Web 2.0 Expo: Video 2.0 Leaders on What's Next

Liz Gannes of GigaOM and NewTeeVee moderated a panel of leading execs from the digital video scene: Jay Adelson, CEO of Revision 3 (and Digg); Erik Hachenburg, CEO of Metacafe; Howard Lindzon of Wall Strip; and Marc Siry of NBC Universal’s NBBC unit. Some interesting nuggets:

Revision 3′s Diggnation has more viewers watching the program on TVs via set-top boxes than viewers who watch on a computer. (Diggnation is also watched offline as a podcast more than it is online, but that’s less surprising.)

Metacafe pays a $5 CPM to content producers whose videos attract more than 20,000 views. Erik says that this compensation program acts as a filter that delivers “cleaner” content than the YouTube approach. In other words, more original content and less content re-purposed or stolen from other IP producers. The logic is, to collect your check you need to supply accurate identifying data about yourself, and when you do that you’re less likely to upload someone else’s content. Smart idea! But it may leave Metacafe open to scams like those that plagued Epinions back in 2000-2001, where some members gamed the pay-for-performance system by building bots to vote for their own reviews, or today’s click fraud schemes that manipulate Google’s AdSense program.

The “DJ read” sponsorship format a la Howard Stern or Paul Harvey will replace agency-supplied creative. I agree, up to a point. For large-reach video programs (like Diggnation or NBC’s SNL or Ask A Ninja), a sponsor can take the time to work with that program’s producer on the sponsor segment, the “spot” that the show’s host creates based on the sponsor’s guidance. But imagine 25,000 individual video producers using YouTube or Metacafe as a distribution platform. How does a sponsor get a live-read commercial into each of those videos? And, in the event a sponsor does, how does it review all 25,000 individual “spots” to make sure there’s no funny business, no stumbling over its tag line, no mispronounced product names?

The most important point made by several on the panel: The future of video is about programming. Sure, someone still needs to create original content, but viewers won’t be tuning in because that media outlet created

the content — they’ll tune in if that media outlet is the best at assembling, aggregating, annotating, organizing and filtering the content they distribute. If they happened to create the content themselves, fine, but their viewers are unlikely to care. I couldn’t agree more. If you think about it, isn’t that process — content programming — that’s always determined the channels we watch? If CNN, Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS all roll the same Baghdad footage originally filmed by Al Jezeera, I tune into the network that best helps me interpret it.

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