Friday, December 12, 2008

68% view rich media valuable when coupled with registration / reporting

In the most recent QuickCast from Interactive Media Strategies, Steve Vonder Haar discusses the role of registration tracking in influencing the perceived value of online multimedia marketing.

In general, most respondents have a positive view of online multimedia marketing, but primarily think highly of the technology when it is implemented in combination with the tracking of user registration information. The ability to track viewing usage is a unique advantage of the online environment. This presentation segments survey response to illustrate the industry sectors that are likely to be most receptive to the idea of registration-driven online multimedia marketing events’

Here is the link to his webcast:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NFL to Stream Football

SportsBusiness Journal reported on July 28 that the NFL will stream football action to the web.

The NFL will stream 17 regular-season games live this season, marking the first time regular-season action will be broadly streamed in real time in the United States.
Starting with the NFL Kickoff game on Thursday, Sept. 4, between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, the league plans to stream NBC’s prime-time schedule on and

The online video will consist of NBC’s broadcast feed, with the call by Al Michaels and John Madden. The league has not decided how to treat the ads, but the most likely scenario will strip NBC’s ads out of the broadcast, with the NFL and NBC selling new online ads and sharing the revenue.

The move is significant for the NFL, as it continues to ramp up its digital offerings and open its content on more platforms...

Now it will be interesting to see if America’s most valuable television sports property, already bringing in more than $3 billion a year from its television partners, can find value on the Web without harming its lucrative TV contracts.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

ROI Revealed

Ben Comer from Medical Marketing & Media reports that Wolters Kluwer Health and Nielsen have joined forces to combine "de-identified patient prescription-related transaction data" from Wolters Kluwer Heath with "consumer purchasing, attitudinal and behavior information" from Nielsen (quotes from a company press release).

This will provide outstanding metrics to measure the impact of targeted medical marketing. The goal has always been to influence prescribing physicians; this gives the ability to track with great sophistication the results of drug marketing efforts.

Drug companies have to spend less and get better results. Webcasting has been proven to be an extremely effective marketing vehicle that provides data about audience views far beyond the capability of traditional media. With the ability to accurately track shifts in prescription behavior and cross reference with webcast attendance, it seems clear that more money will be spent on webcasting for medical communications.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Amazon Plans an Online Store to Stream Video

The New York Times reported on July 17 that will introduce a new online store of TV shows and movies Amazon Video on Demand.

Customers of Amazon’s new store will be able to start watching any of 40,000
movies and television programs immediately after ordering them because they
stream, just like programs on a cable video-on-demand service. That is different
from most Internet video stores, like Apple iTunes and the original incarnation of Amazon’s video store, which require users
to download files to their hard drives.

CinemaTech highlights this quote from the Times article:

The video store will be accessible through the Sony Bravia Internet Video link,
a $300 tower-shaped device that funnels Web video directly to Sony’s
high-definition televisions. That is an awkward extra expense, for now. But
future Bravias are expected to have this capability embedded in the television,
making it even easier to gain access to the full catalog of past and present TV
shows and movies, over the Internet, using a television remote control.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Secret Sauce of Viral Video

Kevin Nalts is a marketing director at a Fortune 100 company who moonlights as a YouTube comedian. He has posted more than 670 short videos on YouTube.

YouTube invited him to speak at conference about viral video. Here is a link to his presentation.

YouTube is a great resource: they will host your content for free, people are accustomed to going there - as it is the dominant provider of internet video content, and all you have to do to get people to watch your video is compete with the other content.

Of course, a webcasting service offers benefits that YouTube cannot. YouTube does not provide metrics about who watched your videos and for how long. It does not offer branding on the access page or on the player. Nor can they secure your video so it only reaches a designated audience. It does not allow the audience to complete a survey or take a test.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pfizer Will No Longer Fund CME Through Med Ed Firms

Medical Marketing and Media magazine reports that Pfizer will no longer fund CME through medical education and communications companies.

This announcement comes days after the same magazine wrote about a letter Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) wrote to ACCME chief Murray Kopelow about a CME event that recommended testing all pregnant women for herpes. Senator Kohl contends there is no medical evidence that supports this recommendation, which calls into question the motives of the event grantor, GSK, which is the maker of Valtrex (a herpes drug).

