For decades, brands have sponsored video content. In fact, brands have been the sole sponsors of almost all of the video content anyone watched until around the year 2000 — hundreds of channels, 24/7, all the gripping dramas and hilarious sit-coms we have known and loved over the years. That landscape is now changing as people begin looking to the internet more and more and their televisions less and less. It started with TiVo cutting out commercials, then YouTube and other sites providing user generated video. I recently went to a YouTube talk at Google and they said that over 150 years of YouTube video is watched every day.
According to the Wall Street Journal, advertisers are spending 43% more on web-video ads and sponsorships this year than in 2010, and we can expect that trend to continue. YouTube will soon announce a new section of the site specifically for made-for-web content — they are working with brands now to sponsor those shows. Even now, Kmart is spending $600,000 for a six-episode web series from the producers of the Gilmore Girls; Diabolo Cody’s internet talk show is now sponsored by Lexus; comedy series Road to the Altar was sponsored by Pier One and iRobot, among others; and there are many more examples.
Web series like Kmart’s “First Day” could be created much more cheaply. The price of producing television shows has surprisingly not gone down over the last few decades, despite the plummeting cost of digital filmmaking tools. Independent filmmakers have now had decades to perfect their craft with these tools, but haven’t yet found their place in the made-for-web business model.
I believe that these two — brands and independent filmmakers — are a match made in heaven. We’re looking forward to matching proven independent filmmakers with brands large and small to create great and popular video content at a fraction of the cost.