By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Since 2007 a company our team founded, HITVIEWS, has pioneered the monetization of online video. While giants such as Budweiser wasted $28M on little watched BudTV, we discovered an extremely efficient way to reach audiences with online video. The internet has inspired a new breed of stars: Online Video “webstars” and HITVIEWS was the first to identify them and link them with advertisers.
Very smart brands know they need to be in the online video space but ALL of their initiatives failed to garner a significant viewership. But “webstars” like Jenna Marbles, TheHIll88, Nalts, Whatthebuck, Sxephil, Tobuscus, Community Channel and a select group of other elite online performers are able to pull MILLIONS of viewers to each of their videos.
As a result of our profound relationships (both social and business) with the stars, HITVIEWS is able to place brand products inside “webstar” videos — product placement in user-generated content… content native to the internet and only the internet.
CBS Television Network (great innovators), Pepsi, the Federal Government, TiVo, Readers Digest, Fox Television Network, Microsoft, Logitech, Weinstein Company Films, and many others you’ve heard of use HITVIEWS to place their products in the online video show. Not pre-rolls, banners, or pop-ups — the product is part of the show. Over 40,000,000 have watched videos we’ve had produced.
Most online videos posted have fewer than 300 lifetime views, regardless of the website. Webstars average over 1,000,000 per video. Here are five things they know that your ad agency or IT department probably does not:
1. Bad video equipment is usually best. Often, the grainier and lousier the quality, the better the view count. Grainy video and bad sound gives the video a voyeuristic, pioneering effect that adds credibility and authenticity to the viewer experience.
2. It is not TV. It’s a laptop and a laptop has a keyboard and mouse. We share with our clients the secrets of exactly to how use interactivity to drive viewership and engagement. Bottom line: If a video does not ask for viewer interaction it becomes BORING when viewed on the interactive machine called a computer.
Shoot your online video about 14 inches from your face. You are watched in your viewer’s lap. TV shoots much further away and when TV video appears on a laptop, the face becomes too small and emotional engagement drops.
3. 80% of all videos are watched within the first 72 hours of posting. Therefore it is a calendar-contained media event just like a TV show. Yes, online video could be used to promote weekend sales with little waste coverage.
4. Self-cast stars. Webstars are like radio stars. They found their medium, they run their own equipment and they are thrilled to have income. Their audience appreciates brands that support their favorite webstars. There is no such thing as “sell-out” in the online video world.
5. Late evening is the best time to post. The opening language in the video should instantly demand action and engagement. Gentle doesn’t work.
Advertisers seek online video solutions. Make online video a robust part of your digital initiative. That scary kid who keeps telling you your website and videos suck is right.
Show the kid who’s boss. Put him/her in charge of your digital platform today! A corporate-centralized approach for a radio station’s online media is a tactical error that leaves local dollars on the table. Our company can work with the scary kid to give your stations the most profitable online videos in radio.
Walter Sabo is chairman of New York City-based consulting firm Sabo Media. On a regular basis you will find trend reports from Sabo Media in TALKERS (www.talkers.com) and RadioInfo (www.radioinfo.com). Walter Sabo can be reached at Walter@sabomedia.com. Meet Walter Sabo at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6, 2013.