Since Pfizer alone spent $314 million on CME in 2005 - some of that on web-base streaming media - it is clear that this vertical will be undergoing significant change.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Era of Medical Media

An article that appears in the May Medical Marketing & Media magazine called: "Report Indicates Shift in Strategy" shows that medical communications - Direct to Physician Marketing and Direct to Consumer Marketing - is experiencing the same trends and forces that we see in advertising as a whole.

There is more pressure on expenditures, and there is a greater focus on rich media to improve the ROI of these communications.

A follow up article in the June 2008 issue of Medical Marketing & Media magazine called: "Surviving the Shift" declares:

Heads are rolling on sales forces as the buildup of the detailing Cold War
years is abruptly reversed, and even many DTC channels are feeling the pinch.
Forced to do more with less, media planners and buyers are looking for ever more
targeted opportunities and pharmas are warming to online media (even if banner
ads are down). Welcome to a new era of medical media—one in which thrift and
creativity are rewarded.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Streaming Media East Old Media Embracing Online Video

Excerpts from Streaming Media East Panel: How Old Media is Embracing Online Video and New Media as posted on Online Video Watch

Moderator: Peter Price, NATAS
Panelists:Isaac Josephson, ABC News Digital
Jordan Hoffner, YouTube
Vivian Schiller,
Richard Glosser, CondeNet

Vivian: The challenge for legacy media companies is that people are coming and watching videos, but haven’t been able to significantly monetize it. We love our relationship with YouTube, but it needs to come to a point where it isn’t just “branding.”

Isaac: For ABC, there is more of a vested interest in producing their own video and hosting it and driving traffic to it. We can do an hour long interview with Ron Paul, that wouldn’t air in its entirety, but we can run it online.

Jordan: The important point is “not monetizing it in a meaningful way.” Traditional media used to be the only game in town. Now there is fragmentation, and plenty of places for advertisers to spend money. It needs to be looked at in a different way. The notion of ‘scarcity’ is gone.

Richard: the genie is out of the bottle. Content is being freely distributed around the web. When they put Desperate Housewives on iTunes, that should have been a clarion call to everyone. What access and unique insight can we bring to the table? You can’t force people to consume media only on your site.

Vivian: “Distribute or die.” There are plenty of ways to distribute content beyond YouTube. Bloggers post RSS feed links, and those drive traffic back to our site where we can monetize it. Some experiments work, some don’t. Video is not a big money maker for us right now. We have pre-roll and sponsorships and no regrets. But with YouTube, we have to consider what the long term strategy is, and how that works for us, as a content creator and owner. How is video distribution going to monetized?

Richard: There is more wind behind video than other products. We’re starting to see TV money move to the Web. And the ones leading the charge are the ones with the most to lose. People will go around broadcast networks if they can.

Jordan: We wouldn’t have launched overlays if we didn’t have a really good reason. We tested and tested and tested. We are doing lots of testing to figure out what the best ad formats are for different video. Pre-roll isn’t good for us, or our type of video. That said, it is important for people to remember that we don’t advertise on user generated content. We only monetize our professionally generated content.

Isaac: Overlays are good for now. But we’re asking advertising clients to come up with new creative. But the CPMs for overlays is a full order of magnitude lower than what we see for preroll. From a business perspective, they just aren’t the answer for us right now.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Content Creators Need to Know Who Watched

Contentinople discussed highlights of its ContentinopleLive conference, complete with video clips. One of the topics was downloadable video.

Adobe Systems has a media player for downloadable content that can attach ads to downloaded content, deliver the ad content regardless of whether the viewer is connected to the internet, and generate metrics regarding who watched the ad and the primary content.

This is a breakthrough for online video syndication.

An advantage of streaming is that relevant audience metrics are easily generated to calculate ROI.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Gartner asks: Does Google Have a Video Strategy?

The Gartner Media blog writes a thought-provoking article about Google's video strategy.

YouTube clearly draws a lot of eyeballs, but Google still has to organize it and deal with copyright issues before it can get a full return for its generous hosting policy. The Gartner article suggests Google might ultimately offer two video content portals: one dedicated to the amateur/consumer content creator and the other for professional content creators.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Online Video to Generate $7.9 Billion in 2013

Informa Telecoms & Media projects that by 2013, US online TV and video services will generate revenues of $7.9 billion, as reported in eMarketer.

Revenues from US online TV and video services crossed the $1 billion mark in 2007 and are projected to surge to $4.7 billion by the end of 2008.

