Webisode syndicator Next New Networks celebrated its one-billionth pageview last week — three years after opening its doors. The New York company’s stats show that getting viewers hasn’t been a problem: It claims more than 65 million views per month across its 25 networks, 50 original series and 8,000 webisodes; the video studio also has roughly 2 million subscribers on YouTube and about 90,000 followers across its channels’ various Twitter feeds. So attracting viewers hasn’t been much of a problem. But getting advertisers to spend more? Like most online video providers, whether it’s YouTube or Hulu, that continues to be an uphill battle, says Next New CEO Lance Podell.
The way that viewers’ eyeballs are valued differently depending on whether they’re watching TV or online is a constant lament among web businesses. But Podell brushes off the usual excuses, arguing that while major advertisers have been waking up to the value of online ads — e.g., better targeting, younger audiences — what it really comes down to is more aggressive salesmanship from publishers and less fear among marketers. Then again, having a hit show helps pry dollars from advertisers.
Podell spoke with paidContent just as Next New was launching what it hopes is a “hit” webisode series on its Barely Political channel — a “mockumentary” starring former U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential aspirant Mike Gravel called I Like Mike. It also just launched Click Fitness, an exercise show. An edited version of the conversation follows below.
paidContent: What’s the significance of hitting 1 billion pageviews?
Podell: It’s a sign of continued growth. We