Given the amount of hype and revenue potential around video, it’s perhaps surprising that we haven’t seen more video-only publishers emerge over the last few years. The reasons are complex, but the primary one is content acquisition. One of the start-ups that has has faced those challenges head on is Viewster. Here Steve Broadhead, SVP of EMEA Partnerships at Viewster, explains the importance of finding your niche, the growth of mobile and Viewster’s approach to content licensing.
How difficult is it to scale as an independent video-only publisher?
Its a tricky one to balance. You need to be in an attractive niche where users are loyal returning to fresh content. Competing with the likes of Youtube or Netflix head-on is impossible, so you have to find your niche and diversify your business. We tested across a wide range of content genres over a number of years before we have found the right combination.
Could you provide an overview of your content syndication strategy?
We syndicate via an MRSS feed to sizeable and validated partners adding to our audience. Typically these are some of the larger blogs, news listings and TV programme guides. However, this is a very separate product to our owned and operated inventory which only delivers across Viewster.com or our apps and offers a very strong global alternative to local broadcasters.
What level of activity are you seeing on mobile for long-form content? Are you seeing most of your traffic coming from in-app or from the mobile web?
Long-form viewing is seeing strong growth on mobile. In app is the largest proportion of loyal users. We use mobile web as part of our user acquisition funnel. Mobile has been a longer term investment for us. We saw a transition of users at the back end of 2013 and made a decision to invest heavily in our mobile experiences at the start of 2014. It makes sense for our target audience.
Might much of this mobile traffic move over to OTT TV once the technology and platform services get more traction?
We think we are offering mobile OTT. Many of our users are likely to not even own a TV set. They are young, educated and did not grow up with linear viewing. We were very early into the connected environments and still offer our app across a number of the main TV manufacturers, OTT platforms and games consoles but mobile is still by far our largest source of traffic.
What are you seeing in terms of the battles for rights for long-form content? Is competition intensifying due to the various new players entering the OTT market?
Competition is intense and content owners know the value of their content. The maths have to work in order to fund the content through advertising. Selective exclusive deals on niche series often make more sense than non-exclusive ‘hit’ series that are already widely available.