These numbers include download fees, but 63% of the 2013 number is projected to come from advertising revenue.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Marketing to Verticals

A good marketing campaign to a vertical can produce powerful results. If a horizontal marketing campaign is meant to be generic and provide safe results, then a vertical marketing campaign is meant to be specialized and generate specific results within the target market - hopefully with a higher conversion rate than horizontal marketing.

What constitutes a good vertical marketing campaign? It always begins with a message that speaks to the concerns of the buyer in the target market.

Information cannot simply be accurate and educational; it must also be timely and meet a specific information gap about which the target market is concerned. A successful vertical marketing campaign will provide answers to questions the target market already knows they must be asking. Timeliness and relevance is what will encourage the target market to respond to your campaign.

The information you are providing must be perceived as unbiased, so an effective tactic is to work with someone who is an expert within the target vertical. This person will understand the how the business works and what issues influence the purchasing decisions of buyers within that vertical. That person will be able to convey pain-points very clearly, and enhance the credibility of the message.

The next step is to align your campaign with a venue where the target vertical market is likely to look for information and education. Again, the more focused the venue the better. Remember you are targeting a specific vertical, and while there may be opportunities at venues which cover a range of topics, the more focused the venue on your particular vertical the better.

The webinar has been proven to be an extremely effective delivery system for this content, allowing the content producer to target very specific markets and measure exactly who consumed the content and ultimately purchased the product or service.

A great example of pairing a timely message with an efficient delivery mechanism is a webinar that addresses regulatory compliance. Any institution subject to regulation is going to be receptive to information that helps alleviate compliance issues.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Webinar as Part of a Broader Web Marketing Strategy

The American Marketing Association produced a webinar about how to use webcasting as part of the global marketing strategy: "The Webinar: An Integral Part of your Marketing Strategy, Not Just a Lead Generator."

In this webinar, my colleague Dan Roche, Vice President of Marketing at TalkPoint, discusses how webinars can fit into a broader web marketing strategy that includes blogs, podcasts, wikis, rss, etc.

You can watch the webcast on demand by clicking on this link:

Monday, March 10, 2008

No Need to Re-Invent the Television

As Dan Rayburn noted in his Business of Online Media blog, MSNBC's broadcast of the Ohio Democratic Candidates debate experienced some technical issues.

Oprah Winfrey's big webcast also had some technical issues, as more than 500,000 people tried to access the live stream.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned is to focus on the right tool for the job.

Just as you cannot ask a desktop sharing application to broadcast to an audience of hundreds without issues, the recent MSNBC and Oprah experiences suggest you cannot stream live video to hundreds of thousands without issue. At least not yet.

But is that so bad? Why should streaming video try to replace television - a technology that works extremely well? I imagine streaming video would be better off focusing on the things television cannot do, like providing custom branding and registering and reporting on viewers.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Webcasting for Learning Management

A Learning Management System (LMS) has three major components: 1) Course Development; 2) Content Delivery; and 3) Process Management (archiving content, measuring and managing results, etc.)

The disadvantage of an LMS is that it requires a big investment in hardware and software. This is a big ticket item, so once an enterprise commits to one it is stuck with it.

Webcasting with a streaming media provider is a completely modular alternative that is based on open standards and requires no investment.

What is the course development tool? Microsoft PowerPoint - a ubiquitous application. As the content creator all you have to provide is the expertise; you already know how to use Power Point.

The content delivery is handled by the webcasting company. The audience does not have to download anything to access the content. The better webcasting providers offer an ASP-based service and they stream content to the browser and media player that is already on the audiences' computers (Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, Flash).

The process management is handled by the powerful reporting tools and content management systems that the better webcasting providers have. Some webcasting companies have the ability to stream the content, have attendees take a test, grade it in real time, and send a custom certificate in PDF when they pass. This is why webcasting is utilized in the Continuing Medical Education field.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Increase Retention and Reduce Recruitment Costs

Corporations can reduce staffing costs by using webcasting to increase retention. Sales is an obvious area where this approach can work.

It is critical to get newly-hired sales people ramped up and successful as quickly as possible. Many sales organizations are plagued with chronic turnover amongst sales people because they cannot consistently get new hires producing at plan.

If a corporation shifted some recruitment dollars to fund a new hire "quick start" training program, they can create a library of best sales practices that new hires could access to enhance their success. This is much more economical than training new hires individually.

