Why Media Buyers Are Stunting the Growth of Online Video

Balding white marketer desperately wants to meet smart, strategic media buyer. If you’re one, please recognize you’re not the target of this rant. But the rest of  you are just so friggin’ short sighted and clueless.

There are some amazing online-video series that could be incredible opportunities for smart brands wanting to engage with early adopters of a medium that is changing the way we relate to content and brands.

Brands can reach depth and relevancy with their target, even if it’s not driving total significant awareness and immediately creating ROI through driving intent, store visits, and trial.

I give you exhibit one. iChannel.  A mere 8000 people are subscribed to this series on YouTube, but the views of the weekly series are roughly three times that (I’m the inverse of that with 30,000 Nalts subscribers, but some recent videos ranging in the 8-15K views). So it’s a healthy and highly devoted and interactive audience. Episode 31 had 180K views alone.

And it’s deeply philosophical, well acted, intelligently scripted and short and addictive.  I had the pleasure of appearing in one last May.

These guys spend more time setting up one shot than I do on my entire post production. The audience is like a microcosm of those watching Lost. Or The Office. They’re engaged, passionate, and hold their breath waiting for the next episode.

So why would a media buyer pass on this?

  • It’s not a big media deal. No hot AOL ad reps are pushing it.
  • The audience isn’t big enough. No scale yet.
  • The conversion from the episode to a bloated brand microsite wouldn’t be great.
  • They can just advertise on YouTube’s invideo ads and get there.

Why should an electronic manufacturer dye to have sole sponsorship?

  • They could probably own it for the equivalent of pocket change they dug from the back of their marketing budget couch.
  • It would be ground breaking.
  • The audience is perfect, and the level of product engagement would be far richer than an ad we’re trained to ignore.
  • It sets the stage for a new model where advertisers contract directly with creators of content (who carry fixed audiences). No worthless intermediaries clogging the pipes between.

What’s the solution to grabbing these types of opportunities? Have these deals championed by someone outside the regular media-buying job. While I was at Johnson & Johnson, the big deals between media players (networks and magazines) were done by folks that weren’t inline marketers like me, but had influence over the way media budgets were set across the many brands. After all, J&J couldn’t get interesting deals if each brand fended for itself, and the interesting partnerships required someone that could step outside the short-sighted world I live in when charged with P&L of a brand.

9 Replies to “Why Media Buyers Are Stunting the Growth of Online Video”

  1. I note (with amusement) that while I was reading this entry I was listening to the following.

    The Pretenders – Stop Your Sobbing

    Subliminal message maybe Kevin? lol

    I guess the question I feel compelled to ask is: Have these people attempted to contact any would-be sponsors? Or are we just hoping they’ll happen by your blog by some wonder of happenstance?

    I mean its possible that the someone at the Johnson & Johnson marketing division is a huge Nalts fan, but how do we know that for sure? Do you know who your audience is? Really? lol

  2. I’m glad you brought this up because I was wondering why shows like iChannel and Mr Deity just haven’t picked up the big bucks yet.

    At first I thought it was because I enjoy them and I’m pretty much out of the mainstream.

    Then I realized that it has to be promotion. You can sell anything with money and push; like the presidential candidates.

    A good part of your audience came from doing colabs and getting exposure; you really should do and encourage more of those, besides socks and shoes that’s a wonderful legacy you’ve got going.

    The pharmaceutical industry has made billions just advertising 30 second spots on the nightly news. So why aren’t these guys biting new, clever and original content? The economy? Because I watch them? Are they really that short sighted? Too sensitive to honest criticisms? Too proud to leave TV? Are we just so over saturated with this crap they have no clue what the fickle public wants?

    I think a few reason are the investment big media has made in HDTV (wait until FEB) finding smooth streaming internet applications, securing rights and controls of content and bandwidth; bad news under a Clinton Admin.

    I don’t think they want to encourage net use on a mass scale because they don’t have the controls, the full infrastructure and there’s still a few more trillion to suck out of TVLand.

    I also think people like yourself will look back on these as the good ol days. We’ll be going retro retro retro soon enough. Enjoy your childhood while you can. Hope I didn’t jinx anything by saying that.

    This is still pioneer territory looking for a Ted Turner and Google doesn’t own everything, yet 😉

  3. Speaking of the good old days when you could make money with online videos (before vlogging killed it), whatever happened to Zefrank, Eepy Bird and Lonelygirl?

  4. M- this is a volatile medium with a short attention span and fickle public, you got to keep doing tricks to keep the viewers entertained and around. you need to be up-beat and develop *brand loyalty.

    Once you’ve done that you have to find some willing participants who will support and help develop your ideas, preferably for free, this allows you time to find more creative ways to keep your audience amused.

    Sound familiar? This is exactly what Andy Warhol did in the sixties, only he used drugs and big parties as payment, today the drug is the internet and the party is a pat on the back.

    In turn the audience will fall in love with you (because all entertainers/creators really want is to be loved and/or positive approval of their work) and they will bring you the gift of more people to view and support what you’re doing, which means more ideas to support your crack-creative habit. it’s a classic relationship.

    the most important thing is to develop a respect for your viewers or keep your mouth shut about them in front of the media. it’s really no different than being a good politicians.

    I blogged <–hate that word, about this, not that anyone reads or takes my advice or doesn’t already know this junk [u can clicky]

    *for those who hate this word, if it makes you feel better change “brand” to “personality.” it’s just industry language people still love you.

  5. are you dissing farts now?
    M- you’re forgetting our gracious host did pretty well with a few of those and made his right hand man Spenser a legend on you tube for all time.
    can’t catch fish with just a twig and some string you need a hook and some sweet and tasty bait.

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