Video is becoming an increasingly important part of news coverage online. But it’s also expensive and time-consuming to produce, and many publishers don’t have the resources to create them on their own. A startup called Wochit is changing the economics around video production for breaking news, and has raised $4.75 million to make their technology available to more publishers.
Wochit makes it easier for news organizations to have timely videos around breaking stories as they happen. By licensing raw footage from original sources, the startup produces videos that can be repurposed and embedded onto publisher sites. But the secret sauce is in how Wochit brings those pieces together — by automating the process of editing footage into watchable segments.
According to Wochit co-founder and CEO Dror Ginzberg, the process is about 95 percent automated, which drastically reduces the time and cost associated with producing timely news videos. For news organizations that aren’t local to where a particular news story is breaking, or for those who don’t have the resources or personnel to produce the content themselves, Wochit enables them to publish and monetize videos related to the news.
For each story, Wochit creates a template video that can be used by any news organization, but it can also provide more customized videos for individual publishers. That allows them to provide white-labeled videos with their own branding, incorporating their own media and basing content of the video on the text of their stories.
Altogether, Wochit is making hundreds of news videos daily, which can be embedded on publisher sites. Not only are they producing them, but they’re also updating them to provide new context and information as it happens. They also help publishers to monetize, allowing them to sell their own video ads along with or split ad revenues for ads that Wochit has sold.
To advance its go-to market strategy, Wochit has raised $4.75 million from investors that include Redpoint Ventures, Cedar Fund, and Greycroft Partners. The company was founded by Ginzberg, who previously founded image syndication platform PicApp, as well as CTO Ran Oz who was a co-founder and CTO of BigBand Networks. It now has 20 employees, with offices in Israel and New York City.
Launched last June, Beachfront Media‘s Beachfront Builder platform was designed to allow video producers to quickly roll out apps across a number of devices. Those apps would have custom skins and could even serve ads, with videos streamed out either via the YouTube API or by connecting to creator’s own content management system. In the time since then, it’s gotten a few content producers on board, most notably YouTube network Big Frame.
The Beachfront platform basically enables creators to engage directly with their audiences through their own branded apps, without having their videos hidden within the broader YouTube experiences. And it helps them do so across a wide range of devices all at once. Rather than having to individually develop apps for iPhone, iPad, as well as a whole bunch of Android phones and tablets and phablets, and a bunch of connected TV devices as well.
Using Beachfront Builder not only speeds their time to market, but it also gives them the ability to test out different ways of displaying and distributing their videos. In addition to building apps for individual channels, they can highlight certain topics or characters, allowing them to see which videos and categories viewers engage with most. And, if popular, they can easily break those out into their own apps as well.
Those apps can be customized with branded skins and can also be monetized. Beachfront customers can add video ads, banners, and the ability to buy merch — all going beyond their traditional YouTube ad monetization.
That’s attracted interest from some big YouTube networks, most notably Big Frame, which is using Beachfront Builder to build video apps for a couple of its channels. By teaming with Beachfront, they’ve rolled out multiplatform experiences for urban lifestyle channel Forefront.tv, as well as its brainy female channel Wonderly. For both, they’re providing the ability to display channel videos on the web, mobile and tablet devices, and connected TV platforms. It’s also being used for multiplatform distribution of Maker Studios’ Epic Rap Battles of History, as well as getting Plum.tv onto like, connected TVs.
Beachfront Media is kind of the successor to video search and discovery platform MeFeedia. Launched in 2007, that company is now working to help video providers get onto more devices. Because everyone loves devices. And video.
A new report from online advertising company Turn suggests that costs for display advertising, video ads, and other rich media are rising, while those for mobile and social ads have fallen. The report also looks at a category of consumer that advertisers are spending heavily to reach — a group that Turn calls the “digital elite.”
The report is based on activity on Turn’s ad-buying and data-management platform between January and March. The company says its technology makes more than 50 billion advertising decisions every day.
Between January and March, the average eCPM (the cost per thousand impressions) for video ads grew 6.16 percent, from $9.41 to $9.99, Turn says. Display eCPMs grew from $0.92 to $1.06, up 15.2 percent. The company says this reflects advertisers’ desire “to reliably reach consumers through familiar, big-canvas formats.”
Mobile, meanwhile, dropped 45 percent from $1.31 to $0.72 — something that Turn attributes to concerns over the lack of standards for anonymous tracking. The company says that social eCPMs fell from $.30 to $.24, down 20 percent. At the same time, Turn says social ads (basically Facebook ads and Facebook retargeting) have become “immensely popular” and now account for billions of impressions per month on the Turn platform alone.
As for the “digital elite,” Turn says it’s the report’s “biggest discovery” — a particularly desirable audience that includes 2 percent of consumers. They see 24 times more ads than the average consumer, and advertisers pay eCPMs that are 85 percent higher than average to reach this audience. Here’s how Turn describes this elite:
The Digital Elite are typically aged 21–34, live in cities, and love foreign travel. Earning more than $76,000 a year, they’re fond of gadgets and upscale brands such as Banana Republic and Sephora. They have diverse media tastes, enjoying public radio, Family Guy, Elle, and GQ. You’ll find them at concerts and bars.
You can download the report here.