It’s one thing to stand out among dozens of cable channels but another to get noticed against a backdrop of millions of websites. Yet some companies are figuring out what it takes to create a large and loyal audience for web video.
Being a web-based video site is like being a single product in a giant supermarket — or rather four giant supermarkets if you believe Jim Louderback, CEO of guy’s site Revision3. Louderback predicts that video sites will have to be ready to compete across platforms on four different operating systems. The first three are no surprise: Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Google’s Android devices. The fourth is a new-comer that appears poised to make a noisy arrival:
“I’ll make a prediction… The Kindle Fire is going to be the biggest consumer electronic device this fall. It’s a place where you want to win the shelf space battle,” said Louderback.
That’s good news for Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) but the outlook looks ever bleaker for also-rans Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and BlackBerry — “those stores are going out of business.”
Louderback’s remarks set the stage for a closer look at how successful web videos companies are standing out on the web. According to Funny or Die CEO Dick Glover, the secret is all about using branding to break through the clutter. His site’s short comedy clips have created a power brand led by the likes of Will Ferrell and other A-list comedians which in turn have brought audiences to him. To Glover, it’s all about having scarce high quality programming. “There’s nothing worse than good distribution for a bad product.”
The CEO of another upstart, Buzzmedia, is another apostle of quality. Tyler Goldman, who presides over forty celebrity-related sites, says there is “a finite amount of premium inventory” and that companies have to set out to win the categories they choose to play in. Goldman added that search and serendipity is a “poor man’s tool” to attract audience and that over 70 percent of this traffic arrives directly. It helps that he hosts the official site for Kim Kardashian.
As for Louderback, a true Northern California, he says the secret to success is love and technology — “if your people are in love with something, you can monetize them” — in practical terms, this means a beloved video site is a perfect host to introduce fans to new brands.
And, finally, it wouldn’t be a panel discussion without essential take-away principles. Mitch Berman, a former veteran of HBO and Zillion TV, had seven: mobile, social, influence, sharing, curation and ease of entertaining. To these, others on the panel added “be early.”