Wednesday, May 28, 2008

1 billion viewers can't be wrong

How many people will view your amazing Web video? That's a question many B2B marketers have been asking. The answers they keep coming up with have kept most marketing departments out of the online video world, at least on the business-to-business side, but that may be changing.

A new study from ABI Research forecasts the number of viewers who access video via the Web to nearly quadruple in the next few years, reaching at least one billion in 2013.

“The rapid expansion of broadband video creates opportunities across a number of market sectors,” according to senior analyst Cesar Bachelet, who made his remarks in a press release. “A wide variety of actors aim to gain a share of this fast-growing market: not only content owners such as the BBC and NBC Universal, and Internet portals such as AOL and Yahoo!, but also a range of new entrants including user-generated content sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion, broadband video sites such as CinemaNow and Lovefilm, and Internet TV providers such as Apple and Zattoo.”

While most of these players will be seeking out traditional television mass markets and using old advertising models to monetize their efforts, the professional B2B marketer will be working to provide informative and entertaining content to appeal to specific target audiences. Many of these online viewers already have access to broadband at work, but come home to enjoy traditional television, provided by cable or satellite television companies.

The real sea change in online video viewing will probably have less to do with broadband access and more to do with viewers plugging their media PCs and Apple TVs directly into their big screens. There are already a number of online players providing programming. Soon, we can expect one of the Content Delivery Networks, players that today provide faster streaming by parking video content in locations closer to online viewers, to develop a viable online business channel.

In the future, business prospects will come home after a busy day and watch online video from their comfort of their easy chairs. When that happens, B2B marketers will need to be ready to leverage online video that is both informative and entertaining to continue to build out their brands.
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