@ FOBM: The Business of TV and Video News; Still Trying To Find Online Video's 'Sweet Spot'

The rush to feature all kinds of video has gripped all manner of content sites. But for business-oriented news sites, the issues involved require a more narrow focus. Listening to the comments from a discussion on the topic at the Future Of Business Media conference, the definition of business news video is something that media outlets are still wrestling with. And as panel moderator Staci Kramer, executive editor of ContentNext Media, asked, where are the motivations for doing video coming from? Is the demand advertiser driven or consumer driven? And ultimately, how do you monetize it:

In this period of experimentation, companies like Bloomberg have sought to add contextual data to the screen. And along with CNNMoney, Reuters (NSDQ: RTRSY), they have the experience of creating video for TV. While this wealth of content is a luxury, the web has very different demands. And so with that in mind, online video providers of business news are still figuring our what works:

Chris Ahearn, president, Reuters Media: For an on demand service, by the time it’s on video on demand, it’s old news and no one’s going to pay for it. “The biggest hits we have often refer to Britney. Maybe the holy grail is getting Britney to do business news video. But that’s not a new addition.”

Jane Seagrave, VP, New Media Markets, The Associated Press: “Video is a huge for us. About 25- to 30 percent of our revenue is video,” primarily from TV. So the use of video isn’t new for the AP. What’s new is the online use of video. But it’s still a small part. “We don’t know where our sweet spot is yet. Everyone in this room has a destination site, we don’t have one and don’t plan to.”

Trevor Fellows, Global Head of Media Sales, Bloomberg: Video requires a lot of time. I’m still very skeptical about video as the next big thing. It takes a long time to load, you can’t get it on a Blackberry… Ultimately, branding is not a much of a selling point for Reuters video. “If we have video, we want to use it to drive traffic to Reuters’ site” where the company can track it and measure it for advertisers. Anything else is too unwieldy.

Alan Ives, SVP, Sales, CNNMoney.com: Integration with other content is the key to successful deployment of video. Both consumers and advertisers want video. If you want the whole action, as opposed to a summary, video is the best way to go.

Seagrave: Asked for b-rolls of factories so we could get the good looking anchor, we get requests for CEO interviews, analysts and no one can define what it is they want. The ad market is hot, and you can monetize a lot. But it’s going to shake out. We’re talking pretty narrowly about professionals who are interested inb business information, that defines business video more broadly. I searched Youtube and you get a varied collection of what counts as business there. We could create business-oriented virally.

“Are we going to hit a wall on ad-supported video?” At some point, it will lead to too much inventory and prices will diminish, Staci noted in presenting this question to the panel. The importance of quality needs to be replaced by an emphasis on utility, Ahearn said. “Less high-falutin’ video may be the best way to tell a story.” Fellows agreed on the shift in values when it comes to video for the web. “A lot of business models assume advertising will rise exponentially and that’s not true. Good quality, good utility will attract revenues. But many will not be able to do that.”

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