expect the final product to look much more professional, once I’ve included the awesome designs that we have just received from Chiz.

One thing that I took away from the conference is that the online video market is finally maturing and we are seeing business models that work. While they can roughly be classified into ad-supported, sponsored, and user-paid, there are many details that you have to take care of dependent on the service that you are providing. Ad-support can be inside the video e.g. in pre-roll, post-roll, mid-roll, overlay, or accompanying ads e.g. in dynamically loaded roll-outs, banners etc. Sponsorship is mostly used for non-profit sites. User-paid models are e.g. subscriptions, pay-per-view, pay-per-download. General video sites work not so well for ad-support as specialised sites. There is a lot of money for videos in specialised areas where your community is very keen to receive the latest video content fast, e.g. in sports.

In mobile in Australia, video business is still hard going, because the bandwidth costs are high, extra production cost is high, and because of challenges to get video into a usable form on such a small screen (e.g. soccer-ball is too small to be more than a pixel). This also means that the cost for consumers to get video is high, while the quality is still low. This obviously does not make for a very good market. The size of the iPhone screen, combined with the slow realisation by mobile phone providers that they have to drop prices for video transfers, may however totally change this situation.

Finally, I noticed that there was a large call for metrics. Measurement of the use of video and tracking the distribution of videos around the Internet, as well as measurement of advertising that relates to videos are all being requested to get more transparency into the business and mature the market. Initial services are available, in particular from existing Web Analytics and Internet Market Intelligence companies. However, the technology is new and we have a long way to go online and even more on mobile. This is a great opportunity for Vquence!

Thanks very much, Claudia, for organising this event and I hope there will be more to come in this space.

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