VlogBox get-together series: recap #1

EventsGet-Together series: Recap #1
Table of contents

    In our first webinar of the Vlogbox Get-Together series, we’ve discussed the opportunities CTV/OTT provides for content creators. If you haven’t watched the video yet, let’s review the key points outlined in the episode:

    The speakers:

    Anna McMichael

    Director of Strategic Partnerships at VlogBox. Has 7 years of experience in the SaaS, AdTech, and MarTech, CTV/OTT industries, and works as an advisor for a diverse variety of tech projects.

    Aaron Bendish

    Director of Advertising at Digital Media Rights, one of the world’s largest content aggregators, distributors, and channel publishers. He runs all of DMR’s advertising monetization business, from technical integrations to client relations to sales.

    Dean Valentine

    CEO at Beani, a studio putting out smart, fun, and healthy content by some of the best minds in children’s television. He is also a former President of Disney television, and founder of comedy.com

    The change of the video content landscape: Top channels used by content creators to reach extra views

    The video content landscape is facing big changes. Since Google decided to cut ad payments for content creators, copyright limitations began to spread, there have been questionable Terms & Conditions updates, and competition has increased greatly – all of which has led to content creators having to seek out other opportunities. These are the reasons CTV/OTT has become one of the fastest-growing trends in the digital industry.

    Aaron Bendish: “The number of platforms that are considered a part of the CTV space is growing constantly, with more and more households having smart television, people cord-cutting, getting rid of their cable services. It’s presenting opportunities for digital distribution options that are substantially different and in a lot of ways more accessible than traditional cable platforms. It’s coming from both directions – from the traditional distribution model and from the traditional theatrical cinema distribution model. That sort of two-sided aspect is funneling into home entertainment, the broad connected device world. The pandemic also changes the way people consume connected TV devices. And monetization, of course, is excellent on CTV, as compared to mobile devices, to web and mobile web. If you want to promote something, you get a much greater return on your investment.”

    More and more brands are striving to create CTV channels in addition to or instead of their linear TV shows willing to get more options and opportunities.

    Dean Valentine: “The immediacy of traditional television combined with the customization and interactivity of digital technology really seems like a perfect combination for us. It’s an immediacy and a sense of connectedness that really is the core of what television can provide.”

    1. What sort of content is likely to succeed on CTV and why? 

    Universal platforms like the most popular CTV platform in the USA are filled with thousands of niche topics and content subjects. There are some outliers that we believe will take a big chunk of viewers’ attention in the nearest future, considering recent covid-related shifts. Entertainment content is still the king on any CTV platform. TV series and movies binge-watching has become a trend. New big film releases are no longer tied and dependent that much on cinema distribution (which, by the way, many directors don’t appreciate). Instead, they can be released on VOD services.

    Dean Valentine: “Family movies in the movie theaters are no longer performing because the content is moving into the home. Cable channels are losing the audience because kids are going to YouTube, they are going to digital platforms. They are native to it at this point. For us it will be an opportunity to reach millions of subscribers with an app, it’s really appealing.”

    Aaron Bendish: “To some extent, it’s necessary to find the sort of niche you are filling and attract attention based on a particular interest category. We also have to be sensitive to our advertisers’ needs for brand safety but also to their interest in a particular genre category. Content categorization definitely impacts the business on all levels, from channel development, brand development all the way down to impression level, advertising targeting, budget allocation.”

    Gaming is also a big thing, as evidenced by how industry leaders see their sector developing. Netflix is already testing their first games embedded into the platform.

    Anna McMichael: “The whole categorization will get even more granular. It’s good for everybody – starting from advertisers to content owners. Gaming is really up and coming, and it’s gonna blow up even more. Now Netflix is already doing their first game, and then Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Android TV already have dedicated app stores.”

    2. Top streaming services to jump into, channel development and monetization opportunities

    There are three main monetization models. Ad-based (AVOD), subscription-based (SVOD), and transaction-based (TVOD). Depending on the preferred business model and specific content featured, content providers can pick any of them, or even mix-and-match.

    Dean Valentine: “SVOD was impossible to penetrate, it was occupied by large media companies. AVOD really seemed like the place where we could reach advertisers and the audience, and the barrier of entry was much lower. You need to have a relationship with the content. People will pay a certain amount of money for something they care about. As content develops on the AVOD platform it might then upgrade to the SVOD platform.”

    However, for some businesses, the subscription-based model is more suitable, but it’s important to set a fair price that would be beneficial both for the channel owners and for consumers.

    Aaron Bendish: “Subscription is much cleaner just in the transaction, there are expenses to process the payment, you pay royalties to your content providers, but there are no ads involved and the advertiser who needs an additional serving fee.”

    Anna McMichael: “AVOD is one of the monetization methods a lot of new content owners and content creators are choosing. But with Apple TV it’s better to build a SVOD app because Apple users tend to pay for the subsсriptions. For some content owners, it’s still a good way of monetization, for instance, when it comes to fitness or educational content.”

    3. How to develop your own app on Amazon?

    Developing your own channel is much easier when involving professional third-party assistance like independent freelance developers, or dedicated companies to take on coding and publishing responsibilities.

    Aaron Bendish: “It takes a lot of creative effort. We have the benefit of having an in-house creative team, a tied graphic design team and it helps us immensely. Creating an OTT channel takes time and patience. We’ve been establishing our OTT for more than 5 years, but we still launch new brands and applications. We can only do that with a strong enough base of content, very well-headed branding, and promotional materials. And even then it’s a challenge.”

    We recommend resorting to third-party services if speed is essential or your team lacks experience.

    Anna McMichael: “It’s gonna give us better outcomes and results if we engage third-party companies with development, because the call here is to grow your brand.”

    Dean Valentine: “If you really try to build a brand, you need to own your technology in the end. If you’re looking for long-term brand building, you need to stand out in this vast sea of content that’s pouring out on people’s devices every day. Unless you are one, you really need a company that knows how to build a brand.”

    2. Promotion tactics for such channels

    There’s just no universal solution to promote VOD channels at this point. The range of content, target audiences, platform specificities, and the variety of marketing actions one can implement are just too much to analyze and apply a correct strategy right from the start.

    Dean Valentine: “We do infinite marketing on infinite platforms. We’re doing some promotions with the most popular CTV platform in the USA. Cross-promotion with some content owners, we are about to start doing promotional work with influencers. As for the the most popular CTV platform in the USA self-serve, we see an uptake in viewers, so it’s effective. But social media is not right for the kids’ business.”

    There are also helpful tips on how to increase the install growth and keep your users engaged.

    Aaron Bendish: “In our case, install needs to be balanced with user retention. Continually having new content, it’s interesting to users. Branding is a part of install growth, and it requires marketing efforts. There’s also an element of gaining momentum that causes your app to be placed higher in search results. And geo-based focus – different user locations have different values to you on an advertising level.”


    The CTV industry opens up a wealth of opportunities for content creators and advertisers. To succeed, you need to take into account your niche and research what your target audience might like, and what the needs of your viewers are. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment and try different approaches.

    Anna McMichael: “There’s so much more to change and there’s gonna be so many more best practices on marketing and development as that industry is shifting and growing really fast. But even though we know we have a certain growth, CTV is like in its premature phase.”

    In order to get deeper insights, feel free to watch our webinar in full by following the link!