Professionally made video has a lot of things going for it — assurance of copyright ownership, good indexing and metadata, and, of course, advertiser and usually viewer interest. But what about the loads of sites paying to host their users’ uploads and looking for a way to earn a dime? Surely there’s a market opportunity there.
Kiptronic, an ad insertion startup that announced Tuesday it was extending its audio platform to video, is rolling out with CondéNet as its marquee customer. Why not the bevy of small-time podcasters the company originally set out to serve? “The problems of monetization on the long tail, it’s difficult for us to convince brand advertisers,” Kiptronic CEO Jonathan Cobb told us earlier this week. “The best short-term solution for us is to bundle that content with higher-end stuff.”
Companies that serve both brand and performance advertising, like BrightRoll, tell us all the action is on the brand side, where advertisers seek placement on top-tier websites rather than matching against relevant user-generated content. (Disclosure: BrightRoll is funded by True Ventures, as is GigaOmniMedia.)
When we interviewed Digitalsmiths, one of many companies trying to peek inside videos to match them to relevant advertising, for an article about its $6 million funding round this week, we asked CEO Ben Weinberger the same question. “User-generated content is what a lot of people are viewing as the holy grail of video search,” he said. “Our focus is not there right now.” This with his two venture capitalists on the conference call. Again, Weinberger cited the “sensitivity of advertisers” as a limiting factor.
Clearly Google is getting into this market, what with the need to pay back its multi-billion-dollar YouTube investment. But I’m surprised players like Adap.tv (which in trials in gimme verticals like travel) YuMe Networks (which has also told us it is focusing on professional content) and Broadband Enterprises (which is even producing its own video shows to sell ads against) aren’t being more aggressive. The only company in the space I can recall not dissing the opportunity to monetize user-generated content is ScanScout.
C’mon, people, where’s the ambition?