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2009 Predictions: Online Video Habits Will Grow Behind Hulu

This is the first in the twenty-part series of my “2009 Digital Media Predictions”… with twenty predictions of course. Each segment is going to add color to one of the predictions from the initial list. And while I have no idea how long this project will take (hopefully it’s completed before 2010) – it certainly keeps me focused. You'll be able to follow all of the predictions here.

Prediction:Video will grow further as people’s appetite for online content moves significantly beyond 30-90 second clips

The success of internet video – and decline of traditional television - has been credited with the dwindling attention span of viewers. The sweet spot for a YouTube clip, for instance, is less than 150 seconds.

And while many argue that this is because we have become less engaged, attentive consumers, I’ll take a different approach: It’s too damn hard for the layman to create good content that lasts over 150 seconds. It either is too difficult to produce or too difficult to remain interesting. Likely both.

But Hulu’s success has proven that we are willing to sit in front of our computers for entire programs. And as CBS Interactive, Fox, YouTube HD and others continue to produce high quality content - our viewing habits will mature. More content is moving online… and more importantly, more high-quality is moving online. As our bandwidth and screens support it – so too will our taste and willingness to watch it. And as these trends change, it will pave the way for computers and online content in the living room.

Hulu HD

beRecruited and STACK Media Reaching Targeted, Large Audiences

July's Comscore numbers for sports networks were released recently and STACK Media made it's first appearance on the chart with 3.5 million uniques in July and importantly is the #1 platform for "active young men (12-24)".

Why is this important? Because beRecruited is part of the STACK network and played a critical role in these numbers and demographic targeting (the 12-24 year old audience is clearly our sweet spot). From Circulation Management:

Key to that traffic spike is a content partnership with three properties: sports retailer, (Footlocker owns East Bay) and, an online recruiting tool for high school athletes. “We focused on executing against a distributed media strategy where we take our content and distribute it to partner sites. In exchange for distribution of the content we’re also selling all of the advertising inventory on those sites. The tagline ‘Content is king, but distribution brings the bling’ is definitely a motto here,” says Palazzo.

But before STACK could effectively enter into distribution partnerships, the company had to prove the worth of its content. “Our content is the glue that is making these partnerships function because it’s unique in the sports space. It’s not news coverage, it’s sports lifestyle and performance. They’re the who’s who and we’re the how-to. That differentiates us and gives us the ability to create these types of partnerships,” says Palazzo.

Despite the initial focus on the high school athlete, the company has found that sports training, especially when it’s presented by professional athletes, is appealing to a broader audience of 12-to-24 year olds. “We’re focused on a new market. Our competitors now are, Yahoo Sports, and AOL Sports and Fox Sports—people that are in the top five that blue chip marketers are using. We may not have 20 million uniques, but the uniques we have are definitely [the marketer’s] target.”

1. Yahoo Sports - 21,851,000 uniques 2. ESPN - 18,101,000 uniqueS 3. Fox Sports - 14,644,000 uniques 4. - 12,778,000 uniques 5. AOL Sports - 11,631,000 unique s (doubled in a year - 6,858,000 in July 2007) 6. NFL Internet Group - 7,482,000 uniques 7. CBS Sports - 5,923,000 uniques 8. Sports Illustrated Sites - 4,656,000 uniques 9. WWE - 4,206,000 uniques 10. STACK Media - 3,580,000 uniques


STACK Media today announced its ranking as the #1 online property to reach the coveted active young male demographic--as measured by comScore Media Metrix. With over 3.5 million unique visitors in the U.S. during July 2008, STACK Media jumped ahead of and to land as #10 on the prestigious comScore list of Top Sports Web Properties. In addition to mass reach, STACK Media now offers display and video brand advertisers the greatest efficiency against the highly desirable but elusive category of active young (12-to-24-year-old) males online.

Sports Illustrated Moves Fantasy Football onto Facebook; Tries to Catch Up

Like it or not, fantasy football is important. According to the New York Times, 15.5 million people play fantasy football each year - about 86% of which are are male and 63% are under age 40. It's also become a $2 billion industry.

So when Sports Illustrated ( moved their fantasy football to Facebook, two things became apparent:

1) Sports Illustrated isn't the leader in fantasy football and is trying to aggressively catch up 2) Facebook has become completely mainstream and, for the big brands, an avenue for user acquisition (important to note that fantasy football is comprised heavily of adult males as well - so SI is using Facebook to acquire users outside of high school / college)

Sports Illustrated, according to TheBigLead and Comscore, was the ninth most visited sports network on the web... and in fantasy football, Yahoo, ESPN and CBS are the clear leaders. Here are the stats from the last month:

1. Yahoo Sports: 22,752,000 uniques 2. ESPN: 20,601,000 uniques 3. Fox Sports: 15,105,000 uniques 4. 11,917,000 uniques 5. AOL Sports: 10,632,000 uniques 6. WWE: 6,759,000 uniques 7. NBA: 5,740,000 uniques 8. NFL Internet Group: 5,624,000 uniques 9. Sports Illustrated Sites: 4,492,000 uniques 10. 3,528,000

Fantasy sports are critical for the major sports networks because they are remarkably sticky, have high switching costs and attract clusters of users. So for Sports Illustrated to run their fantasy offering offsite is very surprising a clear sign (to me) that they are conceded the fantasy game - hoping to win a new market via Facebook's huge audience. It's an interesting effort and perhaps not overly risky considering their position in the market... But unlike CBS's smash hit with the Final Four / Facebook integration, this doesn't seem to have a clear proposition to get users back to

Meanwhile, this seems like a big win for Facebook - just as the CBS / March Madness relationship was.

Notice the Facebook promotion atop the story headline

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