David Snow and Gill Torren, business media veterans and co-founders of Privcap, not only launched a new company in a torpid economy but in doing so challenged some common beliefs by focusing on digital video content and delivering it in comparatively long, 10-to-20-minute segments. Their website, www.privcap.com, debuted last September and now has about 120 videos on offer. Privcap, which serves the global private investment market, last month completed a round of seed financing from individual and institutional investors.
Digital Directions spoke to CEO Snow, who has been covering the global alternative investment industry for 14 years. For seven years, he held senior editorial roles at PEI Media, most recently as editor in chief, overseeing such titles as Infrastructure Investor, PERE (Private Equity Real Estate) and Private Equity International. Torren, who is president, previously held senior sales management positions at Condé Nast, Haymarket Media and United Business Media.
Digital Directions: Why is video your primary medium on Privcap.com?
David Snow: Private capital investors are investing in people and ideas. When investors are evaluating potential partnerships that will last for years, they want to see an interpersonal exchange of ideas, along with body language and tone of voice. They want to understand how a potential partner thinks. We achieve that through two primary formats, one-on-one interviews and moderated panels. I act as the interviewer or moderator and make sure these are substantive conversations.
DD: Producing high-quality video is expensive. How do you make the business model work?
Snow: We are starting life videocentric, so we don't have a print legacy or any of those (associated) costs. It is a challenge to get someone to commit to watching a 10- or 20-minute video. A lot of traditional b-to-b media companies have not been successful (at those lengths) because they don't understand what it takes to produce a video that will be worth that much time. We don't do the video production in-house. We hire outside teams and spend a notable amount of money to produce studio-quality video and to ensure a very good user experience. And with the new round of funding we received, we plan to create a very elegant mobile video-viewing experience for our users.
DD: How are you monetizing the site?
Snow: We plan to have three revenue streams. We have a sponsor model in which we have a panel of three experts; in most cases, one of them will be from the sponsoring organization. Just as you might see at a high-quality conference, the sponsor joins the conversation and delivers appropriate commentary, not a boring marketing spiel. Right now, all the video content is free with registration. We are developing premium options that (audience members) will have to pay for. We also plan to produce custom videos for clients that will unlock the value of the medium for industry participants eager to better tell their story to the market. We think this business model will be very profitable and plan to expand into other verticals in the future. We supplement our video content with other media. We provide transcripts of all our videos. For sponsors, we produce digital publications we call “Briefings,” which are executive summaries of the videos written by professional writers with experience in this field.