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SME '17: Live Local Video Brings New Engagement Opportunities

It's not often you hear someone tell you to treat streaming video like a banner ad, but if you were in the audience during the "Monetizing the Local Live Video Opportunity" at Streaming Media East, you would have gotten that exact message. It sounds silly, but if you look at it from a personalization perspective, it makes sense.

The panelists were clear: data and social media have made it possible to target video to the right audience in much the same way it's possible to target banner ads to provide a more personalized experience. "You have the ability to get directly to your audience like never before…thanks to our good friends at Facebook," said George Meek, CEO of InPlayer.

Holden Comeau, president, COO, and co-founder of SilverLine Athletics, provided an example of using data to deliver the perfect video at the right time. SilverLine works with endurance sports properties to extend engagement around their events. He pointed out that someone training for a marathon is engaged with the event for about 10 months. During the Marine Corp Marathon—which boasts about 40,000 runners—they discovered that there was a spike in engagement at 4 a.m. on the day of the event. Nervous runners were up and checking in with the race's social media accounts long before the start. So the following year, SilverLine and the marathon were ready. A video of a drill sergeant looking straight into the camera and admonishing runners to get some rest was ready for early-morning social media users.

But it goes beyond engagement for Tony Wang, co-founder of Agora. He stressed the importance of user-generated content. At Agora, Wang said, they have seen as much as a 15x increase in revenue by allowing for different types of monetization—from tipping to ecommerce. By providing different angles and views of the same event, Wang said you can help viewers feel like they are there and encourage them to spend more money.

As video gets more specific and targeted, the panel agreed that many creators will start taking their content direct to their audiences—cutting out the middle man. Meek said, "Being able to create quality content, and the fact that people are now willing to pay for it—it makes you able to own your audience." And while the infrastructure is there for some use cases, Scott Rutherford, CEO of Useful Media, said it's possible to, say, stream the Super Bowl entirely online while also serving personalized advertisements to viewers. The bandwidth just isn't there. But Meek said a team like Manchester United, with its 100 million Facebook fans, can take games straight to them.

Wang agreed this trend will be important for the future. He said, "You need to continue brand engagement," because once your content ends up on Facebook the audience just thinks it's Facebook's content. Rutherford says he knows of celebrities already starting to cut ties with social media platforms, and trying to drive audiences to their owned platforms. That, it seems, will be the future of video—and possibly all—content.

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