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Pick Your Frenemies, says AOL; It Takes Cooperation to Scale
Online video is too expensive to do alone; sites need to embrace aggregation and syndication.

Succeeding in online video means syndicating to other sites and aggregating content from other producers. That was the message Ran Harnevo, senior vice president at AOL, delivered in his Streaming Media West keynote, he explained during a red carpet interview.

Online video is now highly fragmented, he said, with multiple formats, devices, and standards in play.

"It becomes really complex," said Harnevo.

In order to reach as many eyeballs as possible, site owners need to be open to aggregating and syndicating content. The costs are too high to try to do everything from scratch, so learn to cooperate with partners.

"Pick your frenemies," Harnevo noted with a smile.

"Connectivity on the web is actually the most complicated thing. How do you really create a good ecosystem for so much content, so many publishers? I think it's easier to pick up a camera and shoot a video than pushing the video to the right audience in so many places," he added.

Major publishers are more comfortable pushing video out than taking in video from other sources. That mindset will change, Harnevo predicted. Creating that much content at scale is just too expensive to do alone.

Harnevo also addressed the online video advertising market. While it's growing, he think much needs to be done in order to compete with television for ad dollars.

"The overall thing is that the market is blowing up. It's happening. People spoke about the online video boom for a lot of years. I think that today we're seeing a lot of money that comes to the web doesn't find the right package and goes back to TV," Harnevo said.

Right now there's a lack of premium inventory at scale and a lack of efficiency in buying. Online video needs to show that it's brand-safe, and that it can supply viewer data and innovative products.

To view the entire video, scroll down.

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