Online Video Watch

By Corey Kronengold

Greetings from the OMMA Video conference. Its been an interesting – and sometimes insightful – morning, so here’s a few takeaways so far. Follow @ckronengold on twitter for my live updates and pithy commentary.

The keynote, Google’s Eileen Naughton, was underwhelming. Lots of stats and broad generalizations. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Did you know that 20% of YouTube’s audience is 55+? Me neither. I’m guessing that a lot of people are emailing and forwarding videos to their parents. No commentary on the frequency of those oldies. Oh, and “Fred,” one of YouTube’s most popular series, is generating seven figures.

Then Mike Bloxham and Jim Spaeth presented “Would You Like Some Context With That?” which introduced the Council for Research Excellence’s Video Consumer Mapping Study. Lots of data, and is available on the conference website for you to download and read for yourself.

It was an interactive, engaging panel, with two moderators taking questions from the audience throughout. The study is the most extensive observational study of media usage to date. Download it and see for yourself. Again, very broad sweeping conclusions and I’m not sure there was a ton of actionable information presented, but I look forward to downloading the full study and finding out for sure. Directionally, there’s no doubt that there is rapid growth in online video.

Next up was “Show Me The Money” panel, moderated by AdAge’s Mike Learmonth, who did a great job staying out of the way of some heated debate. The general consensus was that money will flow into online video from TV the same way it came in from print. Oh, and people still like watching TV, but would rather watch online than not at all.

The morning wrapped with the obligatory panel on ad formats. And the obligatory bashing of pre-roll. The panel turned into a 45 minute long commercial for “The Pool.” Turns out there are a lot of people working on a lot of ad formats, and very few people willing to share info. In fact, there wasn’t even a demo of any of the new ad formats. But for a taste, head over to Tremor Media’s website and check out their V-Choice formats, which panelist Alan Schulman was instrumental in developing. Whether or not people will engage – or want to engage – with ads is still up for debate. Did I mention that people still think pre-roll sucks? Sad, really. Alan had the most insightful comment of the morning when he said, “I don’t think the industry will sit still long enough to replace the workhorse formats.”

I didn’t mention the “Original Video Content Idea Has Failed” panel since I disagree completely with the notion, and at least Fred Seibert from Next New Networks has proven otherwise.

Overall, though, I’m a bit disappointed. Not in the content of the conference, but in how little the industry has moved over the past two years. Still hunting for best practices. Still looking for formats that work. Still not sure if there’s money in online video. I am impressed, however, with not just the quality of the panelists, but the fact that other than Fred Seibert and Alan Schulman, they are people that I haven’t heard from on the conference circuit very much.

Noticeably missing are the big, name brand sponsors that usually crowd the room. This doesn’t feel like the same people talking to each other as usual, and that’s refreshing. The debate about ad formats, however, is not. The Pool will be sharing data in February. Yeah. It should be outdated by then.

Cynical so far? Yep. Search #ommavideo on Twitter and follow along. Lunch is over, back to the grind.