Time Life Taps Video Long Tail for DVD Sets

NEW YORK Time Life is kicking off a broad online promotional effort to support its DVD collections, hoping to use widely distributed online clips to drive sales.

In its initial push, Time Life has linked up with video platform company Brightcove to promote the release of the Get Smart collection on fan sites and blogs.

Any size site, blog or even a MySpace user can embed a Get Smart-branded video player that shows two-minute clips of famous scenes, outtakes and extra content. The clips will also be available at timelife.com and Brightcove’s Web site.

Time Life is banking on the lure of free content to draw in the so-called long tail of niche sites to build consumer demand for the 128-episode series.

The video players include a banner ad promoting the $200 DVD set on timelife.com. Time Life plans to update the player every few weeks from a pool of 30 clips.

“This is a very low-cost way to get samples out there,” said Dan Markim, business development executive at Time Life, noting that the high quality and extra features will dissuade Get Smart fans from buying bootleg copies instead.

Time Life intends to promote all of its DVD collections this way, including upcoming releases This Is Tom Jones and The Andy Williams Show. Those will include the option to pay to digitally download the episodes.

Time Life plans to encourage small sites to act as promoters and distributors by offering them a cut of sales that the clips generate on their sites.

Adam Gerber, vp of ad products and strategy of Boston-based Brightcove, said the ability to easily syndicate video content over hundreds or even thousands of sites would change how content is promoted and distributed.

“What Time Life has recognized is that their business is changing and they have the opportunity to reach whole new group of consumers for their content who have migrated away from traditional platforms to digital platforms,” he said.

Brightcove is not alone in this vision. Google has made steps to transform its AdSense network, which began as a way to distribute text links, into a broader distribution channel. In August, it inked a deal with Viacom to distribute MTV and Nickelodeon clips on the thousands of sites in Google’s network.