Ads Rise in Importance -- But Can Video Make a Profit

David Kaplan of Paid Content (where I'm helping put together the Future of Business Media Conference) points out that whether or not The Wall Street Journal goes to a fully ad-supported model, the signs are that digital ads are increasing in importance. Digital and print sales are combinin, for example. So, that's print, and a high-end demo. Makes sense. Meanwhile, Silicon Alley Insider casts doubt on whether video can make a profit, ultimately, because it's so costly to produce and serve. (Do you agree?)

SAI's analysis may be true -- for now. But I remember only too well how much more costly video was before we had all the distributed capabilities of Akamai or Limelight, all the shared hosting of YouTube or Brightcove, all the targeted ad solutions like the ones Google's developing or ScanScout (invested in by Time Warner) or DigitalSmiths promise. So, while today the economics might not make sense in the aggregate: 1. they will continue to get better (following Arthur C. Clarke's "smaller, faster, cheaper" rule), and 2. they might make sense in the specific case if not in aggregate -- for example for tech review sites like CNET's or Ziff Davis', where there are high-revenue ads, a dedicated audience, and lots of server space available with low production costs.

No comments: