Blog Post CEO: Turning Viewers Into Fans, Video Into Dollars

Making video content for the web is one thing. Making money from it is quite another, and can be credited with coming about as close as anyone to helping content producers monetize their videos. That’s how Colin Brown, a contributing editor with CNBC Business, launched a talk today at GigaOM’s NewTeeVee Live with CEO Mike Hudack.

“We have people making half a million dollars or more a year with an independent web show,” said Hudack. “It’s much easier now to get out there and make a show yourself,” he noted, but you need distribution, marketing, ad sales and other services to make it profitable.┬áHis favorite tool that offers is what’s called “the engagement curve.” An average episode on is 16 minutes long, he said. Over the course of those 16 minutes, “We watch second by second where people drop off,” he said. “You can see what people didn’t like,” and what snippets they wanted to watch again. “Every episode, you have constant continual improvement,” which leads to more engagement and more fans, he said.

A sizable and loyal audience is of course essential for monetizing video shows, said Hudack. “To have a sustainable show these days, you certainly need hundreds of thousands of viewers,” he said, adding that the ones that are “really making a lot of money” typically have millions of viewers. One key for building an audience is branding, and on that front, web show producers should take a cue from Law & Order (dun-dun) — devising instantly recognizable intro that’s 5-6 seconds long saying “this is what you’re watching.”

Ultimately, hopes strong content from independent producers will help it reach at least 500 million video views per month in 2011. A “tipping point,” said Hudack, would be 1 billion views per month. Good content leads to monetezation, he said, which leads to more good content, adding, “As that flywheel starts spinning faster, you grow faster.”

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