I’ve been struggling with various revenue sources for videos (since the YouTube “partners” revenue hasn’t yet kicked in, and I don’t know yet whether it will be meaningful). There are several models in play…
- There’s custom work like the videos I’ve done for several sponsors for a flat-fee charge of $2-$5K (which is “found” money, but sometimes very high maintenance with many unexpected iterations).
- Then there’s Brandfame, which is creating ways that advertisers can pursue product placement in online videos, and creators can make some money doing product placement. See post for detail (and thanks for InsideVideo for the post).
- And new to the scene is creator-embedded preroll…I’ve been asked recently about what I’d charge to introduce preroll ads embedded into my video content before I submit them to sites. Although I think this doesn’t violate terms of service of video-hosting sites (who won’t participate in this revenue), I’m struggling with it. For starters, I don’t have a sense of the fair market value of this. If I had to guess, a preroll is worth about five cents to an advertisers.
While all of these offer new revenue streams for cash-poor creators, I worry about audience fatigue. For example, Revver’s use of preroll, according to the Revver blog, is something they’re testing with both eyes open:
We believe in keeping the ad experience brief and unobtrusive. To that end, we’ll keep pre-roll ads as short as possible, and closely monitor viewer response to make sure they don’t negatively affect the performance of videos on the network.
How Do We Discover What’s Too Much?
I’ve always maintained that the best way to test an audience’s receptivity to advertising is rather simple. If you ask them, they’ll tell you loud and clear they don’t want them. I hate prerolls, and stopped viewing iFilm because they got overzealous with them (and if they’ve tamed down I don’t know because I haven’t been back in ages). That said, there’s a lot of content (serialized videos like iChannel or anything JibJab) that is worth enduring a brief ad… after all, it’s free content.
So the real way to determine the impact of promotion before, during or after video content is to study it. An online-video site can monitor the aggregated impact of the pre-roll (which is something creators can’t do alone). Do views go down? How many stop watching in protest? Does early abandonment of a video occur in higher frequency? Most importantly, however, is this question:
What’s the unmeasurable impact on the “brand” of the creator if they’re seen as “selling out” in too many ways? I know I’ve stumbled around that fine line like a drunk walking a DWI test. Anecdotal feedback ranges- some viewers see it as perverse, while others say they’d be willing to pay for my content (yet that’s clearly not viable yet), so enduring ads is acceptable.