Major media companies involved with video are feeling some degree of pain in trying to figure out ways to draw audiences and get ad support for the nascent video efforts. Speaking on an afternoon panel at Ad:Tech conference in New York City, a group of media executives discussed how their efforts in online video are able to take on a life of their own.
Addressing the fluidity of online video placement directly, NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) may at some point in the near future bring back dedicated programming on YouTube. As we noted last month, NBC removed its promotional videos on YouTube after a 16-month relationship as it prepared to launch Hulu, its online video JV with News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) Ron Lamprecht, SVP, digital distribution at NBCU, said the company is having “ongoing discussions” with the online video site’s parent Google (NSDQ: GOOG) about possibly bringing back its channel or programming in some way. However, Lamprecht quickly added that at the moment, the network is completely focused on its Hulu. Other highlights from the discussion:
Still, despite the importance of online video, Lamprecht remains cautious about when audiences and ad dollars will finally take to new media to make it a significant part of the network’s business. “The faster that people want to choose to stream content versus watching on TV. We’re very focused on mobile, we look at video and see less than 5 percent of the audience has used it. We know it’s going to be big, but we’re still talking about a small group of people, albeit a very attractive demographic. But it really depends on the audience as for how quickly we will be able to really take advantage of these investments.
Robert Leverone, VP, Television, Dow Jones: While the ad support for network TV remains a small piece of the pie, for newspapers, video represents a crucial new revenue stream that is already paying dividends, compared to the cheap cost. “The WSJ Digital Network came out of our work in video and help spawn other outlets, like the AllThingsDigital blog. But our initial goal was not create a network. My goal was to unify coverage around video and that led us to explore other paths that a newspaper company couldn’t do before. Yes, there was some initial technology cost. But because we realized we had the resources in-house, the costs were limited and this business is now largely ad-supported.
— Lamprecht: “On the content side, relating to how the WSJ is approaching online video, we’ve also realized that we can create platforms that stand alone – like Hulu – yet contribute and can be integrated into the whole. Having said that, you still might to program for one specific platform that spin off from others.”