Video Essentials

5 Ways Media Companies Can Make Money With Online Video

Online video is exploding. 2014 proved to be a groundbreaking year for media companies, and there’s no reason for 2015 to be any different. Trends in video have caught on and will continue to evolve as media companies broaden the ways they choose to innovate. Media companies from The New York Times to The Atlantic are making big bets on online video in hopes of boosting audiences and ultimately—money in their pockets.

Here are five tips to make money from video in the year ahead:

1. Invest in Original, Snackable Content

Viewers of all ages are watching more of their video on tablet and mobile devices—on the train, between meetings, or at home. Focus on creating original, short (i.e. snackable) video that is easily viewed and shared by your audience.

MakeMoneyJust look at The Atlantic, which has seen great return on its investment in short video originals—especially the web series “If Our Bodies Could Talk.” This series accounts for 17% of total video streams, and explores a range of health topics in an engaging, funny way to viewers. The clips are inherently snackable at only 5 minutes apiece, and The Atlantic keeps viewers engaged on the site by offering up more episodes at each video’s end.

Invest in more original video content, and watch the viewership numbers rise and the money roll in.

2. Tell a Story

Avoid being overly promotional and focus on a narrative to tie it together instead. Having people watch your video is one thing, but getting them to share it with their network is a different hurdle. Viewers like sharing videos that tell a relevant, engaging story.

You may even be able to use existing content or resources and apply it towards creating videos that craft an interesting story for your target viewers. Building an engaged audience will make it more likely for them to share your content, growing your audience reach.

3. Understand Your Audience

Seems simple enough, right? By understanding what type of videos your audience likes to watch and when they like to watch them, you can make informed decisions about the type of videos to publish and recommend to your viewers. Put in the time or money to do the research about who you’re targeting (or should be targeting). Once you deliver the right content to the right audience, viewers will watch longer. And that means more advertising dollars.

For example, tailoring subscription options to audience behavior and price points will make sure you address every fan’s willingness to pay. The New York Times mastered this concept with its revised digital paywall, which comes at a variety of price points from $8 to $45 per month, titled NYT Now and The Times Premier respectively.

By catering to all of your audience’s content consumption habits, you can open up more opportunities to turn viewers into subscribers at every price point.

4. Ensure Compatibility On All Devices

Mobile and tablet views of online video have more than doubled year-over-year, rising 114 percent in the last year alone. More people are watching video globally on mobile devices, so making sure your video plays perfectly on every device is critical.

Sporting events, news, and shorter video clips are overwhelmingly more popular on mobile and tablet devices. Viewers want up-to-the-second accuracy of how news or a sports game is unfolding, no matter what kind of operating system they might be using.

Ensure that video is adaptable to all device platforms so the viewer experience is the best it can be.

5. Take a Global Approach

Viewers around the world have different tastes in the types of video they watch. Whether it is based by length or video story—understanding the contextual differences on a global scale is key. Hone in on your target demographic and understand how its viewing patterns shift globally—millennials in Ecuador will have different video viewing patterns than millennials in Colombia.

Analyze how your videos perform in different regions, and make programming decisions according to each region’s taste. Then, optimize your online video to each demographic to ensure your viewership numbers are the highest they can be.

In addition, be willing to adapt. New devices are constantly entering the market, focus on building an experience that is adaptable to viewers’ changing behaviors.

Video holds a lot of revenue opportunity for media companies that are not afraid to take risks with their video strategy, and can stay flexible amidst rapidly changing viewer preferences. As online video becomes increasingly popular, keep the tips above in mind to make money and be successful in 2015 and beyond.

Guest post by Silva Gentchev, a field marketing manager at Ooyala.


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