As the online video world grows, content creators must cast a wide net

Making your own videos? What’s your target media? TV? Interweb? Play Station? Your wi-fi connected refrigerator? Got all your bases covered? Are you sure?

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by David Pierson

Julie Nolke, a cook and host on the digital food and travel channel Tastemade, had just finished filming her amped-up take on the Canadian favorite poutine — a mess of crispy fries smothered with cheese curds, bacon and gravy, spiked with beer and maple syrup.

Then it was time for the editing team to start stirring, cutting the footage different ways to get the video in front of as many eyeballs as possible — wherever they may be.

The clip had to be cropped vertically to fit mobile screens on Snapchat. Another version had to be edited down to a couple of minutes to capture fickle viewers on Facebook’s news feed. Lastly, the segment had to be distilled into a few attention-grabbing seconds to play on Twitter and Instagram.

These are the new rules of distribution in the increasingly crowded world of online video. When Tastemade launched in 2012, YouTube was mostly the only platform the so-called multi-channel network had to focus on. Now, staying ahead requires blasting your content across the dozens of video players battling for market share.

That’s why the Santa Monica media company — likened to a Food Network for the digital age — tailors its cooking demonstrations and travel adventures for Apple TV, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter, Vessel, Roku and Comcast Watchable.

By casting a wide net, Tastemade leverages rising competition in the digital video landscape to capture the broadest audience available. That’s helped the company establish itself at a time when old media is looking for key investments to stay relevant.

“This is Phase 2” of the online video industry’s development, said Peter Csathy, a streaming video expert and chief executive of Manatt Digital Media, a consulting and venture capital firm. “Multi-channel networks are becoming multi-platform networks.”

Driving it all are young viewers who are increasingly likely to watch content on their cellphones rather than a television plugged into the wall. About 75% of all Facebook videos and more than half of all YouTube videos are now viewed on mobile devices.

Advertisers are adapting accordingly. Digital video will fetch $7.8 billion in ad spending this year, up from $5.8 billion last year, according to EMarketer.

That number will double to more than $14 billion by 2019. Ad spending on TV, meanwhile, will grow about 3.5% to $81 billion over the same period, EMarketer said.

To stay abreast of the change, traditional entertainment companies such as NBCUniversal have sought to increase their digital video presence and know-how by investing in rising brands such as BuzzFeed.

Meanwhile, CNN and the Food Network are reaching millennials on Snapchat’s Discover feature, where publishers can post videos and stories each day.

“We’re in the third inning of a massive shift in dollars from TV to online video,” said Chad Gutstein, chief executive of Machinima, a digital channel similar to Tastemade but focused on video gaming and comic culture. “A tsunami of money is starting to flow….”

Read it all at Los Angeles Times