Year after year, the Digital Video Economy continues to grow in practically every way imaginable — from its annual global valuation, to the number of entities in the industry, to the percentage of global web traffic it accounts for. Add to that an endless flood of new formats, platforms, devices, and vendors, and you end up with an extremely complex, fast-paced industry.
With so many moving parts, and only so many hours in the day, knowing how to pick your battles becomes an essential skill for success in this space. The following list provides a high-level overview of some of the digital video economy’s most deserving battlefields — as well as a few minefields.
Invest in the best recommendation engine possible
Whether you’re building an app or choosing a third-party hosting platform, a top-tier recommendation engine is worth the investment. As third-party cookies lose their status as the de-facto targeting tool, and the sheer volume of digital video continues to expand at astounding rates, a sophisticated recommendation engine that not only works, but works exceptionally well is critical to ensure your content reaches the right audience. Some recommendation engines have been proven to increase follow-on views by 35% or more.
Ensure OTT availability at all costs
A recent report estimated the global OTT market will generate $438.5 Billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 19.1 % over that period. It seems this trend is already in full swing, as our own platform saw a 361% increase in OTT app-based video consumption since the start of 2021. While building your own OTT app is the gold standard, at the very least, every content publisher in the current digital video economy should ensure their hosting platform offers robust solutions across the top OTT devices.
Prioritize mixed monetization
With so many publishers and content creators battling for limited attention, it’s imperative that you cast as wide a net as possible. Using a blend of subscription, freemium, and ad-supported models allows you to include more consumers in your target audience. Lately, broadcasters have been catching on — our recent broadcast industry report showed that 41% of digital-first broadcasters are more interested than ever in exploring mixed monetization.
Experiment with formats
Today, roughly 3 in 4 U.S. consumers watch short-form video. It goes without saying that it deserves a place in your content repertoire. However, the better piece of advice would be to never limit yourself to a single format. In fact, the wisest approach would be the inverse. Experimenting with short-form, long-form, on-demand, and streaming formats will widen your reach even further as you account for a more diverse range of preferences.
Own your own analytics
In a recent study, Gartner estimated that at least 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency. If you hope to establish something close to a level playing field when competing with the monolithic media and content companies, you’ll need to invest in a platform or solution that offers top-of-the-line analytics capabilities that is cross-platform and comprehensive.
Not worth it:
Focus too much on the latest & greatest in tech
Although we are talking about digital video, unless your content is specifically dedicated to or reliant upon cutting-edge video quality and high-tech functionality, it simply isn’t worth devoting precious resources into keeping up with the technological Joneses. That might sound odd coming from a CTO, but at the end of the day, you simply can’t justify a loss in reach just to cut a second or two of latency off your livestreams. Most of us remember the excitement surrounding 360° video just a few years ago. But how many can remember the last time they used it?
By definition, fads are fleeting. But, it isn’t always so easy to differentiate fads from legitimate market trends, especially when they’re relatively new. At the same time, waiting for a phenomenon to prove its long-term viability before deciding to adopt it can come with significant opportunity cost. With no perfect solution available, the best course of action is to chase what moves you, regardless of whether or not it moves others.
Get stuck in your comfort zone
In a field as dynamic as digital video, there is no time to get attached to processes, practices, or preferences. Just a few years ago, viewability wasn’t even being discussed – now, it’s top of mind to practically everyone in the ecosystem. Just keeping up with format and codec updates alone is practically a full-time job. Just recently, only a small fraction of CTVs supported 4K. As of March 2020, nearly 30% of all CTVs in the world were 4K, and that figure is expected to reach at least 66% by 2023. So, ensure that you, and the platforms and solutions you choose to work with, value agility and adaptability above all else.
In today’s increasingly competitive landscape, knowing when to fold and when to go all-in is an invaluable skill, whether you’re an independent content creator or an international conglomerate. Choose wisely.