According to Horn, his editors make better programmers than machine driven algorithms, because editors know what readers want. That's the big differentiator, he says, between an editor and a search engine or algorithm:
"To us, it comes down to this very simple philosophy... being an editor is a bit of an art form. There's nuance in programming."
Horn challenged his team with Metacafe’s recent Shocktober Showcase initiative to see if the editorial model works, by producing 30 content exclusives – one in movies and one in video games – every day throughout the month of October. Horn says that Metacafe is setting a new standard in online video by bringing an entire month of daily exclusives and originals, but he acknowledges:
"It's been a big challenge, 30 exclusives in 30 days, we just sort of woke up one day and said, 'That is going to be intense,' but we really wanted to push ourselves and prove out this editorial model."The most recent statistics has proven that this model works. The Shocktober Showcase exclusives garnered a total of 2 million views as of the last few days of the campaign, which is trending with success shown in the first couple weeks of Shocktober. The top 5 movie exclusives + the top 5 video game exclusives collectively drove nearly 1.5 million views over the course of the month. Active Facebook and Twitter users (fans/followers who participated in the Shocktober content, such as like, share, comment, retweet) increased by nearly 20% month over month.
Horn says that Metacafe has built up trust with the studios to take care of their content and provide the best audience and context.
"What Hollywood cares about and what any premium content creator cares about is what happens to their video. Do they want their video next to an American Idol reject, or a couple of cute kitties hanging out? Most likely they want their video next to other premium content."
"We're telling the story with video. We're getting this piece of premium content, we're putting context to it, not only with what we follow with that content, but what we package it, how we get it out to our audience and our own voice bubbles into that content as well."Horn is also excited by the conversation that is happening within Metacafe's social media networks, on Facebook and Twitter, and how the editorial voice has extended into those channels. Metacafe movies has over 60,000 Facebook fans and the quality of conversation around the content is much richer with having editors engaged in the conversation.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Online Video Conversation with Steven Horn about Metacafe's focus on premium and how Metacafe's recent acquisition of Go211.com and how this deal advances Metacafe’s strategic vision delivering value to their audience of 18 to 34-year-old entertainment influencers and for the brand advertisers who market to them.