Fast Company’s article, “Who will be the Godfather of Web Video” got me thinking about some of the theories behind the monetization of video. A friend of mine insists that despite the evolution of social media, the consumer online behaviour hasn’t changed. It’s emotive, he says, and that has been and will continue to be the way online consumers respond to online advertising. Does that mean we negate the idea of predictability? If so then what is the use of applying retention initiatives? Does that mean that brands have greater pressure to create advocacy in this daunting arena? I’m not convinced of this theory because it assumes that the medium has no bearing on behaviour.
I believe the advent of social media has challenged advertisers to grapple with the issue of not only converting consumers, but also identifying with their needs in an environment that has been programmed to flee the almighty establishment. This rebellious medium understands that the sought-after millenials are not so quick to point-and-click. I’ve yet to find stats to validate this but at a recent conference I’ve attended for Understanding Youth, it was made abundantly clear when one of the young panel members said to a room full of marketers and advertisers, “We know when you’re trying to sell us something. We know all your tricks and we’re not gonna give in. We’ll just run somewhere else.”
Today’s youth understand the social web and it is a part of their being. Today’s social media is akin to the freedom revolution of the ’70’s — a way for people create an identity for themselves and carve out a path of existence online. The above notation clearly spells out the need to evolve advertising as the medium and audience evolve.
Web video is still a strong growth channel. According to the article, “it has grown in terms of content production, viewership, however significant revenue and especially profitability — even for YouTub with its massive audience of 69 million viewers — has been largely elusive. Advertisers still haven’t bought into web video advertising mainly because of the vast user-generated content that’s largely uncontrolled. But the premium content sites don’t seem to be faring any better. Super Deluxe’s shaft by Time Warner, NBC Universal’s DotComedy’s short online stint and Sony’s money-losing investment into the once-promising Crackle — are all examples of this quest for a solution.
Some sites that are doing really well: Tetes a claque, CollegeHumor –> have some things in common: video that’s spreadable; audiences that are sticky. Most importantly — Consistency. Time will tell whether these sites will pave the way and lead others including Google/Youtube through the black hole.