Q&A with Brian Cullinane, CRO at VideoElephant
This year video played a crucial role in our daily existence. As if we didn’t get enough screen time before, overnight we shifted to a life almost exclusively through our devices, our wifi, and used video to create a virtual version of the life we led pre-COVID. How did this affect the digital media industry? We spoke with Brian Cullinane, Chief Revenue Officer at VideoElephant, AnyClip’s content licensing partner, to get his take on this long, strange trip of a year.
Q: What were the most influential shifts you saw in video content this year?
A: Clearly, COVID-19 had an enormous impact on video consumption and viewing habits in 2020. Generally speaking, as we were required to work remotely, video became central to almost everything and we became used to video calls and meetings. However, many other activities and services were replaced by live streaming; such as faith-based services, exercise classes, and of course tele-health.
More specifically to publishing and media, the lack of live sports early in the lockdown meant people were looking for replacement content which was behind increased time spent viewing archive game/match footage as well as lots of highlights and listicles. (e.g. top 10 goals, best finals, top scores, etc.)
COVID and virus-related content was widely searched and watched earlier in the pandemic however fatigue steered users to search and watch more upbeat and positive videos, with content about pets and animals performing exceptionally strongly. One of the most-watched videos on our platform this year was of a missing dog who found her way home 60 miles away!
Other COVID-related trends saw big increases in How-To video, especially related to home-improvements and DIY as well as home cooking and baking as people spent more and more time at home.
Not necessarily COVID-related, but other areas and categories where we’ve witnessed huge demand have been in gaming and eSports, news, especially local news, and children’s content.
Q: Despite the struggles with the pandemic, what are some of the wins you saw this year?
A: As a video aggregation and syndication platform, with a vast and diverse library of content and customers around the globe, we’ve benefited from the enormous growth in video consumption this year. Whether through our partners—like AnyClip—or directly with publishers and media companies, we’ve seen significant growth in new markets like Australia and New Zealand and in Asia, generally. We’re also starting to see lots of opportunities emerge in Africa and Europe’s strong demand for video has continued.
Despite the pandemic, we’ve continued to grow our content library adding many significant brands and new content partners across all verticals and languages.
OTT and FAST streaming services continue to grow exponentially and COVID has obviously been a major factor in the explosive growth witnessed this year, further driving the demand for quality content. We also launched our own direct-to-consumer streaming service, VideoElephant TV, just a few weeks ago and the great reaction and response from both content owners and users mirrors what’s happening in the wider market.
While Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH)/digital signage was impacted badly by the global lockdown, we’re starting to see this sector rebound strongly with lots of new and interesting opportunities to use video where before it might have been solely static content.
Q: What are the biggest learnings you think publishers should take away from working with video content in 2020 and carry with them into the future?
A: I think diversity has to be the major take-away from 2020. The speed at which everyone was required to work remotely and the impact that had on everything from was quite incredible. Publishers reliant entirely on in-house video production found keeping normal levels of output very challenging, so having access to a strong and reliable source of premium, 3rd party content was important.
Similarly, publishers focused on categories such as sports or travel, might consider a more diversified content offering where possible. Access to quality video content through partnerships like AnyClip and VideoElephant is both accessible and profitable for publishers.