MPA Video Conference Speaker: ‘I Don’t Have an Absolute Answer for [Making Money on Video] Yet’

The theme of this morning’s first ever Magazine Publishers of America Video Conference for the Magazine Industry was all Web video, all the time. After an introduction by the MPA’s Nina Link — who called the assembled masses “magazine video professionals, or MVPs for short &#151 conference chairman and Time Inc. Studios’ Paul Speaker took the stage. “There is no other train coming, there is no bus,”” he said. “Your audience is consuming everyday more video media.” The presentations that followed aimed to help magazine publishers exploit the growing opportunities on the Web.

eMarketer’s David Hallerman began the program talking dollars. Advertisers spent $21.2 billion online in 2007, an amount that will grow to $41 billion in 2011. Of that, a mere $925 million was spent on online video, a number Hallerman projects to be $5.5 billion by 2012. Also encouraging for online sites is the fact that the top 100 advertisers spent only 3.1 percent of their advertising budget on the Web in 2007. (No.1, Proctor & Gamble, used only 1.1 percent of its budget on the Internet.)

The problem, of course, is making video pay. “I don’t have an absolute answer for it yet,” Hallerman said. Thirty-one percent of people find online video ads annoying, compared with 55 percent for pop up ads and 18 percent for banner ads. The good news is that 72 percent of viewers will accept a video ad for 15 second or less.

While 12- to 17-year-olds watch the most video per person, over 80 percent of the unique visitors watching online video are over the age of 18, Hallerman said, arguing that brands need to create content for the older audience.

But how do companies produce content on a cost-effective basis?


The next discussion tackled this problem. CondeNet’s Richard Glosser recently sent a producer to Toyko but hired a local team for a nine-day shoot that produced 45 videos across four sites. “The more you invest, the more you want to have library value from it,” he said.

On the other end of the spectrum is Time.com’s Vanessa Kaneshiro, who does everything from reporting, shooting, coding, editing, and writing headlines. “All I do is video,” she said, admitting she sometimes works weekends and 13-hour days to complete her mandate of between two and five videos per week.

When it comes to distributing content, the panelists had varied opinions. Meredith’s Jennifer Mirsky and Time Out’s Marci Weisler said both their companies were starting YouTube channels and moderator, BusinessWeek.com’s Eric Gonon, said his site already had one.

Glosser also copped to success beyond the CondeNet sites. Because of five distribution deals, his videos gets two views off the sites for ever one view on them. Kaneshiro took the most liberal policy towards online video distribution. “As long as your logo is on it, I think you should just upload it everywhere,” she said.

Tammy Haddad, a former cable news producer and current Web video consultant to Newsweek.com and WashingtonPost.com, pointed to Barack Obama’s 37-minute long speech, seen by over 7 million people, as an example of Web video success. By comparison, the NBC Nightly News drew 8.9 million viewers the night the speech hit YouTube. “I would have the viral department,” she said, arguing that if you are going to pay to produce video, you should distribute it as widely as possible.

Will Coghlan* and Rob Millis, hosts and producers of Political Lunch, a daily show, told the audience their three hard-learned rules for Web video success: 1) know your niche, 2) aim for the middle, 3) would you watch your own videos? PL costs $7,500 to produce each month, allowing a selectivity in the sponsors they choose. After HBO’s mini-series John Adams ran a month of advertising on PL, Coghlan and Mills said viewers emailed to thank the pair for alerting them about the program. Advertising your viewers enjoy? That’s truly revolutionary.

[Full disclosure: Will’s a friend, which is why he and Rob are last. Sorry boys.]