Ekow Yankah is CEO of Castaclip, a content syndication company that also offers a semantic video player. Castaclip has its roots in the Berlin tech scene and has been spreading its wings across multiple European markets. VAN caught up with Ekow to discuss how semantic players work, the state of the German video market, the most popular genres of video content, and how publishers can get the best out of their inventory.
Could you give a little background on how Castaclip works with publishers?
We help publishers to create additional video advertising supply through premium content. We supply a large portfolio of over 60,000 content assets from several different genres. Our relevant content engine also helps them to play the content but also to decide which content would work best on each individual placement within any site, so it’s a semantic video player. The aim is to enhance discovery and allow users to have a sense they can kick back and enjoy video.
Short-form content is our forte although long-form content is becoming more and more popular as viewing habits shift towards digital media. We operate in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and in March we launched in the UK, Denmark and Sweden. Then we’re going to also be launching in France in May.
What kind boost does a publisher’s supply receive when they’re using a semantic video player?
Our tests have shown that a semantic video player can increase the video view conversions by up to 280 percent.
Does video typically work best in a ‘video only’ environment or when featured alongside text, such as when embedded in news articles?
It depends on the situation and the requirements of the user, which tend to differ according in video only environments. There are also user situations where video can be complemented by text and images, but it’s certainly a more challenging video environment as video is simply adding value rather than being placed at centre stage. From an editorial perspective, it’s important to understand when and in which contexts it’s best to use video.
How would you describe the German video advertising market at the moment?
In terms of premium supply, there’s a shortage, so advertisers, ad networks and media agencies/trading desks are looking desperately for great content, so we do have a real issue here in terms of meeting demand. However, there’s plenty of sub-optimal content out there, not only UGC but content that isn’t particularly special and is neither exclusive nor particularly good in terms of quality or professional production. We see the market dividing into two tiers — there’s plenty of video supply out there but we just have to make sure there’s enough to meet the premium demand. I think this situation is in many respects similar to what’s happening in all other markets.
Are CPMs in Germany typically heading up or down?
They’re pretty stable for premium and are even edging upwards a little bit, often to around the €25 to €30 CPM mark. But on the bottom line they tend to be fairly stable although sometimes there’s a downward movement, down towards €9 to €7 CPM. So the market is quite clearly divided between premium content and everything else. So there’s a movement on either side, one positive and one negative.
What type of video content is typically in most demand?
It depends on the market. In Germany, sports are hugely popular, along with celebrity and entertainment content. However, in places such as France, we see a much stronger focus on news content, and things like food and content are also quite strong. We focus particularly strongly on three genres which we find are strong across all of the markets, so things like sports, entertainment and movies.
Are we seeing a new generation of independent video producers coming into the market?
Yes, as the market is growing we’re seeing some exciting new content coming through, but it’s still quite a tough market and the market is still quite young. Then of course we see companies like YouTube investing in independent content, but we’ve yet to see whether it’s going to be sustainable instead of being propped up with money generated elsewhere. We do see some independent players coming in and producing professional content on an ongoing basis, and we can expect to see more as the amount they can earn gets higher and higher.
Are you seeing brands approaching you with their own branded content for syndication?