"The Internet Is A Great Leveller – Video Used To Be The Sole Preserve Of Broadcasters."
Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times Company

In April, The New York Times announced the launch of 14 new online video channels. A bold statement of intent. The YouTubes of the world are now creating programme packages centred on verticals like comedy, in much the same way that broadcasters do, arguing that they can pinpoint and deliver more of a certain demographic than traditional broadcasters like Comedy Central can. It seems that the worm has turned because The New York Times are far from alone in their pursuit of their share of this medium.

In the US, AOL, Condé Nast, Yahoo and Google have all been presenting to advertisers their new video offerings, which range from 30 second clips to hour long documentaries. Even the most traditional of movie studios are changing their business models with Disney leading the charge. Their purchase of Maker Studios for nearly $1 billion is a telling indicator of how the game has changed. With 50,000 channels and approximately 5.5 million page views a month, Maker is one of YouTube’s largest (formerly) independent multichannel networks.

On this side of the Atlantic things are no different. Facebook are launching their auto play video adverts in the UK in the coming weeks. Associated News, who own The Mail Online and Evoke.ie, have had a TV studio in their Dublin office for over 2 years now. Their exclusive video of One Direction smoking cannabis in Peru had over 160,000 views in just 2 days in Ireland alone. To put that into perspective, it is a similar number of viewers to those who watched Britain’s Got Talent last Monday night on TV3. The Irish Times and The Independent among others have started to regularly use video on their websites to retain users looking for ever more readily consumable news.

There is no great mystery as to why all of this is happening. Faster broadband speeds, the prevalence of smart phones and tablets have all played their part in the rise of professionally produced content appearing online.

For the advertiser the case for paid online video is strong: The Millward Brown Market Norms database shows that, compared to standard online display formats, online video delivers greater uplifts on measures such as brand favourability and purchase intent. Brand recall is 3.5 higher for online video ads compared to display ads, according to research from Decipher.

In terms of reach, currently no other media is in a position to replace TV. However studies have shown that online video is very effective at delivering additional reach to TV campaigns.

Unfortunately there is no market solution to measure TV and online video as the broadcasters pull in one direction and the likes of YouTube in the other. Facebook and Google have both stated publicly they are after traditional TV budgets so changes are on the way.

Recent trends are definitely good news for advertisers because more top quality inventory naturally means bigger audiences. As viewing grows and content diversifies, audiences will fragment.  But this does not mean quality will dissipate because the cream always rises – quality content will win out in the end and viewers will find their respective niches.

The online video revolution has begun.

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