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A Snack Is Just That, But It’s Far From A Full Meal

by Anthony Bontrager on February 22, 2010

Let’s face it, the term “video snacking” describes the quick and consistent consumption of video, and how millions of people have historically chosen to view content online.  According to ComScore, the average duration of typical online video is fairly short at 4.1 minutes per video, with audiences viewing roughly 187 videos per month on average.

While YouTube and other social media have changed the rules of engagement through user-generated content, thus skewing the above numbers, their lack of professional content and meaningful time spent viewing (TSV) – or engagement – keeps them from fully realizing their monetization potential.  Professional content therefore continues to be brand marketers filter for audiences and thus provide greater monetization opportunities for the creators and distributors of this content.

Moving beyond the content type (UGC vs. Professional), Americans still have relatively short attention spans when it comes to their online viewing experience unless there is ample reason to keep watching.

At 1CAST we’ve sought to address both the content type and the consumption habits of online video viewers through our micro-casting strategy.  By thinking with the user and giving them more of what they want, we’ve been able to take the nonsense out of the system through the following:

– Focusing on professional news content from leading international, national and local brands;

– Providing contextually relevant video related to the initial user search queries;

– Making the video experience more personal through customized channels;

– Enabling the ease of content discovery – allow the freshest content to follow the user;

– Showing the user what they can do with the content – search, discover, share, link, embed;

– Delivering content across multiple screens (web, mobile, iTV) – available anytime and anywhere.

This strategy has succeeded in driving longer viewing times and thus significant user engagement for 1CAST, thereby opening up greater opportunity for monetization.  Currently, 1CAST enjoys an average TSV of 22.7 minutes per user per session, with our user base initiating an average of 1.2 sessions per day.  Having just launched our services commercially at the end of October 2009, our early results show that 1CAST is clearly meeting a need for viewers – something we are very pleased about.

So what does this mean for the monetization potential for online video?  Simply put, as viewers increasingly watch video online, for longer periods of time, marketers and agencies would be well served to look for ways to build on this trend to help achieve their goals.  This means developing campaigns that speak to this audience, are able to be targeted at multiple levels, and delivered across multiple device and network types.

While we are starting to see signs of this from the brand marketers and agencies, it won’t happen over night.  The payoff will be a point somewhere down the road, but that point is getting closer each day.

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