Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Online Video Publishing and Marketing Strategies: Streaming Media West Q&A with Christina Cece, Glam Media

In preparation for moderating the Streaming Media West panel session, Online Video Publishing and Marketing Strategies, I spoke with Christina Cece, Sr. Product Manager, Glam Media to discuss Glam Media's content distribution, publishing and marketing strategies. Christina was one of the speakers who participated in the panel discussion and the video is available here.

The following is a Q&A session with Christina conducted prior to the conference. My thanks to her for taking the time to share this information.

Christina Cece, Sr. Product Manager, Glam Media
Christina manages all Glam Media Products. She manages, Glam’s owned and operated properties, Glam’s publisher products and internal tools and our flagship video product – GlamTV.

She held senior positions at IBM, MarkLogic Corp (Sequoia-funded xml content server company), Deloitte, and a year as a senior engineer at CafePress. She has a degree in Econ and Computer Science from Duke University.

About Glam Media:
Glam Media has built a vertical content network made up of over 650 sites, reaching 75 million unique women worldwide (comscore). Most of our sites are mid- and long-tail content sites: high quality niche content producers. By bringing these sites together we’ve harnessed a highly-engaged and highly-targetable audience. Glam Media leverages the increasing fragmentation of the Internet —bringing together owned-and-operated websites, including flagship, with the Glam Publisher Network of more than 600 popular lifestyle websites and blogs and syndicated content from leading media companies. Glam Media’s distributed media network model effectively bridges hundreds of unique digital “voices” representing the best content in each category relevant to women, and offers advertisers truly unprecedented quality reach through a single brand advertising platform: Glam Evolution.

LK: What drives publishing and marketing strategies? (big idea or fill the niche?)

CC: Our business model of distributed content drives our publishing and video strategies. For Glam TV, Glam Media has negotiated content deals with premier video producers such as E! Entertainment, Sony Music, TVGuide, CelebTV, VidCat, SomaGirls, and Chic.TV. The GlamTV platform gives our network of 650 publishers access to this exclusive and relevant video content. Our publishers can also use the platform to publish and distribute their own professionally produced videos.

Glam monetizes all of this video content so that our content partners, publishers, and Glam all earn revenue. All of our video publishing and marketing efforts are aimed at building and fostering this ecosystem.

LK: Define distribution vs. syndication.

CC: GlamTV is primarily concerned with distribution of content for video publishers- we don’t produce our own video content.

LK: Who are your customers? (viewers, producers, advertisers?)

CC: Our GlamTV customers are our publishers, end users, content partners, and advertisers.

The GlamTV platform gives our publishers access to premium video content by virtue of the Glam brand, size, and reach. This content is highly relevant to publisher end users; as such, GlamTV videos drive user engagement (and thus pageviews and revenue) on publisher sites.

We are able to offer content partners a rights-managed, quality-branded platform on which to syndicate and distribute their videos. The GlamTV platform enables monetization of our distributed video content, which earns revenue for our content partners.

The platform offers brand advertisers an effective, one-stop partner for delivering video brand advertising on the Web to a highly targeted network of sites.

LK: How do you get started? in online video publishing?

CC: The first step is to create a well defined audience. You then have the information needed to aggregate and deliver compelling video content.

The next step is to build a platform that is flexible (player and ad-delivery agnostic) with robust API access. Many videos have a short shelf life, so it is important that videos are delivered in a timely manner. Finally, it’s critical that your platform supports rich video metadata, such as keywords, description, and related topics.

Video publishing is interesting from an aggregation and distribution perspective because partners who may see you as competition from an article content perspective often see you as a valuable distribution partner for video.

LK: How do you find your niche and establish brand? Build audience? Build ecosystem?

CC: Glam has an established brand in the marketplace and proven track record with our advertisers. We were fortunate enough to begin our video efforts with strong brand recognition and loyal audience.

LK: What's the key to producing and programming compelling content? (original series, uploads, UGC)

CC: For Glam, compelling content is content that is professionally produced, highly relevant to our audience, and timely.

Examples of some of our most successful content are exclusive, professionally produced videos covering events such as Fashion Week, and various entertainment awards shows. Glam is able to distribute this content within 24 hours of the event.

LK: How important is advertising?

CC: Advertising is cornerstone to our video strategy. The GlamTV ecosystem is powered by the ability to deliver highly targeted brand advertising to users. This targeting is accomplished by Glam Evolution.

LK: How do you create sustainable model for monetizing content?

CC: Create an ecosystem where everyone benefits and where advertisers see results. It is paramount that monetization clearly demonstrates value, engagement, and brand recognition to advertisers.

LK: What works? What doesn't?

CC: The GlamTV platform was launched about 3 months ago; as such, we are still in the discovery phase.

We are in the midst of building several new players and new ways for publishers to integrate video on their sites. What works for some publishers, won’t work for others, so fast development cycles and flexible platform are key.

A critical aspect of integrating video with web content is the quality of metadata that you are able to collect and use. This is important for suggesting related videos, and for integrating video with related article content.

LK: What are your key metrics?

CC: Displays, plays, 100% play-through, hours played, unique users

LK: What about the multi-screen strategy? (TV, web, mobile)

CC: For now Glam Media is focused on video distribution on the web. We do distribute some of the syndicated TV content.

LK: What about other social media tool integration? (video comments, Twitter updates)

CC: The GlamTV platform enables users to rate and sort our video content by the following metrics: Most popular, Most viewed, Editorially featured, sharing.

GlamTV is actually part of the Glam Developer platform, which will be released this fall. The developer platform will enable 3rd party developers to build applications that feature Glam content, including video.

LK: What do you see in the short and long term for online video publishing and marketing strategies?

CC: Publishing strategies that will win are those where all parties’ incentives are strategically aligned and everyone wins.

The Power of Distributed Media Model

Relevant Glam Media press releases:
Recent news:

Glam Media contact information: (650)-244-4000

UPDATE (10/16/08): Slight copy edits