Association of online publishers Helping media owners build better digital business

Interview with Robert Black, business development director, Utarget:FOX

Robert Black, Utarget
Robert Black is business development director at video ad specialist Utarget.FOX - he spoke to us about the rise of video advertising.

Do you feel publishers are generally making the most of video advertising? Have you seen any good examples recently?

I think that for a lot of people it is a case of work in progress. Not everybody has had a team in place that can generate revenue against the content that their users are viewing.

Viacom and the Telegraph are doing good work. Their offering is well integrated and relevant to the sites environment and other content. They also have a good understanding on how to generate revenue.

What are they key barriers to entry for publishers when incorporating video? Are the costs coming down?

The key barriers to entry are the costs of the players, content and streaming. These costs can be managed. At Utarget.FOX, we are now offering our publishing partners an ad-funded turnkey solution with no cost.

What ad formats do you think work best on video?

Against video content we still find that pre-roll works the best. Video advertising is brand led. We also find that if advertisers are looking for performance, that pre-rolls get more clicks than the companion ads.

From a branding point of view sponsoring players is an option. We also have a range of other stand alone video products. Our TV Subsites offer advertisers a full page of video that is not restricted to 15 seconds.

After the video the user is then directed straight to a page on the advertisers site giving a response element if required. These are proving very popular with advertisers and are giving publishers a good additional revenue stream.

Beyond ad revenue, what other opportunities can publishers capitalise on when incorporating online video?

If you are looking at other revenue opportunities then syndication is a good option if they own their own content. Beyond that, publishers can really boost the traffic on their site if they choose the content carefully, integrate it well and promote it.

There are a host of video players and formats available. What criteria should a publisher use when selecting their video platform?

This is going to be different in every case. It really depends on what they are looking to achieve from placing video on their site. They need to look at the costs involved and how they are going to generate revenue from it.

The questions they need to ask themselves are: Will the player they choose restrict the content they can show? Will the content available be of interest to their users and do they have access to a sales team who can monetise the inventory?

Is mobile TV a viable platform for publishers at the moment?

Mobile TV is a very exciting platform. We are running pre-roll campaigns for our publishing partners on mobile and there is growing interest from the agencies. At the moment I think that costs still need to come down.

Agencies can ‘buy’ the same user on TV or the web a lot cheaper than they can on mobile and this is holding back the market. Having said that it is new and evolving, there will be a lot of change over the next 6 months.

How can publishers ensure they secure the best financial returns when incorporating online video?

Publishers need to think about how the content they are showing relates to the rest of their site. There is no point in having content for the sake of it, it needs to be targeted.

They also need to be aware that some ‘channels’ are more attractive to advertisers than others. Finally they need a sales team that understands the market and has the relationships both within the online and TV departments in agencies.

What does the future hold for video content? What should publishers be planning for?

I think that there is going to be an ever growing marketplace for video content both long and short form. At the end of the day if publishers want their video content to be a revenue stream it needs to be professionally made, good quality and targeted to their site and users thus giving relevance to the experience.

Robert spoke at AOP's forum on making online video work on 18 June - members can download his and other speakers presentations here.