We frequently field a common question from a variety of our digital media customers, including major broadcasters and online publications: how do I make the most of my short-form video content to better promote my long-form content? There's a general consensus that short-form video content is valuable, helps publishers to connect with audience members and generally promotes the real digital media moneymaker: long-form content. But, there's still uncertainty surrounding how to best take advantage of deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews, bonus clips and more.
We also believe in the power of short-form content and want to help our customers to navigate the short-form climate. We offer this advice to our customers:
Complementary, standalone short-form content is valuable
Sometimes, short-form content can take on a life of its own. Consider the success that AMC has enjoyed as a result of its live (and, ultimately, on-demand) talk show about The Walking Dead, called, appropriately, The Talking Dead. Because AMC was an early proponent of short-form video for promotional purposes, the network was able to study the success of various short-form content; it found that behind-the-scenes interview footage generated the most traffic and also sparked the most discussion on social media platforms. And then, genius happened. The network decided to spin out the standalone online series and the audience came in droves. In fact, it has generated a bigger audience online than competitors' content airing over broadcast channels. Wow! While not every broadcaster has the pre-existing fan base of The Walking Dead, AMC's success is proof that an existing audience can be incredibly open to--even clamoring for--additional content that offers more access to, or discussion around, their favorite programming.
Short-form should be considered as additional ad inventory
We believe that selling short-form content space as advertising is an underutilized revenue opportunity. Take, for example, how the New York Times sells video sponsorship packages for its high-traffic real estate section. While this cannot be sold in CPM terms, it can be sold as a flat monthly sponsorship fee and has the potential to dramatically impact a publication's ad revenues. It's easy to picture this same model being replicated across the arts & entertainment sections, the classifieds--and the list continues.
Short-form release windows should be staggered
Commonly, we work with customers that distribute their short-form content through all of their various channels in one fell swoop. But, that's not always what's best from a strategic standpoint. Recently, we've started seeing some customers program their short-form content in a staggered way--for example, by offering a 15-second highlight for a Twitter embed or a teaser for select episodes on Facebook and YouTube--all in conjunction with the release of all of the various short-form promotional content on their own site. It's still early days, but we believe that we are seeing an emerging best practice where customers apply a distribution strategy for their short-form, versus just blasting it all out at once. And, they'll soon begin to see the benefits of a more deliberate approach.
Do you have advice for short-form distribution best practices? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.