Heavy.com is capitalizing on the race to monetize online video by spinning off its advertising platform, Husky Media.
Husky Media got its start as the internal advertising unit of the online video destination, but quickly gained traction for its unique approach to video monetization, claimed Simon Assad, co-CEO of The Heavy Corporation. Husky sells advertising "skins" that frame each video, providing a solution that neither interrupts nor delays the content.
By spinning off Husky as its own company, it can receive funding from outside investors and export its solution to other destinations.
"Other sites have come to us and said, 'You guys do a great job selling premium advertising around video. We have lots of video we can't sell advertising around. Can you help us?'" said Assad. "As we developed the business we realized the real business opportunity was not just monetizing other people's video but giving audiences on other sites a chance to watch content they might not have access to."
Husky will export more than its advertising skins, however. It will also make available Heavy.com's video player, which aggregates other video content on a page into a cue visible on the side of the player. When one video is done, the next video plays automatically, and so no. According to Assad, the continual play element increases video viewership considerably.
In February 2008, Internet users viewed 10 billion videos, a 66 percent increase over February 2007, according to comScore. Online video ads are expected to pull in $1.3 billion nationally this year, according to eMarketer.
Still, solutions for monetizing online video have been hard to come by, with publishers experimenting with everything from pre-roll ads to banner ads that appear along the bottom of videos while they play. By keeping the advertising outside the video, Husky claims its approach avoids interrupting the viewer or shrinking the ads to an unrecognizable size.
Heavy.com targets 18- to 34-year-old men with original comedy and satirical content. Programming includes "Over the Hills," a hit parody of MTV's "The Hills," "Flex and the City," a spoof of HBO's Sex and the City, and the "Super Friends" take-off "Superficial Friends."
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
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