Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Video Insider: Digital Video Strategy: Top 5 Tips Every Major Network Should Know

Digital Video Strategy: Top 5 Tips Every Major Network Should Know

In my daily dealings with major networks and other media/entertainment companies, the concern I hear most is that their departments are overwhelmed with the processes of implementing and monetizing digital video, specifically optimizing the sale of in-video ads. Workflow between ad ops, player engineering and ad sales isn't automated, causing frustration, delays and missed opportunities. Although it's tempting to look at the economy, these problems aren't really economy-related.

Why, then, do they exist?

Let's look at ad insertion in television. Do most people know how that even works? I doubt it and that's exactly the point. Engineering isn't required in television ad sales. On the contrary, the typical in-stream digital video solution for advertising involves player re-engineering every time sales walks in with a buy. Ever-changing ad insertion requirements and ad products require constant reengineering and workflow changes. This manner of operation is time-consuming, resource-costly, and not the right way to operate no matter the economy.

So how do the major media and entertainment companies extract themselves from this merry-go-round to efficiently and effectively monetize their online content? Here are my top five tips for big networks to fix some of their operations inefficiencies and successfully monetize video and maximize their inventory:

1.    It's all about scale: Autonomous division of labor that creates "factory floor" processes is key to scale. The trick is to turn the video advertising into a series of processes that create a turnkey operation.

2.    Productize sales: Align sales, the ad products team, and the flow to ensure timely development of new and revised ad products and creative releases. It's efficient to get started with pre-built ad products. Just make sure the choices will give you the ability to fully customize and "create" once you can scale and accept ad buys in the future.

3.    Operationalize your business: Streamline workflow and create clonable digital video strategies. Take the time to put the right structure in place now; this will only reap that much more reward after the downturn.

4.    If it ain't broke, don't fix it: If you have processes in place or partners -- such as an ad server -- already on board that are working, don't switch them up.

5.    Back to basics: Stick with what you know can bring in revenues.  You'll often find the best ROI in ad strategies is quantifiable with a good reporting system in place.

While infrastructure changes may seem like a herculean undertaking, all that's really required is execution, focus and the right approach.

Steve Robinson is CEO of Panache, which offers an ad-insertion platform that provides major media and entertainment companies with the infrastructure to generate and increase revenues in their movement of video to the Internet.

Video Insider for Wednesday, April 1, 2009:

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