OpenSlate Shows the Value of Obscure YouTube Video

Is 'sxephil' a Better Ad Buy Than 'The Ellen Show?'

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Brands may not be familiar with YouTube channels like BFvsGF, WHATTHEBUCKSHOW, and missglamorazzi, but according to Outrigger Media's new tool, OpenSlate, they're a smart buy for advertisers.

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OpenSlate, which was released this week, is a tool that helps brand advertisers find quality online video producers, and some are fairly obscure. But that 's because while other video marketplaces recommend channels based on audience, this tool recommends channels based on a unique measure of content quality called the SlateScore.

"Quality may be subjective, but it can be measured," said Mike Henry, CEO of Outrigger Media.

A SlateScore, which is a number between 0 and 900, is a measurement of quality based on three metrics: engagement, consistency, and influence. Each of the more than 10,000 channels on OpenSlate has one, and Outrigger makes money when brands buy media using the SlateScore by taking a small percentage of the media buy.

The inspiration for the tool was to do for online content what Klout did for social media, explains Paul Kontonis, Outrigger's Chief Media Evangelist and former VP of brand content at Digitas. Like a Klout score gives social users a way to compare themselves to others, the SlateScore gives brands a way to evaluate the value of one content producer vs. another.

For example, a search through entertainment channels on OpenSlate shows that "sxephil" - a channel created by YouTube star Philip DeFranco - has a SlateScore of 783, while "The Ellen Show" has a score of 730. The numbers show that despite Ellen's influence, the more obscure channel has a higher degree of consistency and engagement, which makes it valuable for brands despite being less known.

Many brand advertisers are dipping their toe into online video for the first time, explains Mr. Henry. They have a tendency to stick with safe, "premium" content, which is often limited to TV on the web. This grading system shows brand advertisers that there is a larger pool of high quality content. The added bonus for brands is that these obscure channels are also a cheaper and more available alternative to TV on the web.

"We're seeing channels with similar SlateScores trading in a very wide range of CPMs," said Mr. Henry. "For savvy advertisers, that 's a huge opportunity."

Outrigger Media received a $1 million investment from Spring Mountain Capital, LP in April to accelerate the development of OpenSlate. At the moment, brands that wish to purchase media using the SlateScore must have Outrigger Media manually activate it, but it is working on an interface for the site that will allow brands to buy directly from the OpenSlate tool.

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