Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Monetizing Internet Video -- Not Hulu or YouTube? Then It Ain't Via Ads!

No one I know doubts the power of Internet video -- or the fact that we are still in the very early innings (inning 2 of a 9 inning game) of the Internet video opportunity -- or the fact that the Internet video opportunity is massive -- or that the Internet video opportunity is game-changing for consumers, businesses, and the businesses that make Internet video possible.

But, virtually everyone I know has significant doubts about the ability to monetize that Internet video -- more specifically, to be able to drive advertising dollars from that Internet video.  Even in the press and in the world of punditry, there seems to be an almost myopic focus on this topic of whether businesses can actually monetize the videos themselves. 

But -- and this is a big "but" -- unless your business is a video destination site (a la YouTube or Hulu) -- this myopic fascination with, and focus on, ad serving for Internet video misses the mark entirely!  For all other businesses -- i.e., the rest of us (meaning the vast majority of businesses, since video destination sites represent only a tiny fraction of overall commerce on the Internet) -- the relevant question is NOT about monetizing your Internet videos themselves.  Rather, the relevant question is whether Internet video can effectively be monetized, in essence, by driving the monetization of your goods and services!  

In other words, can businesses use video on the Internet to spur sales, engage better (and longer) with customers and potential customers, and otherwise market more effectively.  And, with this relevant question in mind, it cannot be doubted that the answer is a resounding "yes" -- Internet video can be, and has been, effectively "monetized."  Countless businesses today use video on the Internet to drives sales and engage with, and educate, their customers and potential customers.  Think showcase videos that are far more descriptive and engaging than textual or pictorial depictions of goods and services.  Think engagement videos that hook you into a site to dig deeper and discover more.  Think instructional videos.  The travel business is one great example of the power of Internet video to monetize -- and monetize in a big big way.

So, THIS is the appropriate way to frame the discussion about monetizing Internet video -- that is, produce videos (or use existing video assets) to far more effectively monetize your business on on the Internet.  After all -- unless you are a video destination site -- the question is not Shakespearean (it is not "To Be or Not to Be" in the Internet video game).  The answer to that question is an absolute "yes."  The relevant question, instead, is how best to use Internet video to build your business.  And, it ain't via ads ...

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