MSNBC.com to Monetize its Videos Throughout the Web

By on 08/12/2009 8:32 AM @beet_tv

REDMOND, WA — MSNBC.com,  the first major video news organization to provide sharable videos, has found booming usage of its videos off its site, notably on the Huffington Post.

We interviewed Charles Tillinghast, president and publisher of MSNBC.com at the company's Redmond headquarters.

Seeking to monetize this "off-the-site" consumption of video, the company will soon insert advertising into its embeddable player.  Managing the ads in the embeddable player is YuMe, a Redwood City-based video ad newtwork.

Charlie tells Beet.TV that his company is making its embeddable player more user friendly by making resizing easier.

Beet.TV videos are widely viewed on the Huffington Post on an embeddable player from Blip.tv.  This player also carries in-stream advertising.  For publishers large and small, an effective syndication strategy with embeddable players is essential.

This is the first of three interviews with Charlie and Beet.TV

Andy Plesser, Managing Editor

Video Transcript

Charles Tillinghast:  The embedded player has been tremendously successful for MSNBC.com in the year plus that we've had it on the market. We've had great pickup from many many blogs, the most prominent being Huffington Post. Because of the success of the player, we are starting to innovate with more modifications of it so that we can do things like re-size it, allowing blogs to be able to fit it into their page design and not be stuck with one size fits all type of experience. We also have a partnership with YuMe to provide ads for the embedded player, so we can start to monetize the embedded streams and, in doing so, we have a motivation to, and an incentive to, distribute our content broadly and not be in an old model where everyone has to come to our website to view the video. Instead, people can experience MSNBC video anywhere on the web.

It's a different experience. When you have the embedded player, it's a little smaller and the navigation is limited because you're trying to fit it into a small space on somebody else's site. When you come to our site, you have the full richness of the experience. You have complete navigation, you have a much larger video screen, you have more options, and more content that creates the context around that video. So we don't see it as an either-or type of proposition, we see it as a way for people to experience video in the manner they wish, in the place they wish, and those are all complementary uses, not competing uses.

The advertising on the embedded player is still very nascent, so we don't have advertisers coming to us saying, "We really want to be an advertiser in an embedded environment." What we do see, however, is tremendous demand for video advertisement in general. So we're essentially sold out on video, have been for a long time and so our main limitation is just growing volume to satisfy advertiser interest. But just as TV is a very popular medium for advertising, we're seeing a similar response for online video. It's a very bright spot in an otherwise difficult advertising environment.

Part of it is reach because a lot of those digital dollars, or those broadcast dollars are going up against some very very big properties that reach millions and millions of users compared to what any particular clip on the web would reach, but it may never go back to being…having the same profitability on a per stream basis, but the way that the economics are changing and the way that we're responding in partnership with our parent, NBC, is that we're producing video for multiple platforms. So the more that we can have a piece of content run on TV, a piece of content run on desktop, have it embedded on a blog, have it on a mobile device, then you're getting up…you're getting pennies on every one of those stops and that starts to ad up to dollars. So it's not a matter of, "What do you get for desktop video versus broadcast video?" The question is really, "What do you get for a piece of video when you add up all of the different places it's running, all of the different platforms?"

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