Webcasting makes this possible because corporations can use the technology to create a web-based learning system that requires no investment in hardware or software. Corporations already know how to train their employees - but webcasting allows them to record the training and distribute it in rich media across the enterprise.

The ROI is easy to track: more sales people producing at plan and less sales turnover.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Is There Anybody Out There? Part II

I recently wrote about and its financial difficulties, arguing that a content provider must be able to track viewers to be successful with advertisers.

I would say the ability to track viewers becomes more important as the audience size decreases. When an advertiser runs a commercial on broadcast television, the audience is measured in the tens of millions, so the information from Nielsen is good enough. Perhaps one can maximize the impact by running ads for men's products during football games and women's products during Oprah, but an advertiser still relies on the odds that out of a pool of millions there should be enough relevant eyeballs on the ad.

When the audience is measured in tens of thousands, that calculus changes. Advertisers need to be able to track who is watching so they can measure ROI through actual conversion rates: who watched the content then bought the product or service.

Ian Schafer blogged about the YouTube Videocracy Event. He commented on YouTube's quest to make more metrics available to advetisers, to avoid revver's fate.
But the real news was YouTube’s announcement of an impending launch of
advanced analytics tools. You’ll be able to see where video views are coming
from (geographically and site-wise), as well as many other data points. This
will be a huge help to advertisers trying to extract more success metrics and
data from their YouTube efforts.

I have written before about the extraordinary potential for YouTube to break the hegemony of the relatively small group that produces entertainment content for broadcast television. If people can watch YouTube in the comfort of their living rooms, I believe the effect would be the same as the printing press breaking the monopoly of a relative few who controled what written material was suitable for mass comsumption.

Since the printing press gets some credit for the Protestant Reformation, the effects of egalitarian video entertainment on society could be extraordinary.

But before any of that happens, somebody has to make the business model work.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"You Can't Fight in Here. This Is The War Room!"

Wired News reports that new mapping of the Arctic may bolster U.S. claims in the region to rich reserves of oil and natural gas.

A U.S. study suggests as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil
and gas could be hidden beneath the Arctic seabed. Growing evidence that global
warming is shrinking polar ice - opening up resource development and new
shipping lanes - has added to the urgency of the claims.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Is There Anybody Out There?

Onlinevideowatch recently blogged about the demise of video sharing site The blog concludes:

As I’ve written extensively, maybe there’s just content that isn’t
monetizable. Fun to watch. Lousy business.

That may indeed be true. But I believe there is another factor at play that is more important: regardless of the content, if you stream video without tracking who watches you forfeit a great deal of the value.

This is the value that a webcasting company offers that a simple CDN cannot: the ability to track who watched.

What is an advertiser more likely to pay for? An impression or a qualified lead?

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Battle is Far From Won

Microsoft's bid for Yahoo is facinating on many levels, but I read something on the lost remote blog that almost made my head explode.

At the end of the post, the author gave two valuable links

Microsoft’s press release on the unsolicited bid

Microsoft’s Powerpoint presentation used on the conference call

Microsoft announced this via teleconference with a downloadable power point presentation.

Why not a webcast with a synchronized power point presentation?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Internet Video Will Not Replace Television - Nor Shoud It Try

Mike Abundo writes in his Inside Online Video blog that: "[the] Writers’ Strike Will Turn 25.6% of TV Viewers to Online Video."

It is undoubtedly true that people are accessing alternate forms of entertainment in the absence of new material on broadcast television. But I believe there is greater insight to be gleaned from Dan Rayburn's take on the issue.

Rayburn writes in his Business of Online Video blog:

I have over 60 season passes in TiVo. Going through all of them yesterday,
more than 90% of the shows I watch are not available online anywhere. And the
ones that are, like content from CBS and NBC, do not show up right after they
are broadcast and typically take days if not longer to appear on the web. And in
the case of something like 60 Minutes, one story alone is chopped up into 10
different video segments on their website and encoded at a pretty low bitrate.
And sports, well forget that. No NFL games are available on-demand the next day
online and while the MLB games are, it requires a subscription.

At the end of the day, the internet is not a more efficient delivery system for broadcast television content so there is no real reason to think it will somehow supplant television. There are some narrow applications, like broadcasting local programming to ex-pats, where the incredibly small scale of the audience is better suited to streaming media, but television is very good at what it does.

