Why the economics of video don’t work for today’s media brands

The below is written by Matt Smith, VP and Principal Media Evangelist, Brightcove

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Video incites many things. Excitement. Laughter. Passion. Tears. For media businesses, video incites a myriad of emotions and actions, too - not all of them good. So as we begin 2017, we at Brightcove are issuing a Manifesto for Media.

Manifestos exist for a variety of reasons but these massive missives help people and organizations make bold statements about how they think things should be. Big deal, you say, everyone has something to say. But video is a ubiquitous, transformative element in everyone’s lives today; unless you live in a cave well outside Kandahar, online video touches your digital life somehow, some way in the course of the week. Manifestos matter, especially when things are broken and need better solutions.

Think about the economics of online video publishing today. The current economics of online video publishing are not robust enough for many media companies to excel and profit. Why? More and more of the revenue and profit potential from their video is concentrated in

a small number of mega companies. In order to enable a wide range of media businesses to flourish, three primary things need to change in 2017:

●Dramatically improve the user experience publishers can deliver to viewers

●Increase revenue potential from online video by as much as 50%

●Reduce the total cost of operations and delivery of online video by as much as 50%

These are lofty goals. But again - some of the foundational elements of creating, delivering and monetizing video experiences on our smartphones, tablets, Apple TVs and Roku devices have grown out of reach for most media organizations as we enter the golden age of online video. Just as television grew and evolved in the 1950s and 60s, online video is now crossing the chasm, on its way to being just as powerful as its predecessor in delivering video to viewers anywhere. It represents more than 70 percent of all online traffic today and will surpass 80 percent by 2020. In order for online video to deliver on its potential, innovation must help shift these operational and economical components for traditional broadcasters and publishers, but also for ‘digital first’ players who are emerging on the field in increasing numbers. The process of connecting their content with audiences must be more efficient and more easily monetizable than before. This is why this manifesto - and these actions - matter now.

We will achieve these goals through innovation in a variety of functional areas. The viewing experience has already improved, and we’ve seen time to first frame of video dramatically decrease within the past year. Expect that to continue to improve. Imagine seeing video load as fast as a local file on your device. It is possible. Though it causes heartburn for some, video with broadcast-style advertising (either before or in the middle of the content) is becoming more prevalent across the board. Unifying the ad experience, overcoming ad blockers and eliminating all delay between streams and ads is a huge goal in 2017. Lastly, understanding precisely what the viewing experience is like for the audience through improved quality of service (QoE) metrics. With the ability to ‘see’ any playback issues and deliver appropriate adjustments and remedies, viewing experiences benefit. I can’t mention the viewing experience without touching on 4K HDR, 360 degree and VR video. All three will help enable compelling, immersive video experiences. The advent of social as a video consumption endpoint has created extra work for many publishers. Aligning video workflows to include social syndication saves video publishers time and effort while connecting them with audience, regardless of platform. Finally, helping viewers to discover more relevant content is a problem where solutions are emerging. Through the use of algorithms and machine learning, the viewer can be presented with additional content more closely tuned to their activity, behavior and choice.

While video moves us and has become a daily part of our lives, we have a long way to go on a great many fronts to improve the experience, profitability and cost of doing business. Manifestos are rallying cries to signal that change. Now is the time for media organizations to drive a vision for video that delights customers, increases the bottom line, and leverages innovative technology to keep costs down.

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