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Charting Where Enterprise Video Will Go in the Years Ahead

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Is the idea of monetizing enterprise content one that will gain traction in the next few years? While it is highly unlikely that we’ll see pre-roll ads in front of enterprise video content, there may be some merit to the idea of thinking about video assets as potential revenue generators.

A study that Livestream conducted with New York magazine in 2016 sheds a bit of light on the potential for monetizing corporate content. After noting the upward trend in watching live video, the company reported that “conferences and speakers tied with concerts and festivals in second place” and not too far behind the clear live-viewing choice of breaking news.

From that starting point, Livestream went on to say that respondents preferred watching video from brands over reading information about the brands.

“Live video is more appealing to brand audiences,” the company stated, noting that 80 percent “would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82 percent prefer live video from a brand to social posts.”

Livestream suggests a pay-per-view model for live video, even enterprise video, using one of two approaches: a “freemium” model that can work by “enticing viewers with a free sample before converting them to paying subscribers with premium content” or a true PPV that augments on-site ticket sales to an event, including conferences.

It stands to reason that this augmentation model might work. For business conferences, augmenting the on-site attendees with PPV of a famous keynoter has not, as of yet, become the norm—most conferences tend to give away the keynote address, thinking it will entice future attendees—but expect to see this trend increase, especially if the keynoter is paid for their appearance by the audience size.

In addition, when it comes to the more staid all-hands meetings, the freemium model might work nicely. There are a variety of reasons that key customers and even affiliates might not be able to attend a corporate event that is one part internal all-hands revenue/company health oversight and one part motivational speech. Cue the Amway, Mary Kay, and Cutco Knives examples here.

In a study conducted with New York magazine, Livestream discovered that potential customers preferred watching video from brands over reading information about those brands, suggesting that enterprise video might hold monetization potential.

There’s also another approach: lead generation.

HubSpot, a company with one of the more powerful customer relationship management (CRM) services, offers its subscribers a fairly powerful way to create lead generation. HubSpot and other similar CRM tools, like Salesforce’s Pardot add-on CRM, track customer and potential customer interaction with customer-facing content. HubSpot has finally embraced video as a means for interacting with potential and current customers.

“[W]e know video exists, and some of us have even dabbled in producing videos for our companies before,” HubSpot’s Erik Devaney wrote in a blog post titled “16 Video Marketing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know.” “But when it comes to proving the value of video marketing, there definitely seems to be a knowledge gap.”

Interesting statistics abound on the HubSpot site, including the following, quoted from Animoto: “4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.”

But Devaney also points to conversion rates, which companies like Brightcove and others claim can be increased by at least 20 percent using the power of video.

Devaney’s data was a bit dated—most of it stemmed from 2016 statistics, and some as far back as 2014—so I went looking for lead generation examples that are more recent. One that rose to the surface was a dynamically generated personalized video ad campaign that used machine learning from Eyeview, which labels itself as an “outcome-based video marketing” firm.

Eyeview leveraged its solution for two marketing agencies, Innocean and Canvas, as it sought to increase lead generation and conversions for luxury car marker Genesis.

What’s interesting about this is that Genesis already had the video content, so it was a matter of repurposing what had been internal sales presentation content to be used in an outward-facing brand awareness campaign. In other words, lead generation from existing corporate assets.

“These assets were built around competitive audience constructs,” an Eyeview case study states, “and enlisted highly relevant creative messaging. Seamlessly integrated within the asset were head to head competitive comparisons which focused on standard features in the G80, which were not available on the competitive makes and models.”

The campaign, which targeted specific users in Facebook, used “over 25 custom creatives that spoke to the vehicle’s power, technology, and safety features relevant to the custom automotive segment,” and ultimately generated a 23 percent increase in conversions and a 67 percent increase in post commenting.

Livestream also offers a lead-generation tool, targeted toward the “savvy event marketer and conference leader” that wants to do more than just broadcast enterprise content.

“[P]roducers can display a lead capture form to collect information from their audience,” the Livestream blog states. “When viewers visit your event page, live player embed, or on-demand videos, this form will appear first, effectively ‘gating’ the video. After filling out the form, viewers will have full access to the video.”

The key to any of these types of lead-generation forms is integration into a leading CRM. Livestream states that its lead-generation form can export into a baseline CSV file, but tighter integrations directly into the CRM solution would keep enterprise customers from having to do their own periodic import of leads into the CRM.

Second Life for On-Prem Solutions?

We’ll wrap up this overview of enterprise solutions by looking at what had been considered, as recently as last year, an outdated option for enterprise video: on-prem EVPs.

There seems to be a trend back toward on-prem solutions, or at least toward hybrid solutions that bring the benefit of on-prem asset security and local-area network reliability for internal webcasts, but use the cloud for storage and for wider distribution of non-mission-critical or non-competition-sensitive content.

Wainhouse Research analyst Steve Vonder Haar was recently interviewed by Qumu, a cloud-based enterprise video platform service provider. While Vonder Haar’s comments were focused primarily on cloud-based service offerings as an easy way to stand up an EVP solution, he also noted that there continue to be key benefits to on-premises solutions.

“On-prem will always be with us,” says Vonder Haar. “There will always be some level of organization—the Global 2000—who are going to want to have total, complete control, and they will not want to mess with hosted solutions. At the other end, you have some organizations that don’t want to put up with that CapEx expense—that significant deployment on the upfront basis—and they’ll look for hosted.

“It’s no longer an island unto itself,” says Vonder Haar. “Video is not some novel thing you do on the side. Video is something that you make part of your day-to-day business communications activities.”

Finding the Needle

Going back to our initial use case—the budget mention in an all-hands meeting, but not mentioned in the agenda or any written documentation—hopefully what we’ve provided in this article is somewhat helpful insight into the needs of enterprise employees when it comes to enterprise video.

It’s not enough just to deliver the live stream, because the value in the content is in more than just the initial webcast. EVP providers need to realize that search and discoverability can be augmented by accessibility features—including closed-captioning, more accurate speech-to-text engines, and OCR metadata gleaned from computer vision and machine learning that frame-accurately indexes the on-demand versions of the live streams.

On a trend level, don’t rule out these same features coming to live video. As noted earlier in the article, the opportunity to attach a real-time indexing system to a multipoint videoconferencing call or as a client on a live webcast means that the same robust search and discoverability could be made available even to those who join an all-hands meeting just a few minutes late.

[This article appears in the July/August 2018 issue of Streaming Media magazine as "Enterprise Video Today and Tomorrow."]

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