As Rayburn notes, who would pay for the bandwidth necessary to replicate the quality and scalability of over the air national broadcasting?

However, streaming media is a measurably more efficient method of delivering corporate communications than teleconferences or desktop-sharing sessions with a telephone bridge that call themselves "webinars."

Whether for external communications like lead generation or internal communications like training, I believe the measurable cost-avoidance of streaming rich media instead of travel for a live meeting or the phone bill for a teleconference is the key to its future, not the writers' strike.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Metered Bandwidth!

Saul Hansell writes in Friday Jan 18th's New York Times that Time Warner Cable is testing a new rate plan that would charge internet customers an extra fee for exceeding a bandwidth threshold.

Alexander Dudley, a Time Warner spokesman, said that the exact terms had
not been set, but that packages would probably offer between 5 gigabytes and 40
gigabytes a month. The top plan would cost roughly the same as the company’s
highest-speed service, which typically runs between $50 and $60 a month.

As Hansell points out, this seems to have less to do with the cost of excessive bandwidth usage (if you are targeting peer to peer usage, then the threshold should be measured in terabytes) and more to do with preventing average internet users from becoming accustomed to downloading entertainment from the internet. These internet viewers would be watching less cable television.

The New York Times is running an article on the same date (today, Friday Jan 18) written by Miguel Helft that says that 138 million Americans watch more than 3 hours of internet video per day.

Helft quotes Josh Bernoff from Forrester research:

If you are [a television executive], the fact that people are watching a few hours of online video a month is of some concern,” Mr. Bernoff said. “But if there is some
member of your audience who is there for one or two hours a day, you’ve lost
them. They are never coming back.”

Hopefully, there is enough competition amongst internet providers to squash this trend before real harm is done.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Video for the Corporation

Mike Abundo writes in his Inside Online Video blog that "Vertical Video Cannot Compete on Content." He notes various online video sharing sites that focus on content specific to a certain niche or vertical.

Barely a week goes by that I don’t hear about some startup touting itself
as “YouTube for ________”. Porn and piracy aside, I don’t see any way these guys
can differentiate themselves from general video sharing sites unless they offer
features (not just content) specifically useful to their niches.

The interactive features offered by webcasting companies are what add value to their relationships with corporations, and are what differentiate them from standard CDNs or a hypothetical video sharing site that calls itself "YouTube for the corporation."

The ability to control who watches, to maintain security. The ability to track who watches, to maintain accountability for internal communications and to achieve effective lead generation for external communications. The ability to achieve interaction with Q&A, live polling, and surveys. The ability to replace an expensive teleconference with streaming audio and a synchronized power point presentation. The ability to have viewers take a test immediately after watching to demonstrate comprehension of the content. These are examples of the value a webcasting company brings to a corporation, beyond the ability to inexpensively archive content for on-demand viewing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why are Politicians Not Webcasting?

According to Crain's New York Business, ad spending growth in 2008 will be fueled by political advertising and the Olympics.

Which makes me wonder why politicans are not webcasting, particularly in this presidential elections when so many primaries are in the month of January.

Webcasting is well-suited for allowing candidates and office holders to reach the people with a specific message. Web events can be streamed live and archived for on-demand viewing, which creates some interesting possibilities:

Candidate X does 45 minutes on health care (with synchronized Power Point slides), takes 15 minutes of carefully vetted questions. The webcast then sits on the candidate's web site for on demand viewing, reaching many more than the live audience.

The next night, or the next week, Candidate X does 45 minutes on Social Security, and takes 15 minutes of questions. After a few months of doing these "Virtual Town Hall Meetings," voters can go to the candidate's web site and access a library of the candidate discussing the issues in his or her own words.

This is much more impactful than a position paper. The candidate can be anywhere to do these live webcasts. He or she would deliver the audio over a telephone. The Q/A feature is an instant messaging system, which means you have complete control over what questions are asked and answered. No ambushes. And the campaign can follow up after the event with every person who asked a question they did not get to answer. The Q/A feature stays active for on demand viewing, so any questions asked are routed via email to the campaign.

And, of course, the reporting is comprehensive: who watched, for how long, what questions did they ask, what responses did they give to live polls, etc. This is a powerful lead generation tool; campaigns are identifying and engaging voters and building a database. Is that not what party building is all about?