Video viewability is key to engagement, revenue opportunities


We all know this is digital video’s time in the sun.

Magna Global reports that digital media now accounts for 30% of United States advertising spending, up 15% over 2014. Video increased 39% and is expected to increasingly fuel the exodus of television ad dollars to the digital realm.

As the digital video market matures, so to will segmentation and differentiation of the market. Premium video content will surge to the forefront and attract premium CPMs from top brand advertisers.

It’s clear that brands are starting to place increasing value on the qualitative nature of video content. For example, if buyers can only source official NASCAR, Major League Baseball (MLB), or Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) tour highlights from a single source with exclusive distribution rights, I believe they will start to recognise the value.

In this space, digitial sports video is the hottest commodity. Official content and the audience it represents have obvious value over the rest of the field.

Consider this simple scenario: Spectacular smartphone video of a plane crash might go viral in an instant, but can you build a sustainable, well-executed ad campaign around it? Is it brand safe? The answer is an unequivocal “no” on both counts. On the other hand, is a highlight of a World Series triple-play brand safe? The answer is almost always, “yes.”

However, ad buyers need to do their homework and clearly understand what they are buying. If it’s National Football League (NFL) or MLB highlights on the table, then they should demand official certification. Otherwise, they might be paying for video of talking heads talking about NFL and MLB highlights.

From an advertising value perspective, there is no comparison. If a seller can’t provide certification, it’s a red flag. There is typically only one official rights holder/licensee of such premium content.

Quality, high-definition video production is also important. I consider it a commitment to the viewer – and, in turn, the advertiser – to deliver the highest quality content available.

Would you rather see the blurry Bigfoot photo or the sharp image? Blurry is better than nothing, but as an official rights holder to more than 75 pro sports, we believe quality production is a bare minimum requirement.

These days, video viewability is a big topic of discussion in the video landscape. The definition of acceptable viewability standards remains a moving target, ranging from all pixels in view, sound on, for 50% of duration of the video, to absolute 100% viewability.

This debate will continue but it boils down to table stakes. If you don’t have viewability, get it. If a brand is buying against something that is not viewable, I would ask why you would stake a brand’s value on a unit that lacks solid metrics?

We have been preaching the value of quality video content for the past two years, and I believe both publishers and buyers are getting the message.

The data speaks for itself. We saw almost 1700% growth in views over last year. Initial clients that came on board with a mere 100,000 views per month are now doing north of 25 million per month and still growing rapidly. Our revenues are up 10 fold year-over-year, all at premium US$28 CPMs.

Digital ad spend is expected to match television spend by 2016. That’s an impressive and game-changing market evolution.

Video will take an increasing slice of this pie, and I believe premium brands will be lining up to pair with slickly produced, exclusive brand safe sports highlight content, backed by solid metrics and viewability.

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