Micro-Channels a Macro Idea for DIY

Jan 1, 2007  •  Post A Comment

DIY Network has a new pitch for online advertisers this year.

Late last year, the Scripps-owned network’s Web site, DIYnetwork.com, learned something interesting about online video-Web users will find and watch video even if the network doesn’t promote it.

While the network group last year rolled out four of a planned 10 to 12 broadband channels, it also quietly began adding “micro-broadband channels” within the DIYnetwork.com site late last year. As a result, and without any promotion, Scripps increased the number of video plays on that Web site by nearly 40 percent in November over the previous month to 670,000. The jump in usage for November marked nearly a 28 percent increase over the previous year, according to Omniture data provided by Scripps.

The two new niche channels, which cover crafts and home improvement, accounted for about 90,000 of the site’s video plays in November.

This early data suggests that networks can adhere to an “if you build it, they will come” strategy with Web video. But it’s not that simple, insists Jim Sexton, senior VP for interactive brands for Scripps. Scripps built the home improvement and craft micro-sites into portions of its Web site dedicated to those categories. That location made it easy for existing site visitors to take the next step and view video.

“The video channels are integrated contextually and we have made video part of that. We have taken the approach that people are already going into home improvement and this is baking it in,” he said. “People don’t necessarily come looking for videos. They come looking for an idea, a solution, an answer.”

The numbers indicate that visitors will take those answers in the form of a video.

The DIYnetwork.com uptick in visitation represents just a small sliver of the online video universe. But the corner it has carved out demonstrates how a network can help solve one of the biggest problems with Internet video advertising-a shortage of venues in which to place ads.

Advertisers have been clamoring for more video inventory to sponsor, so far with demand exceeding supply. In August, U.S. Internet users initiated nearly 7 billion video streams, with the average streamer consuming about two videos each day, according to the most recent data from audience measurement service ComScore.

New businesses such as online video syndication efforts by Google and NBC Universal’s NBBC, which expand inventory by distributing video to nooks and crannies of the Web, are emerging to help create more inventory.

New media research firm eMarketer predicted in a report late last year that big Web portals and TV networks and stations will also contribute to a growth in Web video inventory this year. That’s why initiatives like the one by DIYnetwork.com are worth watching as they play a role in the overall rise.

This year, online video-ad spending should grow by 89 percent, following an 82 percent growth last year, eMarketer said. Web video is still only 4 percent of all Internet ad spending, but advertisers will lay the building blocks this year so that by 2010, Web video revenue will hit $2 billion, or about 10 percent of all Internet ad spending.

Scripps plans on using its early results from its craft and home improvement niche channels as part of its pitch to bring new advertisers on board to DIYnetwork.com. Mr. Sexton said he expects video views on his sites to continue to rise, especially since DIY rolled out additional broadband micro-channels in December for automotive and gardening.

Not only does building more video into a site expand advertising opportunities and revenue for the site, it’s also an important competitive device.

“I see it as a point of differentiation to offer a video experience,” he said.

Scripps needs to be on its toes because competition is coming from new quarters. The Web site for Hearst’s Country Living magazine last fall began offering video segments on the topics it covers, aiming squarely for Scripps’ HGTV online-video audience. MSN also offers home-improvement videos.