BMO Conference Looks at Online Video Growth

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A top CBS interactive media executive told a BMO Financial Group investors conference Thursday that the online video revolution is gaining steam and is pulling in a different audience than broadcast TV.

Patrick Keane, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of CBS Interactive, said that consumer web traffic surpassed business traffic for the first time last year, indicating consumer consumption of bulky video programming is rising. Other data indicates consumers spent 47% of their online minutes interacting with content, up from 34% in 2003. Other activities include personal communications and search.

He noted the average age of CBS consumers on the web is in the mid 30s, versus 53 for the broadcast network, so it’s an audience with a different profile. Also, online video viewing does not peak in traditional broadcast primetime, but in adjacent time blocks.

Another conference speaker, Nat Kausik of web content tech outfit Asterpix, described the difference in audience by saying conventional TV consumers “lean back” to consume while in new media they “lean forward.”

Keane, a former Google executive, said a good example of how CBS pulls together various strands of media came in March with the guest star appearance by Britney Spears on CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. While the network telecast was a centerpiece, CBS also placed Britney content on CBS.com, mobile phone WAP pages, regular web pages, managed blog activities and optimized Britney searches to drive consumers to CBS properties. CBS offered those media slices to advertisers to “surround that experience,” he said.

While content consumption is rising, Keane said the consumer experience needs to improve with sharper video and less cumbersome downloads.

“Ultimately, the ‘prize’ is large,” BMO managing director and media analyst Leland Westerfield noted in a research report. “By the early part of the next decade, say 2011, the combined base of North American expenditures in broadband video and mobile video marketing could exceed $6 billion in advertising expenditures and paid content fees.” Last year, this was just under $1 billion.

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