Condé Nast anticipates rapid growth in digital video ad spend, invests in programmatic and VR

Condé Nast Entertainment—which produces about 5,000 unique premium videos each year—is testing programmatic ad sales in what could be a prelude to a big programmatic push in 2017.

It’s a seemingly inevitable path for Condé Nast, having dived into video production just over three years ago for its 19 properties, from GQ to Glamour.

“Any eyeball in the US that watches video has access to a Condé Nast video,” said Joy Marcus, EVP and GM of Digital Video, Condé Nast Entertainment during a recent interview on Beet.tv.

Aside from its own 19 platforms, Condé Nast distributes on all the obvious platforms, sometimes with non-obvious results. “We cannot believe it but it’s true. The AOL.com home page does really, really well for us and some of our brands,” Marcus said. She noted that with almost half of the world's video views happening on 'the work horse for video distribution' Facebook, Condé Nast has also worked successfully on Pinterest, which she says has "quietly grown rapidly and has been very helpful".

“Most recently we’ve done an arrangement with Pinterest for GQ content, which is super interesting,” Marcus added.

She predicted we’re seeing a “hockey stick moment for video advertising,” rising from around $9bn this year to between $20bn and $23bn in the next five years.

One reason, according to Marcus, is that although television still sees “lots and lots of money for advertising,” she believes that “we are getting into a hockey stick moment in digital advertising."

This is because TV is increasingly not capturing all of the eyeballs, video is very well positioned to capture that money. "All the boats will rise but on a percentage basis I believe more and more of the ad dollars will go to video in future,” she said.

Condé Nast already sells display ad space programmatically and is testing programmatic for its video inventory, according to Marcus. “I think you’re going to see a more full blown programmatic video program from Condé Nast in 2017,” she says.

In October, the company “planted a big stick in the ground with VR,” unveiling a series titled Invisible in collaboration with director Doug Liman and other Hollywood luminaries. “Our players now have been modified to include 360,” says Marcus. “We have exceeded our expectations in views.”

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