Live @ OMMA: Pitch Your Niche

From the Pitch Your Niche panel….

FoxSports is producing 4 hours of web-only video per day. Ed Bunnell said that video is their top priority. Peter Tyrrell from The Enthusiast Network represents about 30 sites for automotive enthusiasts. He sees video as the top demand for the audience. National Banana was founded by panelist Patrick Panzarella and the creators of the Airplane movies.

How do you create content that is appealing to advertisers and to audiences alike? Patrick is looking for advertisers and marketers to be smarter about racey content. Is Elliot Spitzer content ad friendly? Need to figure out innovative ways to incorporate a brand.

TEN Mags gets their content ideas from their audience. They are focused on evergreen content that appeals to auto enthusiasts at all stages of enthusiasm, from “how to” content to event driven content around auto shows. When developing a niche market, you have to listen to your audience.

FoxSports reaches males 18-35 and is news cycle driven, but they try to create more evergreen content as well. “Every day is a pre-game show.” As sports producers, they are also sports fans, so they are able to ask themselves “what do we want to watch,” and then create it.

AP is also (obviously) news driven. They look at their affiliates first, and compliment that experience. Newspapers lack the same content as TV news. They recently created a Citizen Journalists Network to cover politics, bringing the local flavor to similar content.

One of the challenges is helping people find the actual content. Tagging content isn’t as effective as people may think. As convergence continues to happen, we’ll lose the distinction between TV and IP based content.

National Banana doesn’t consider themselves a destination site yet. They produce content and super-syndicate it across multiple video distributors. One challenge is creating content that people are already searching for. Marketers aren’t sure what they want right now. When they want ‘celebrity content’ do they mean Brad Pitt or Elliot Spitzer’s hooker, who is a much bigger celebrity online right now.

Building an appropriate strategy is also a challenge. Joost has been struggling with traffic, and Hulu hasn’t become mainstream yet. FoxSports syndicates some pieces of content, but has a partnership with MSN to deliver sports content to their homepage. TEN Mags uses syndication of content as a promotional tool, rather than trying to monetize “the third screen.” TEN wants to play nicely with the big boys. AP is experimenting with a few different relationship models beyond their content licensing.

For third party content, National Banana will hire 3rd party writers, but doesn’t buy third party content. TEN Mags works with freelances to create spec content, but is rare that they pick up a finished piece and always maintains final cut approval. FoxSports works in conjunction with the major leagues for live events, but is primarily the sole content provider for their site. They allow advertisers to “own” a show, surrounding the content in whatever way the advertiser wants, and syndication interferes with the control of the user experience.

TEN Mags has endemic advertisers that support the network of sites. Tracking the content is key to monetization. When people pick up content, they can easily cut out a pre- or post-roll, but mid-rolls are more challenging to remove. AP is mostly monetized through pre-roll, but is playing around with the other ad formats. FoxSports mostly sells sponsorships of channels and particular content.