About Embarks on Web Video Mission through TV Partnership

The New York Times Company’s About Inc. hopes to gain a foothold in the interactive video space, and it’s moving to TV to do it. The expert guide publisher has signed on to syndicate its video content on Expo TV, an on-demand TV and broadband network that serves up product demonstrations and reviews.

According to the deal, About.com video clips will be a part of Expo TV’s “expert buying guide” television programming focusing on product categories that are often researched by consumers before making purchases, such as “House and Home,” “Beauty and Health” and “Travel.”

“This is an opportunity to extend the About brand onto a new platform,” explained About.com CEO and President Scott Meyer. “It’s largely a promotional opportunity.” Through this video-on-demand venture and other planned video offerings, About aims to make a name for itself beyond its text-heavy Web-only roots. Meyer would not name names, but he mentioned that About is “actively in negotiations” with other potential syndication partners to distribute About video.

About’s current Web site selection of how-to style video provides help on things like choosing car audio gadgets or caring for fresh flowers. Advertisers including Microsoft, Honda and Nationwide run pre-roll ads before video content. According to Meyer, About will play no role in selling ads in the video content it provides to Expo.

In its online video site section, About also links to music, movies, autos and electronics video content from sister site NYTimes.com. Just last week NYTimes.com revealed its plans to create more original video content on its Web site, in part to help satisfy advertiser demand for pre-roll streaming ad inventory.

About’s video mission is not part of any broad New York Times Company strategy, said Meyer, who commented, it “reflects that we see a lot of strength in video advertising on the Web.” About is in the process of creating “a much deeper library” of video content featuring “channel hosts,” its own site experts, as well as through content partners user-generated video. About will offer pre-roll ads, programming breaks and branded entertainment opportunities to advertisers through its site video content.

Although a much younger firm, Expo TV’s current broadband and on-demand video content resembles what About plans to do in the coming year. Expo, which launched last March, presents streaming product demos and reviews from advertisers, consumers and its own “experts” both on its site and on-demand through cable TV partners in 33 states. The firm pairs product demonstrations and expert guidance in its TV programming with “Videopinions” provided by consumers who upload their own product review videos onto the Expo TV site. Expo viewers will see About video clips featured in the “Consumer Tips” category, along with other on-demand content categories. Daphne Kwon, CEO of Expo TV, hinted that Expo plans to partner with other content syndicates in the future.

In addition to helping promote the About.com brand outside the Web, the new television syndication effort could help establish About as a multi-platform video content developer. Suggested Daphne Kwon, CEO of Expo TV, “We can help brands establish themselves through video quicker…by building this consumer-friendly TV outlet. Multiple platforms are better than a single platform.”

The New York Times Company laid the groundwork for its syndication strategy through a deal signed with Brightcove in February.

Related reading