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Does Google have the key to monetising online video?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt came out earlier this week saying that he hasn’t yet figured out the perfect solution for making money from online video. His comments come after Google’s earnings report revealed that the $1.65bn acquisition of YouTube is yet to reap the kind of financial rewards that were hoped for.

But across the board, advertising in online video is something that still hasn’t been addressed properly, and the PCTV market is going through an interesting phase. Lack of content has already forced the once heralded Joost to retreat to the US and niche content areas. Hulu is doing well with content, but finding many of the same issues with advertising as the rest of the market. Meanwhile others such as Vuze are hoping that a technology advantage in delivering high-def content will help them gain cut-through.  

But while different online video providers are fighting to carve out their own niche, none has yet addressed the major issue for driving advertising revenue – and that is finding a genuine format and solution that works for advertisers – and educating them about it.

Schmidt was typically cryptic about what answers Google has planned saying only that top secret new products would be launched this year and that the advertising format – whatever it is – will be valuable to consumers as well as advertisers themselves. He insisted they will go far beyond the in-line text ads, overlays and top and tail ads that are already common with online video.

 Until then, plenty of others are just playing catch-up and trying to squeeze more value out of a model that is far from perfect. Warner Bros has just announced that it will offer its DVD film titles online, on-demand on the same day they release the DVDs, which is progress, but a long time coming… Will Google come to the rescue?



Joost struggling in burgeoning web TV market
April 8, 2008, 10:34 am
Filed under: hulu, iPlayer, Joost, online TV | Tags: , , ,

Once the darling of web TV, Joost is apparently struggling and according to James Ashton at The Times, is planning a retreat after failing to attract enough users and worthwhile broadcasting rights. Ashton claims that Joost is set to refocus its ambitions from global domination, to just the US market.

Joost launched last year and enjoyed a monumental wave of popularity and hype courtesy of it being ‘The Next Big Thing’ from Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. With A-list backing it didn’t have to try hard to stir up a major buzz, but what it needed to do was follow through the very astute viral and seeding process with quality content that users would want to watch. I’ve played extensively with Joost and while it’s a nice, slick piece of software and is fun to play with from that perspective, there simply isn’t the content that can keep you glued to your screen.

The Web TV market is burgeoning. According to a new report published this week, the web-based TV viewing audience is growing steadily and now nearly one in ten of all broadcast and cable TV shows in the US are being viewed online. The authors of the report, the Convergence Consulting Group estimate that 9 per cent of all full-episode TV viewing was done online in 2007, 50 per cent more than in 2006 and expects that to grow to 14 per cent in 2008, 19 per cent in 2009 and almost a quarter of all viewing in 2010.

The consumer demand is there – and of the tens of web TV services to be launched in the past year, the stand out winners have been BBC’s iPlayer in the UK and News Corp/NBC’s Hulu in America. The secret to their success? Rights and access to content that is at least as good as what is available on traditional television.

So what now for Joost? unless it’s happy to become a niche player in the US, it will need to imminently align very closely with a major content owner. And for the rest of the market? well in the UK at least, nobody has yet taken on the challenge of convincing the marketing and advertising community of the opportunities and effectiveness of web TV as a channel to carry their messages – whoever manages to align themselves first as the leader and expert on web TV advertising stands to gain big-time.