Business publishers get rolling with online video

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Allison Arden, associate publisher of Advertising Age and Creativity, said Advertising Age debated the merits of a daily online video show for nearly three and a half years before finally launching “3 Minute Ad Age” last month. The three-minute video segment appears in the online Ad Age Daily.

“We saw that video was the next wave,” said Arden, who spoke Tuesday morning at B-to-B Meets Online Video, part of American Business Media’s Breakfast with Byte series, adding, “It was a long time between conception and birth.”

The time was so lengthy, she said, because Advertising Age (a sibling publication of BtoB’s Media Business) wanted to answer several key questions. These included: How long should an online video news update be? Should an in-house studio be built? How will the publication harness its resources, both human and financial? What kind of content will be most relevant to readers and advertisers?

These are the kinds of questions business publishers are grappling with as online video starts to take off in the workplace and beyond. According to eMarketer, U.S. online video advertising spending is expected to grow to $1.3 billion in 2008, up from $410 million in 2006.

While YouTube is getting a lot of the attention these days, Arden said that online video has to flow directly from business publishers’ own Web sites. “You need to put video content where everybody wants it,” she said. “It’s not about building on YouTube, but on your own site—specifically through content licensing and distribution through other sources.”

Arden added that she doesn’t see any danger of online video cannibalizing Advertising Age’s other media platforms. “A ‘3 Minute Ad Age’ is not going to replace the 40 minutes people spend with our print product,” she said. “It’s giving people more to do when they’re online and giving them a richer experience.”

Other b-to-b publishers are moving fast to make online video part of their portfolio. The Deal, for example, is about to build a broadcast studio in its New York office to take advantage of the growing appetite for online video, said Thomas Groppe, executive editor, electronic media operations for The Deal LLC, who also participated in the ABM panel. “We’ve been bootstrapping [online video], but we have a lot of plans,” he said, adding that starting early next year, The Deal will be running considerably more online programming on its Web site. “We have a lot more video to promote, and it will also help our webinar offerings,” he said.

Panelists said one of the best ways to introduce online video is through homegrown events before moving on to other vehicles that lend themselves to video. “Events are more immediate, while editorial [video] is more evergreen,” Groppe said.

Patricia Kelly, product manager at Hanley Wood, which recently launched BuildTV, an online video network featuring several Hanley Wood media brands, said business publishers have to focus on creating original content in order to take advantage of online video. “Sponsors don’t buy or pay for [online video] production,” she said. “They want run-of-site ads. That’s where the value is for them.”

Bob Felsenthal, publisher of BtoB and Media Business, moderated Tuesday’s ABM event.

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