The key to the "pivot to video" mantra: Keep it short and distribute it well.

Publishers' pivot to video has become something of a trope, as media organizations race to reach bigger audiences and sell advertising at premium CPMs.

The key to producing and monetizing video content is to ensure it is distributed cross-platform, with a mix of mobile-friendly advertising, per a panel at MediaPost’s Publishing Insider Summit on Tuesday, moderated by Daniel Ambrose, principal of Ambro.com.

“There is an appetite for short-form video on editorial pages on the internet,” said Colby Reed Miller, senior director of sales and content development at Oath.

“When people go on a site, they are not looking to watch a 20-minute piece of branded content," he argued. Viewers want something just a few minutes long.

Lori Taoularis, senior vice president, digital revenue and operations at Tronc, said short-form content is successful because most video produced by publishers is being consumed via mobile.

Though most of TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s video programming can be watched on TV or computer, over half of the company's video views come from mobile, including the content behind TEN’s paywall, according to Michael Suggett, vice president and executive producer of original programming.

Taoularis said the “pivot” has already occurred for most publishers. The issue now is figuring out how to monetize the video and distribute it effectively.

Suggett said the “life cycle” of TEN’s long-form shows starts out behind a paywall and revenue comes from paying subscribers. Then, it is launched in front of the paywall and sponsored by a brand. Afterwards, it is cut for Facebook and other social platforms and served with pre-roll and mid-roll.

This results in “lots of impressions from one asset,” Suggett said.

Previously, when an agency wanted to buy an ad on Vogue, the goal was that it only appear on Vogue.com, Miller said.

“Now, agencies have to know their ad will run across those sites on mobile, on Facebook, on YouTube,” he said. “We will see historically low CPMs on mobile, but if you have a good direct sales strategy and talk about the value of content and not necessarily where it will live, that’s where you can get crazy-high CPMs.”

While it costs more to produce video than other types of content, publishers can charge more when video is part of a larger media marketing plan, the panelists said.

Conversely, long-form content, lends itself to branded content. “You can charge premium CPMs, rather than slap mid-roll into a 20 minute video,” Miller said.

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