Video and the men’s market: natural allies


One of the great booms of the internet has been the rise of video. There are now a staggering 1 billion unique views of YouTube a month, with more than 72 hours of video Imagebeing uploaded a minute. 4 billion hours of video are now watched on YouTube alone[1].

And that is just on YouTube. IGN Entertainment records almost 35 million + views in video each month alone – with content ranging from simple video reviews, to conversations about games, to demos and interviews with leading developers[2]. It knows what it’s audience wants to see, and uses video to augment that experience – the majority of print content has an accompanying video piece.

It’s a slick operation. All of these videos are generally (unless it is a particularly compelling piece of content) under ten minutes long. And if you look into reports, it is a male dominated market: a study done in 2009 picked up on the fact that 77% of users are in the under-35 market, while 60% of users are male[3].

For men, then, video is the superior medium of engagement. It explains why porn smashed the men’s market so effectively (you can see my post on this on the attached footnote)[4]. And increasingly, companies are recognizing the effectiveness turning their magazine and media brands into channels of their own.

Conde Nast, for example, is making big moves into the content game: their new entertainment president (Dawn Ostroff) is focusing on building content across platforms to turn them into broad offerings – notably talking branded web series as one major output of their efforts[5].

And both IGN Entertainment and Conde Nast aren’t the only ones. Brightcove has built a platform specifically to help sell video advertising for publishers – a move that highlights the moves that Hearst, Time and others have begun to make toward the video age[6]. Video is quickly becoming the medium of choice to complement and expand a content offering.

All of this points to a merger between the traditional ‘TV’ channels and the publishers. And with advances in technology rapidly smashing the cost of broadcast quality production and distribution, it only becomes a matter of time before these organizations come into direct competition.

In some cases, they already have: Amazon (the noted book publisher) recently made the move to launch a series of pilots that indicate their move into video, film and TV streaming[7]. Instead of the traditional focus group pilot launch, however, they have built a different model: use data to inform their response on the investment into a TV show[8].

That is a radically different approach to the traditional channel, and one which relies on a couple of factors. Firstly, they aren’t restricted in terms of geographical viewership – in fact, digital means geography is largely no object. These days, you can launch a web series that can be viewed in England, Australia and the US and group it around an interest instead.

In essence, video and content is no longer constrained by channel. And so instead of focusing on ‘how can we hit as many people in this area as possible’ (see shows like the news, which reports on such an array of topics there has to be some wastage), you now have the ability to work out how many people exist around an interest group/market, and can you build a product around them.

The men’s market will find this key. Having the ability to build around male interests, whether that be sport, or something else, will be a real trait in the future, and producing the kinds of video content that reaches into those interests will be crucial. Look at the ongoing success of shows like Top Gear, any number of spy shows (Burn Notice for example) and even watching the cricket for good examples.

Men are always looking for the next gripping piece of ongoing content to latch onto. That used to be the weekly FHM, with a series of lewd jokes and other bawdy articles. These days, though, expect the next big men’s site to be one packed with video content, integrating in great digital journalism.

Here are some hypotheticals:

  • Esquire TV: all around cool guy routines, upmarket. A show about stockbrokers (think a Suits style show) combined with articles about their style guides, how to get ahead against your boss.
  • FHM TV: a jackass style show, replete with best office pranks (and video of) and articles about flirting with that hot girl (you can see a video of guys taking a crack at a hot girl, even if fictional, being cool here).
  • Men’s Health TV: workout routines for your morning run, articles on health and fitness, best songs to listen to whilst you work out.

You can see all these types of products working: and what’s more, you know that the media companies themselves will drive that discovery process far more efficiently than companies like Google (YouTube) and Vimeo ever could. They’ll be able to use the data and insights, combined with storytelling, to facilitate the process of discovery across these platforms.

And discovery will be key: producing those TV shows so men are relying and trusting you to provide them with their content, rather than them doing the legwork.

In short: video is going to be big business for the men’s market. It will be a way to reinvigorate the product back around interests in a compelling and interesting way: and will almost certainly see publishers attacking the mass-market television studios in the not-so-distant future.


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