Advertising has historically been the major revenue supporting entertainment. As the Internet becomes just one more channel for entertainment, content providers need to understand how to make the classic model work for them.
At the Spring 2007 VON (Video on the Net) conference, BuzzMachine blogger and City University of New York professor Jeff Jarvis offered specifics on what online video business models need to do to make advertisers love them:
- Education: Online video needs to teach advertisers how the fragmented audience works. Ads must go to people where and how they watch, inside and outside the home, through releasing control, sharing and by recommendation throughout social networks.
- Measurements: Online TV must develop metrics that advertising can understand yet still reflect the fragmented nature of the Internet audience, tracking both where and how viewers watch. It must be able to report traveling URLs.
- Trust and Identity: The anonymity and spontaneous nature possible with online video is what makes it an open and exciting environment, but there's no way to follow up or cash in on anonymous content. When advertisers spot online video content they'd love to use, they need to be able to identify owners and those who control distribution.
- Guides: Online video needs its TV Guide equivalent and search engines that simplify finding video by type, style and, above all, quality of content. It also needs a reviewing culture.
- Relationships: Online producers need to build win-win relationships with TV and cable. Big media can give online content high exposure and financial support; TV gains "cool points" and authentic content.
- Protection Against Regulation: The freer and wider the conversation, the further the word about advertisers' products can spread.
- Creativity: Production and distribution costs for online content are so low that anyone can afford to create it, presenting a true open marketplace for creators. Greater choice of greater content can only serve advertisers' interests. It's one more reason to ensure that online video content creators are protected and paid.