An inside look at DDM’s video strategy

Long, short, and snack-size video… yum, yum

Russell Banz | VP of Product, DDM | @DigArchetype | September 1, 2015

At Deseret Digital Media (DDM) we have a strong belief in growing the consumption of video on our various digital platforms. As almost everyone inside the digital media industry knows, video presents a wide variety of opportunities, both on the revenue and audience growth side of things. Targeted video pre-roll ads can garner well over a $30 CPM rate. Video consumption across the globe is growing at a rapid pace and is predicted to account for 85 percent of all Internet traffic by 2018.

Not only does video provide new growth opportunities but it also helps deal with some of the current challenges facing digital advertising. For instance, “ad blockers” could potentially diminish some revenues associated with traditional display ads. And there is a general migration from desktop digital experiences to the mobile environment where there are less viewable ad units. Video provides advertising opportunities that could be considered both “ad blocker safe” and “mobile ready.”

So what is DDM doing to take advantage of the opportunities in the digital video space? That’s where long, short and snack-size video comes in. We are addressing the opportunity on three different fronts as described below. Future articles featured in DDM’s Innovation Wire will give a more detailed look at each front, while this article will give a brief overview.

Long-form video: live events

A few years ago, we gave ourselves the challenge of creating engaging video content that would keep viewers around for longer than just a few minutes. Our specific answer to this challenge was to launch live coverage of high-school athletic events on both KSL.com and DeseretNews.com. In order to do this in a sustainable, cost-effect manner, we made some minor modifications to our Deseret Connect contributor platform and began partnering with high schools throughout the state of Utah. We made it easy for high school video departments and their students to launch live streams of any sporting event at their schools via our platform. We also made it easy for viewers to find these events on our WatchIt Channel on our websites.

Here’s an example of a high school playoff game: 4A State Tournament — Bountiful vs. Murray

Over the course of a year, we will cover hundreds of high school events — even beyond athletics. This includes dance, drill team, band, graduations and so forth. In addition, we formed a major partnership with the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) and provide coverage of most all of the state championship games — this includes games featuring smaller schools in Division 1A to the large 5A events.

Pre-rolls, display advertising and in-game mentions are just a few ways we monetize our live streaming activities, enabling us to provide this valuable service to the community.

Short-form video

At DDM, we consider short-form video anything in the 1-3 minute duration range. Over the years, our primary source of this type of video has been repurposed video from our sister company, KSL Television, as well as curated video from YouTube, Vimeo, etc. We have been able to grow consumption from these internal and external sources to over 2.5 million video views a month on our properties. Some of our most popular videos in this area include our KSL weather video, KSL.com’s “Have You Seen This” daily video feature, and DeseretNews.com’s “The Clean Cut” franchise. In most cases, a pre-roll ad is introduced before the video plays.

We also know that there is tremendous opportunity for original, in-house produced video content. Therefore, this summer we launched a new activity called DDM Video Labs. The purpose of our Video Lab is to experiment and test a wide variety of video types and formats. We hired young, bright and creative video interns who were already experimenting with different types of video on YouTube, etc.

The DDM Video Lab team has turned out some creative and amazing short-form videos. A few examples include:

Our Video Lab team will continue to experiment and iterate. Hopefully we will develop a few home-run video franchises that will appear on our digital platforms on a regular basis.

Snack-size video

At DDM, we have figured out that there is an appetite (no pun intended) for very short, one-minute or less videos that we are calling “snack-size” video. Most of our snack-size videos are consumed and shared socially — primarily on Facebook — where video is easy to watch and most often auto-plays.

There are at least three different types of snack-size videos that we have found to work. They include:

We plan on continuing to explore and test a wide variety of other snack-size video types as we have seen that this format is highly shareable and significantly increases the engagement of our numerous Facebook channels.

A final note

With over 200 million Internet users currently consuming digital video on a monthly basis and digital video ad spending expected to surpass $12 billion by 2018, there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to exploring and growing video content.

In future editions of the DDM Innovation Wire, we will be taking a deeper look at some of the video formats and projects mentioned in this article. We look forward to sharing some additional successes as well.

In the meantime, enjoy another video created by our DDM Video Lab for our FamilyShare team: Staycation: You don't have to go far to get closer