Podcasting For Profit And Promotion

I had the pleasure of presenting at the Midwest Magazine Summit & Expo this week. My first presentation on Podcasting for Profit and Promotion is posted here as a podcast (naturally). Listen in! [display_podcast]

I cover the differences between audio on the web, podcasts, video on the web, video podcasts and user generated video. We then look at a sample of the videos TimeScape did for Ehlert publishing’s powersports magazines. We debuted the videos last June. One of the goals for doing videos was to make money. So did it work?

Ehlert Publishing Web Revenute21K before, 83K after. That’s nearly a 300 % increase in revenue
So there’s money to be made here. A lot of people have figured that out.
EMarketer estimates that online video ad sales will surge 89% this year to $775 Million. That money isn’t going to just appear out of nowhere. It’s going to come out of existing ad spending. Some of it TV, some of it print, some of it redirected online advertising dollars.
If you’re not doing something to offer your audience multi-media, someone else is going to do so. A lot of magazine companies (let’s start calling ourselves content providers) are trying to take advantage of the power of video. According to the MPA -57 Magazine Digital Initiatives were announced in the first quarter of 2007. This represents the highest number of magazine digital initiatives tracked in any one quarter since 2006. Most of these initiatives included podcasting audio or on line video:

And let’s not forget the traditional video producers such as NBC. They’re gunning for this audience as well. NBC has partnered with News Corp to create a “youtube” killer. They’ve signed deals with nearly 20 networks and film studios – all of them “niche” providers of video such as CNET, Speed Channel, Style, Golf Channel, Sundance Channel and others.

And then there’s the advertisers. If you don’t offer them a video outlet, they’ll create their own. Sometimes they’ll have a lot of money such as Budweiser- which spent $30 million to created Bud TV…. Which has turned out to be Dud TV because the videos weren’t short and snappy. Or they may be on a shoestring like the World Of Powersports which posts its own videos to attract traffic.

What we can learn from YouTube.
IPG Emerging Media did a study last year of YouTube users. They found some things that should be disturbing to traditional advertisers.

  • 75% said they would rather watch YouTube than regular TV.
  • 63% said they felt they were part of community when visiting youtube.

Those two statistics point to what makes video on the web a success. First it’s interesting and relevant to the audience. So interesting that it doesn’t matter that it’s on a screen one-tenth of the size they have in their living room (all though that’s changing… we’ll have more on that later). The other success factor is community. They just don’t watch video. They comment on it, they share it, they recommend it…. And they do that with other community members. So it’s not videos but people they’re interacting with. That’s community.

Here’s some other eye opening information. As you might suspect most people who come to YouTube, come there to watch videos. But there’s a subset of those people who like to recommend and share videos. We’ll call them the tastemakers. The smallest group of users (about 1 or 2%) are the video creators. And that includes the people who just upload what they recorded off the TV. The take away here is if you want the big audience, you first need to attract those creators and those tastemakers.

All of these companies are after your audience (readers). If they can’t find it on your site. They’re going to find it somewhere else and it’s just a matter of time until someone else is offering it. It doesn’t matter if your niche is a relatively broad one such as “cooking” or narrowly location focused as Lake Superior or the Twin Cities. There’s already somebody out there producing content to entice away your audience.

Is video real expensive?
Of course that’s going to depend upon your definition of expensive. It’s going to cost something, but not at all what it used to cost. Consumer grade cameras with some good microphones can do most of the work for you.

Use existing infrastructure – but also add a little.
If you just ask people to do it in their spare time it won’t work. Someone needs to own the project and top management has to be behind it. Ehlert added 1 FT and 1 PT person and used TS to train its editors to shoot video. It’s easier to teach people how to run equipment than to be enthusiastic about your topic. In other words, You don’t need TV technical people to do the work. But you need TV savvy folks to consult on training and on picking equipment.

Quality
The web is a forgiving medium when it comes to audio and video. At least for now. Content is what drives people to seek out and watch something. Right now if you can hear it pretty well and see it pretty well that’s good enough. But based upon the history of nearly every new technology and means of communication that has been introduced in the last 100 years, people are going to start gravitating towards quality. Shoot high def for cheap! In our next session we’ll get into what makes a video work and what doesn’t.

Displaying the video on your website
If you’re going to do multimedia, don’t bury it. Put it on the front page
1) Front page real estate solution- flash player with playlist
2) Bandwidth solutions – player doesn’t load until you hit play

Is multi-media a promotion tool?
Yes. As long as it causes people to take the action you want. Most likely action is to visit website (generate ad revenue) buy a magazine, and most importantly it gives the audience the tools to tell others about that.

Three important promotion tools 

  • RSS
  • “sharable” videos. Either through posting on another site
    You Tube is one way to do that, but it’s flawed since it doesn’t link back to your site. We’ll talk about some ways around that in the next session.
  • Syndication – this is a way not only to get promotion, but to make money selling your content.

Internet video on your TV
Quality becomes even more important when you get to the big screen in the living room. And it’s not a theory. It’s happening now. Later this month, Apple TV starts carrying YouTube videos. RealNetworks RealPlayer now available in Beta will allow consumers to “download internet video instantly from YouTube, build a library for full-screen playback for PC’s on DVDs”

Conclusions:

  • Your audience will go elsewhere if you don’t give them what they want. And what they want now is video and interaction.
  • Trend prediction: Professionally produced video
  • You will need both your own and user generated video to “own” a niche.

Next Session:

  • How to make audio and video on a budget
  • Integrating audio and video production into your workflow
  • You Tube : Friend or Foe
  • Syndication- Promotion and Profit.

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