Several factors are pushing online into the mainstream for business publishers
Broadband-delivered video is going mainstream in b-to-b media. Recent months have seen the launches of BuildTV from Hanley Wood, Jobson Medical Information's Vision Monday Web TV and others. Even small and midsize media companies, such as Lebhar-Friedman, are getting into online TV.
Video is not new to business media sites, of course, but the more universal adoption of video is being driven by many factors, publishers say. These include the ready availability of equipment and outsourced services that make it easier and less costly to use video; more advertisers looking for video opportunities; the desire of publishers to beat, or at least keep up with, their media competition; and the presence of staffs within media companies that are ready and itching to get started.
Alec Dann, general manager-business media online at Hanley Wood Business Media, said, “More tools are being made available to publishers that make video less of a headache to manage. Vendors are not only making it easier to manage the content but also to place the pre-roll and post-roll ads advertisers expect to run with video.”
Bill Scott, VP-group publisher of Jobson's Retail Optical Group, said his group jumped into video because it could manage the costs and get to market quickly by building the video player and other capabilities in-house.
Vision Monday advertisers indirectly prompted the title's move into TV. “At trade shows, we noticed that many of our existing advertisers were showing videos,” Scott said. “We asked them what other plans they had for the video, and they said, "We don't have anywhere else to use it.' “
Best of all, Scott said, “Many of our customers don't use their regular advertising budget for video, so this is a way to create a new revenue stream that doesn't cannibalize our existing business.”
About a year ago, Penton Media launched EngineeringTV, a joint venture of its Electronic Design Group and Machine Design Group. “We had done some experimenting with video at trade shows, so we wanted to take the next step with paying sponsors,” said Bill Baumann, group publisher of the Electronic Design Group.
“Our idea in our first year, 2007, was to get two sponsors for two programs a week, and we were fully sponsored from Day 1,” Baumann said. “This year, we planned to expand to four days a week with two additional sponsors, but one company bought both slots, so, again, we were sold out from the start.”
With revenue from the outset, the two groups were able to devote staff to EngineeringTV. “Last year, we dedicated one producer and one programmer, and we used the editors in chief for Machine Design and Electronic Design to oversee the content,” he said.
To handle twice the amount of programming on EngineeringTV this year, Penton added a second producer. “If you're going to do video, you need to add technology people for the camerawork, the production, the editing and all that,” Baumann said.
At Lebhar-Friedman, editors drove the launches of Drug Store News TV, Retailing Today TV and Home Channel News TV, said Randall Friedman, VP-group publisher of the three titles. Editors identified trade shows and other industry events as natural venues for video, and they went to the sales side to line up sponsors to get the programs started.
“We knew video would be an opportunistic buy for the advertisers, so we put an emphasis on affordability,” Friedman said. Then, because many suppliers in these industries don't have video advertising prepared, “we did Q&As at their show booths.”
Lebhar-Friedman's e-media team built video players and “we hosted the video ourselves,” Friedman noted. But the real cost-efficiencies came, first, from staff editors willing to do the work themselves and, second, from some untapped in-house talent, he said.
“We were lucky,” he said. “One of our e-media people is also a weekend filmmaker. So we flew him and his partner to the events, and all we had to pay for was their T&E and their time.” M