The Syndication Opportunity: How Many Publishers Are Still Failing to Leverage the Liquid Structure of the Web

SimonEven in 2015, many publishers and broadcasters are struggling to make their content strategies and business models fit for the web. Here Simon Kvist Gaulshøj, Platform Director at TheOutplay, a content syndication platform, explains how programmatic content distribution can open up opportunities to earn incremental revenue.

Over the last few years, publishers around the world have been scrambling to become more deeply involved in the video advertising market. Most have been lured in by high CPMs and the promise of TV money flowing online, although some have struggled to work out how they can sustainably optimize and grow their video advertising revenues. However, one revenue stream that many publishers fail to consider is the value of programmatically syndicating their video content to third parties. By pushing their content out to the wider web, publishers would not only increase reach and video views, but generate additional revenue via in-stream advertising.

First, let’s bust a few myths. For example, take the commonly held view that there’s a shortage of premium content available. In reality, there is masses of quality content coming online each day, but it just isn’t being distributed as quickly and as efficiently as it should be. As a result, premium content simply isn’t being placed where the majority of the eyeballs are, meaning that audiences are unable to conveniently consume premium video content where they please.

This problem can easily be solved, but it will require publishers to rethink their video strategies and to tap into the ‘liquid layer’ of the internet, where audience and content flows between the solid layer (sites). Publishers have no exclusivity over their audiences. Online audiences travel across multiple websites and digital touchpoints on a daily basis and engage in content where it is contextually relevant and presented in a user friendly manner.

I believe we are experiencing a paradigm shift, where publishers are moving from a drive-audience-to-content approach to a drive-content-to-audience approach. It will not only generate additional eyeballs and increased engagement but perhaps more importantly make it more profitable for the publisher to invest in producing even more premium video content.

Time to Drop the Legacy Thinking

In the past, publishers with a print or magazine background (none mentioned, none forgotten) have tended to be overly protective of their brand, their audience, their data and their content. As a result, many have been reluctant when it comes to syndicating their content out to third parties, and often for perfectly legitimate reasons.

For example, the yield generated was often too small and could not justify the workload involved. Or else they couldn’t control where their content was used, or they were concerned about it compromising their brands. However, times have changed and now there is an array of new syndication platforms that are capable of addressing all of those concerns, so publishers can lower their guards a little and embrace the emerging opportunity.

That said, let’s not pretend that syndication is a panacea for all of the video publisher’s ills. Things like search, content strategy, social and audience development are as important as ever. But in 2015, syndication should take it place on that list and be regarded as a fundamental component in being a successful and profitable video publisher. The opportunity is there, now it’s time more publishers stepped up to the plate.

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