Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Online Video Conversations: Erick Hachenburg, Metacafe - Part 1: The Launch of Metacafe Movies and the Future of Online Video

This post is part one of a two part conversation I had with Erick Hachenburg, CEO of the online video entertainment site Metacafe®, to discuss the recent launch of Metacafe Movies, how his company has shifted its business model to focus on showcasing premium content from the entertainment industry and how it will change the face of online video entertainment. Metacafe Movies launched this past May, and as Hachenburg explained, it's a channel dedicated solely to showcase videos about and from the movie industry. It's more than just trailers, he said, and includes unique original programming, exclusive behind-the-scenes clips, interviews with the directors and actors, featurettes, restricted red band content and a first-of-its-kind 3D showcase to give viewers the inside scoop of their favorite entertainment genres.

The online video market continues to grow and Metacafe has seen a huge growth in its audience year-over-year. Movie trailers and clips are currently driving nearly 10 million video views per month on Metacafe, and the Metacafe Movies Facebook fan page launched with more than 23,000 fans. In June, Metcafe unveiled the findings of its annual sponsored study on online video consumption conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, that found a dramatic increase in consumers turning to the Internet for entertainment, with the highest percentage among 18 to 34 year-olds. Metcafe sees this as a ripe opportunity to connect advertisers with the, "Entertainment Drivers," enthusiasts and influencers who drive entertainment decisions, define pop culture and determine breakout hits in the social media world.

Metacafe has assembled an editorial team of movie experts, led by Mark Poggi, formerly of Netflix, and Steven Horn, formerly of Rotten Tomatoes, who just today was named Vice President of Programming responsible for managing Metacafe’s five premium entertainment studios of, MoviesVideo GamesTVSports and Music. Metacafe has taken the approach of investing in premium ‘quality’ content which Hachenburg says is disruptive for the online video industry. In the press release, Metacafe Launches First Online Video Destination Dedicated to Movies, Hachenburg pointed out that:
"Our singular focus is on building the premier movie and entertainment online video site, delivering a great experience for our viewers and valuable marketing results to our advertisers. The launch of Metacafe Movies is an important milestone in this endeavour and one that we will continue to build on in the coming months."
This short marketwire video was included as part of the press release and offers a quick snapshot of Metacafe Movies, with sound bites from Hachenburg, Horn, Poggi and Mike Vorhaus, President of Magid Advisors, a leading research firm.

While Hachenburg acknowledged the stiff competition from YouTube, but he's optimistic that Metacafe's singular focus on professional and premium content about the entertainment industry will continue to attract that coveted 18 to 34 year-old audience.

Hachenburg noted:
"What we're doing is evolving into a focus on a particular channel, just content form the entertainment industry, and we think that's what's going to change the way consumers think about how do get online video. So instead of being something for everybody, it's the best, the deepest, the richest offering for a particular type of content for audiences that are fans of the movie industry."
Hachenburg also said that YouTube has been very clear about where there focus is, and that's being an online video platform, where people can upload whatever content they want and can connect it with friends and fans through many sharing channels. Metacafe sees YouTube as an important platform for the industry and has helped online video become more pervasive. But it's very different from Metacafe's business model as a media entertainment site working with brands to target young entertainment enthusiasts.

As for where we are currently within the online video world and what the future holds, Hachenburg suggested that:
"We're very much in the early stages of the online video industry. If we're doing $1 billion of advertising this year and there's $70 billion in television advertising already being spent every year, you can see how much potential for growth. The same is true with views. For a typical site the whole month worth of views may be only one television show in primetime, but that growth rate is accelerating. We're seeing, two years ago, 50% growth rate in viewership, last year 100% growth of viewership. So that means the exponential curve is well on its way and we're still heading upward. When you're in an industry that has more viewership and is accelerating, more advertising dollars and is accelerating, and more access to content, you can imagine we're in the very early stages of an exciting opportunity."

About Metacafe® – Entertainment That Connects
Metacafe® is the first entertainment destination solely dedicated to showcasing the best videos from the world of Movies, Video Games, Sports, Music and TV. We are the trusted source that keeps millions of viewers plugged into their entertainment passions every day, and we connect marquee brand advertisers with their target consumers via close association with the most popular entertainment content on the web. Metacafe attracts more than 10 million unique monthly U.S. viewers (1). The privately held company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Tel Aviv. For more information – and millions of entertaining videos – visit www.metacafe.com
(1) comScore Video Metrix, March 2010

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