When people read the words "Internet video," they quickly think of Youtube.
Today, Internet video is associated with short-form, relatively low quality video clips (90-200 seconds, somewhat grainy and often jittery).
Average view times, for longer content, remain below three minutes (ie people shut down their browsers well before the video ends) and despite the hype associated with Internet video very few of us are watching full episodes and long-form content on the web.
The vast major of Internet video today is Long Tail content, content of limited value to the general populace but of very high value to small clusters of viewers. CPMs are likewise challenged by the hugely distributed audiences associated with long tail content. Youtube continues to rely on AdSense to drive revenue and CPMs are a far cry from the $25 range associated with prime time television.
We are beginning to see, however, Short Tail Tail content moving across IP networks. Today, for example, one can visit Myspace.com/Fox and watch Fox's premium broadcast content on the web. The OC is currently being made available a week prior to broadcast on MySpace - an amazing example of how to harness the power of social networks, word of mouth marketing, and traditional media assets. Other shows being streamed include Prison Break, Standoff, Bones, Vanished, etc. Note: use IE to watch the shows. Firefox remains in beta.
Rupert Murdoch's vision of marrying 100m plus MySpace users to FoxTV programming is powerful, and I believe evidence of the future of Internet Video - long-form, high quality content that combines prime time broadcast CPMs with Internet per click, per stream analytics and tracking.
The company behind Fox's on-line video delivery? Move Networks.
Move, based in Utah, provides major content owners and network operators enabling infrastructure for the delivery of both live and archived long-form, high quality Internet video.
"Game-changing technology" is a cliched phrase, often over used and very seldom an apt description. Move, however, is a game changing company that in the months ahead will be bringing archived and live premium content (TV, movies, sporting events) to a browser near you - no buffering, no jitter, just high-quality content when and where you want to consume it.
Hummer Winblad recently joined Steamboat, Disney's venture arm, as an investor in Move - it is a company worth watching (pls pardon the pun)!!
A few readers sent me email arguing that long-tail content allows for better targeting and hence will generate more attractive CPMs relative to short-tail content. The logic here is that the content is the filter; ie that advertisers can key off our consumption of certain content as a signal of our intent and interest. The logic supposes that prime time content is too universal to allow for effective segmentation, targeting, and positioning.
The reason for broadcast's failing to deliver effective targeting lies in the nature of broadcast technology itself - a blast mechanism that is one-to-many with no visibility into consumption at the end-points - who you are, what you watch, how often you watch it, ie. your behavioral preferences.
With Move, however, one can marry the targeting that derives from Internet tracking and profiling to the widespread interest in premium content - for example, when we watch the World Cup on-line in 2010, you and I will see different ads based on our profiles and viewing histories.
With Move, we get the best of both worlds - users get on-line access to the world's best content and advertisers are enabled to provide per stream, per user targeting, tracking, and segmentation.