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Interview with Nancy Cruickshank, global CEO, VideoJug

nancy cruickshank

Nancy Cruickshank

Nancy Cruickshank, Global CEO of VideoJug, on how online video consumption is changing:

Q. You were managing director of a successful online publisher at Handbag.com. What prompted you to take the risk of entering a relatively new market with VideoJug?

I sold Handbag.com to Hearst (Natmags) in September 2006. I stayed on for 15 months to help integrate the Handbag Group into Hearst Digital....of which I was MD.

What attracted me to VideoJug? Hugely inspiring entrepreneur founders, David Tabizel & Dan Thompson; online video being a seriously 'hot' growth area online; a global role and the ability to take up another entrepreneurial role myself. The combination was irresistible!

Q. VideoJug is pitched as YouTube for 'how to's'. Do you see a growing demand for community-based recommendation services in helping retrieve information from the web, as opposed to traditional Google searches?
Yes, absolutely - people are increasingly looking to communities to provide additional confirmation or verification around issues, a decision to be taken or a task that needs to be carried out, and consumers use these recommendations as a tool to enhance, or ‘fine tune’ their information retrieval.

A prime example of this is how much influence customer reviews have on well known retail websites such as Amazon. On VideoJug, if you’re looking for a video about how to make homemade fish fingers, and the first comment beside that film is about how delicious the dish was and how easy the recipe was to follow, you’re much more likely to feel confident about trying out the recipe yourself.

Community participation is a big priority for us at VideoJug, as we grow into a social knowledge network. Encouraging the community to respond and interact with each other means that the knowledge platform becomes richer, deeper and more engaging for users and in turn our commercial partners.

Q. Do you feel that publishers are generally getting wise to incorporating video content? Have you seen some good examples recently?
In the UK, people are watching in the region of 10 billion minutes of online video every month, and are consequently creating an enormous demand for video online. Publishers are responding to this demand, and we are receiving an increasing number of syndication enquiries from them.

The trick will be for publishers to select content that compliments their existing content and adds value for their audience and advertisers. Telegraph TV do this well - users can watch clips featuring the latest news as well as exclusive daily or weekly shows on business, travel and fashion amongst others. Another good example is The Guardian who use a selection of VideoJug careers videos within their Guardian Jobs site.

Q. When is it good to syndicate content, as opposed to creating exclusive video content?
It very much depends on the brand or site. If we’re working with a brand, we’ll look closely at their objectives for video use online. Syndicating content is a good way to rapidly scale up the video presence on a site to meet user demand or add depth to existing content, providing the audience with more choices.

Exclusive video content is invaluable when it comes to, for example, communicating a message, giving instruction or showcasing the benefits of using a product. The two are not mutually exclusive either!

Q. What are they key barriers to entry for publishers when incorporating video. Are the costs coming down?
VideoJug recently conducted a survey which found that less that 10 per cent of the UK’s FTSE250 companies were using video on their consumer facing websites. This shows that, despite their clear demand for video, consumers are ahead of the game.

Our experience when talking to partners is that technology, cost and distribution are the main perceived barriers. At VideoJug, our partners have access to our world class video player, that is adaptable and flexible plus access to a global distribution network which includes partners such as MSN, MySpace TV and Virgin Media.

Costs of course vary depending on the volume of exclusive content required, as well as the brief of course, but generally, online video is an incredibly cost-effective way of communicating with your users - especially if you take into account how broadly the video can be distributed, as well as the additional revenue streams generated around video content.

Q. What does the future hold for video content? What should publishers be planning for?
My top five predictions for the future of video content are:
  • Always film in the highest available quality - all VJ films are HD ready - your videos could be out there for a long time!
  • Expect a lot more integrated product and brand placement in videos.
  • Ensure video content is platform agnostic - allow users to transfer between devices and access your content from anywhere.
  • Users will continue to generate their own content in increasing numbers and to increasingly high standards - be open to incorporating this - and encourage it!
  • Video will be searchable very soon - so pay attention to SEO when you produce your online videos!

Nancy spoke at AOP's forum on making online video work on 18 June 2008 - members can download her presentation (including video SEO tips).


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