For my series on distributing branded content online, I recently caught up with Tyler Moebius, CEO of Adconion Media Group to understand more about his company’s offering and to get a global perspective on how content is being consumed and distributed differently across other countries. Adconion combines the power of Adconion.TV’s global content syndication network with its savvy production and distribution arm, RedLever.
Christine Beardsell: Briefly describe Adconion and what distinguishes you from other content distribution partners out there.
Tyler Moebius: Adconion is the largest independent global audience and content network. We have 13 offices in seven countries, and serve ads and brand content to nearly 300 million unique users on a monthly basis — second only to Google, according to comScore. We offer agencies an end-to-end video solution by providing both in-house production services and global content distribution.
In addition, this past week we announced a comprehensive technology partnership with BlueKai and the release of our next generation of behavioral targeting tools — targeting now over 100 million BlueKai in-market attributes.
What really makes Adconion.TV unique is the fact it was built on top of Adconion’s existing global network and ad-serving platform. This meant that from day one of launching Adconion.TV we had the ability to behaviorally target nearly 80 million video streams a day across 2,000 global Web sites, with nearly one-third of the streams coming from the U.S. and Canada, one-third in Australia, and one-third in Europe (mainly the U.K., Germany, France, and Spain).
CB: You must have a nice bird’s-eye view of how digital video content (and brand content!) is being consumed across different countries. What are the main differences at the moment?
TM: Video consumption in the U.S. is far more fragmented and there are a lot of different places to consume content, from large destination sites like Hulu to local news sites to vertical sites like Break.com. This type of fragmentation does not yet exist in Europe.
In fact video in Europe is still in its infancy (around 1 percent of the overall online ad spend was video in the European countries). On the other hand, we see huge growth potential. In Germany, video advertising grew by 237 percent in 2008 (source: BVDW.org) and we expect at least the same growth this year.
We believe that Adconion.TV will be a catalyst for the fragmentation and provide alternative solutions to the large destination sites in Europe like Dailymotion, MyVideo.de, and Bebo.
CB: So does your distribution strategy vary due to some of these difference?
TM: The distribution methods are still a bit in their infancy in non-U.S. markets. In general, most video campaigns are still being distributed via in-stream and pre-roll ad units versus seeding and more advanced in page display units. They are just starting to adopt branded entertainment as a viable solution like we are seeing in the U.S. This is probably the case due to the lack of mass distribution and expertise in producing this type of content.
CB: I know a number of agencies in Europe are faced with creating content that has to work across a number of countries. How do you deal with all of the different languages? Do you use subtitles? Or shoot new content for each country?
TM: That is something that comes up quite a bit! Recently our global sales team based in London started offering the Adconion.TV and RedLever solution. There definitely is a lot of interest from pan-European teams at the agencies to have the ability to produce a Web series or brand content that can be localized (shot on location with local talent and language) yet can be distributed across all the European markets through one point of contact, one invoice for production and distribution and have consolidated reporting.
We believe that this type of localization is only possible due to the Internet and the ability to crowd source content. RedLever works closely with several production companies, like Filmaka, who can send a creative brief to thousands of top film makers all around the world and economically produce professional Web series in a local language.
Another thing agencies and advertisers must keep in mind when doing a pan-European or global brand content show is the format of the show. They need to make sure it transcends borders and carries well culturally. We help with that too.
CB: Do you see video content consumption habits across countries starting to converge? Or will we see a divergence in consumption similar to what has happened with mobile adoption?
TM: We will see habits converge. However, in general, the type of video content produced today will continue to evolve as brands and content owners produce content specifically for highly targeted niche audiences on the Web.
Unlike broadcast where content must appeal to a mass audience, online video content can be custom and targeted (and retargeted!) based on the behavioral profile of a specific viewer. A male audience might be served one version of a brand series while a soccer mom will be served a totally different show. But it will be produced and sponsored by the same brand advertiser promoting the same product.
CB: Explain how retargeting works within a content distribution plan. And should content creators and brands think differently about how they are producing content? (i.e., creating content specific to retargeting needs, or putting enough production money aside to be responsive to how audiences are reacting).
TM: Retargeting can be used in several ways depending on the campaign objective, whether it is for improving the campaign performance and efficiency or for telling an episodic story. For some campaigns we will retarget users who watched a pre-roll ad or brand content with display advertising or an in-banner video ad. Often, this can make the campaign more cost effective for the advertiser.
Another use of retargeting would be were a brand has a Web series or perhaps episodic pre-roll ads and they want to tell a story. You can even go so far that depending on what clip was viewed, you can retarget a specific follow-up video creative–imagine it is like a choosing your own adventure story but the brand is controlling the adventure.