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As online video grows more sophisticated—and prerecorded material on Web sites becomes the norm—some of the top media companies are starting to offer live and "near real-time" programming to enhance their online content and establish new revenue streams.

Dow Jones & Co.'s Digits is an online news program that runs weekdays at 1 p.m. ET across the Wall Street Journal Digital Network. The network's sites include AllThingsD.com, Barrons.com, MarketWatch.com and WSJ.com.

Hosted by MarketWatch's Stacey Delo, Digits covers tech news and features interviews with Dow Jones reporters and editors from the field via Skype. It runs for about seven minutes. Last September WSJ.com debuted The News Hub, a live, twice-daily online news broadcast.

"One of the things that we didn't anticipate is that it's actually more efficient to do live video-content creation than prerecorded and edited programming," said Brian Quinn, VP-general manager of digital ad sales for the Wall Street Journal Digital Network.

Three minutes before Digits goes live, a video player (with a countdown) appears on the home page of WSJ.com. After its initial run, Digits is posted on the home page for the remainder of the day, then archived in the Journal's Video Center. The show is being plugged via e-mail marketing and ads in the print version of The Wall Street Journal.

Digits is being sold to advertisers as run-of-site. However, a major brand advertiser has agreed to be the exclusive sponsor starting in the second quarter, Quinn said.

"Preroll video is a nice business and it's growing, but everyone does that," he said. "A lot of these [shows] have a sizzle to [them] that advertisers are very excited about—specifically if there's an ownership opportunity."

Exclusive sponsors of Digits will get a "Brought to you by" message at the beginning of the show and ad impressions throughout the program, Quinn said.

FedEx Corp. is the exclusive sponsor of TimesCast, a near-real-time program that NYTimes.com rolled out in March. TimesCast is available every weekday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET at the top of the home page of NYTimes.com. The show, which runs a little more than five minutes, is also available on the Times mobile site.

Each daily TimesCast program takes viewers inside the New York Times' newsroom and includes the editors' daily Page One meeting and discussions between editors and reporters about the stories they are covering that day. After the show runs, it is posted in the NYTimes.com's video section.

TimesCast advertising opportunities include a stationary banner that runs above the video player on the home page, branding at the top of the player and a 15-second, midroll ad unit within the video.

"Advertisers are interested in video, and they're also interested in high-profile opportunities," said Denise Warren, chief advertising officer of New York Times Media Group and general manager of NYTimes.com.

The program gives "readers insight into the New York Times and how we make decisions," Warren said. "It's also behind the scenes and a little bit sexy, and all of that added up appeals to advertisers."

The proliferation of broadcast-style programming on the Web comes amid an increasing appetite among advertisers for online video. According to eMarketer, ad spending on online video is expected to grow to $1.4 billion this year, up from $1.1 billion in 2009. It is projected to reach nearly $2 billion in 2011.

"Every media company, whether print-based or digital, is trying to stay on the cusp of the newest forms of online content," said Frannie Danzinger, senior VP-media for b-to-b agency GyroHSR. "Those that are going to succeed are going to provide what their audiences need, and not just what's really cool."

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