Travelistic Helps Build Out Travel Video Vertical

Online video is getting vertical, and newly-launched Travelistic is among the sites defining the break out travel category. The site combines ad-supported licensed television content, professionally-produced video and user-generated clips with user distribution tools, and is the first of a proposed series of vertical multimedia sites from video site publisher Diversion Media. Pre-roll and display ads from Procter and Gamble, Days Inn and Acura are currently running on the site.

“We don’t know what the right way to portray a place is ourselves,” said Diversion Media CEO Nicholas Butterworth, former president and CEO of MTVi, who founded the firm with ex-iFilm VP of technology Tatum Lade. So, the company is looking to other producers to show off worldwide destinations. Site visitors can catch anything from a clip of a Newfoundland fishing village by production house BC Pictures to a shaky user-uploaded clip of a fireworks display in Yokohama, Japan. Videos are searchable by destination, keyword or tag.

“We agree it’s still very early,” Butterworth said in regards to the state of Web video. “But there’s a great opportunity to start these small niche networks.”

The firm is running ads entirely through Google’s AdSense network and Advertising.com’s InStream video ad network, offering :15 and :30 pre-roll ads before some of its professionally-produced video. At this point, said Butterworth, pre-roll inventory is at “a pretty low volume.”

Advertisers including Acura, Procter and Gamble’s Secret and Crest, and Days Inn are running pre-roll spots through Advertising.com’s InStream video network. The ad network can target video ads contextually, demographically, by specific site, or serve them across the network, according to Aimee Irwin, VP Marketing for InStream, who said all the ads are accompanied by a synchronized banner.

Unlike the bulk of travel destinations that tend to attract a more mass audience, Butterworth expects Travelistic’s audience to be “somewhat on the young, affluent and internationally-focused side.”

There aren’t many sites focused on travel video, said Advertising.com’s Irwin, who identified health, careers, science and technology as stronger video content verticals. Videos on travel video site TurnHere, which features professionally-produced clips centered on specific neighborhoods and local area establishments, offer advertisers custom films to promote their businesses. In addition, Forbes.com recently launched a luxury travel site that will soon offer a lot of video, according to the publisher. Diversion aims to create more niche sites in the future featuring video on food, fashion, recreation sports, and other lifestyle categories.

Rather than presenting full-length TV shows from its licensing partners, Diversion is chopping content into bite-sized chunks better suited for Web consumption. “The shows are composed of distinct segments, and we break them up based on that,” said Butterworth, noting the 22-minute format of the standard half-hour TV program doesn’t work for the broadband audience.

The video site is licensing shows from TV production outfits such as Grasslands Entertainment, HDNet, Global Telemedia, and BC Pictures. Segmented programs include Thirsty Traveler, a show centered on drink-worthy destinations and City Guides, which features takes on international cities from journalists’ perspectives. The site also features clips from restaurant video review producer Savory Cities, as well as various tourism boards.

Though most people who submit video to the site won’t be financially compensated, Diversion is arranging relationships with regular content producers who will be paid in some fashion, said Butterworth.

Like many video sites, users can grab video and embed it in their own Web sites or pass it around via e-mail. “There’s a logical bridge from sharing experiences from travel and sharing experiences online,” said Butterworth.

Users who upload video to the site have profile pages featuring lists of places they’ve visited, and destinations on their travel wish list. The next step, according to Butterworth, might be to allow users to connect with other people planning trips to the same places. All user-generated video must be approved by Diversion before it makes it on the site, he added.

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