In the past few years, book publishers have created a lot of interesting, entertaining and relevant video content that sits un-watched on You Tube and author websites. The “Post-It-and-They-Will-Come” model is clearly not working. Several major publishers are creating dynamic homepages in hopes that they will become reader destinations and communities. While there is a useful role for these sites as resources for reviewers, news gatherers and others in the industry, none has either the mass scale or niche credibility needed to gain traction with the reading public. One exception might prove to be Tor.com which is leveraging their Sci-Fi brand and expertise with a publisher-agnostic site.
Verso Digital encourages all publishers to take their video to the book’s audience where it’s most active and engaged online. Here are some strategies for leveraging that content right now.
A recent report from DoubleClick, mirrors our own experience with flash and video book ads—showing that video ads have significantly higher levels of engagement than standard flash ads. Recent technology breakthroughs make it easier than ever to use in video in all kinds of places that were formerly off-limits for technological or budgetary reasons. We have run highly successful video ad campaigns on everything from Facebook apps such as Visual Bookshelf to NYTimes.com–and can now run video ads across the entire Verso Reader Channel ad network for a minimal additional cost. All without incurring the additional expense of using a third party server.
As the average time spent online officially passes time spent watching TV, it’s important to remember that viewers don’t necessarily make the same distinction as a professional data company like Bowker does between “TV” and “Online.” With the explosive growth of sites like Hulu, audiences are increasingly accessing TV content online. This creates an opportunity on sites to reach TV audiences in new ways. Hulu’s channels, from News & Information to Sports to Food and Leisure, are a perfect fit for the categories of contemporary publishing. And in the last two months, Verso has had success with campaigns on Hulu’s “Science Fiction” channel for everything from Vampire Romance to an epic Norse poem translated by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The NYTimes R&D Lab has been inspirational in rethinking content and advertising—mixing high-quality reporting with photos, video, audio and Web 2.0-style community-input. There is an ever-increasing array of advertising products associated with this new content, and Verso Digital is taking advantage of them as they come along—not only with the NYTimes iPhone and Blackberry apps, but also with pre-roll and rich-media offerings on the site. It’s important to stay current with what the Times is working on, so Verso teamed up with them for a series of breakfasts that introduce our clients to the latest thinking from R&D. We’ve had two sold-out events so far, featuring such forward-thinking strategists as Martin Nisenholtz and Nick Bilton, and will be scheduling more in the months to come.
While sites like Hulu and NYTimes.com allow us to re-purpose the traditional :15-:30 spots we’ve always created, the Web gives us the chance to reimagine how we can use video assets of all kinds. Whether it’s for author blogs, news sites, broadcast-TV, and social media apps, Verso can create or repurpose existing video for use wherever it’s needed. You know all those book trailers you made that are sitting in your digital basement? Well, it’s time to dust them off and put them to work.