The problem with stand-alone videoplayers

Posted on December 6, 2013


I thought they had all died but just a couple of months ago another initiative was launched, Playad / Youplay. A player with content from TT and Pocket Entertainment/Anagram. The content is great so why will it die?

Well, the content won´t, it will get even more valuable, but the distribution model will.

For the past 10 years there´s been several different companies launching stand-alone videoplayers or OVP that any publisher can implement/embedd on their site, none has worked. You can embedd the TV4 player, Aftonbladet player, great content but no revenees, Perform and Muzu (and many, many more) where you can embedd and make money and now recently Playad player. Even we at Sprinkle thought about the idea of doing it but avoided it. So, why doesn´t it work?

1. Online video is just another type of editorial content, treat it like that

Most important is the understanding that online video content is just another type of editorial content. Online video should not have their own category or channel, it is editorial content just as articles and pictures and increasing very fast! The best publishers treat it as just editorial content, for example Aftonbladet. Build a story in an article or in a video clip and then add additional editorial material to it.

2. Content consumption mode

When Pocket Entertainment was released there was a deep understanding of production and what the future of online distribution will look like but still it never really worked. Great production, great people behind it and great marketing. Why didn´t it work? Well, it is because it doesn´t matter if the content is great you still need to understand when there is an audience, this they missed. Pocket had their own website + other channels and needed the visitors to go there (brand building basically) or consume it in the embed players provided by Playad. The audience also needs to be in content consumption mode and they never were since you told the audience about the content at the wrong place, wrong time and wrong context.

3. Type of content and its context

Eventhough Pocket entertainment never fired off their distribution partner Playad once again tried the concept with standalone players and content and this time it was based that they would attract superior pricing, free online video platform, “free content” and other goodies. When you look at it it seems attractive but they miss the point. Just because you have great content and it is free you won´t bet viewers unless you put it it a context. Imagine this. You go to a news website, scan the content and decide for a certain type of content (news, entertainment, sport etc), this context is suitable for matching content, but if you present something else, then you will not click on it, it is just like a banner.And if you go to sport and see sports content will you click on a sports clip, I would still say no because you don´t know what the intention of the visitor. You love fotball but hate hockey. What clip should you present. You love Madrid but hate Barcelona, you love Messi but hate Ronaldo what content should you present, etc etc. Always focus on the editorial work, then place the content.

4. Automation

In a big data world we know more and more of the visitors. This information can be used. Publishers world wide struggle with profitability and editorial staff often suffer. Instead the publishers should focus all their attention on what matters the most, editoral material and then find ways to automate the delivery. This is key. Even if you have great content, a great archive, it doesn´t mean it can be utilized. That´s where automation comes in.