Aol SVP Harnevo Discusses 5min’s Brightcove Partnership And Real-Time Content

On Monday, Aol’s video content syndication platform 5min Media and online video platform Brightcove announced that they have expanded their existing relationship to give Brightcove customers access to 5min Media’s library of video titles. Read the release.

Ran Harnevo, Co-founder and CEO of 5min Media and SVP of AOL Video, discussed the partnership and its implications. Can you talk a bit about the progress and evolution that 5min has made since it has been acquired by AOL?

RH: Sure. We’ve been blended into the AOL video offering in a couple of ways.

First, all of our content library is getting integrated into AOL properties including Huffington Post.  On the Owned & Operated side, editors now have a much bigger video library to choose from in order to create a much deeper video experience across the AOL site, with videos that can be monetized.

Also, [awareness] of 5min has been raised in the marketplace and we integrated our salesforces and inventory with Aol.  Right now, if you buy into AOL, you get both premium content in AOL properties and then premium content that is syndicated across the network.  [Video ad buyers] can make a network buy and a premium buy under the same roof.  AOL has a lot of users and passion towards video. We could enable a lot more content into Aol. Their salesforce increases our CPMs and distribution. And if you look at comScore numbers in the past three months, we’re growing as AOL video – not only as 5min.

What can you say about the advertising that’s associated with the video content that 5min’s putting out there for AOL?

Although I cannot speak about numbers, from an advertising perspective, we enable advertisers to make much bigger buys when they did previously with AOL. One of the things advertisers really like is the fact that it’s not only a buy on the AOL site, its through premium Aol sites and premium syndication sites which support all the right trends in the marketplace including geo-location and behavioral targeting, and great content.

Our offering to the advertiser is totally different than it was a year ago.

Looking at your partnership with Brightcove, why is this the right time for this relationship?

It’s an important deal for us.  We’ve found that at times a site needs to use two different players to get a comprehensive video experience to the users. I think the fact that both Brightcove and Aol agreed that we’re not competitors – and that as long as our content can be discovered and monetized – Brightcove can be the facilitator. It basically tells publishers, “Hey, you can work with Brightcove. Enjoy all of their functionality and tap into a meaningful library of video content that you can put on your website and have monetized.” And what’s great for us is that we are basically able to tap into the eyeballs that are using Brightcove.

Do you see more deals like this taking place?

I think the market is pushing everyone. A lot of networks – whether they’re video networks or OVPs (online video platforms) – get to a point where publishers are telling them, “Hey, if you had a content exchange or a content marketplace, that would be really powerful for us.” I definitely think that content will have to be a part of the overall offering and that technology won’t be enough. I think that’s what makes this partnership so strong, because it allows our strengths and Brightcove’s strengths to be offered to the publisher at the same time. Content exchanges are something we’re going to see a lot more of in the next few years.

So you see 5min as a content exchange?

I think we are. A content syndication platform, content exchange – it’s different wording for the same concepts. When I started the company, I said, “We’re a content network.” But people didn’t understand what it meant, so I just gave it up because it was just too complex to explain.  We allow content creators and publishers to tap into each other’s assets in an easy way. The missing link had been monetization. Now, we bring that too. And the last thing is a CMS (content management system), and that’s where Brightcove gets into the game.

Is there a 5min opportunity in the “real‑time world”?

We’re getting aggressively into real-time. We haven’t used “evergreen” [content] as our core business for a while. We have celebrity news at-scale, tech news at-scale and we’re about to announce new verticals soon. And, don’t forget we’re supporting and, which are two of the biggest news portals on the web.

I think the content exchange world will be heavily focused on real-time and that’s definitely the direction we’re taking it.

In regard to helping advertisers and publishers, are there any plans to offer better insights about the user and what he or she is seeing and doing with video?

It’s something we’re working on. I think we will collaborate here and we’re already in some discussions with companies that can shed more light on the users and the content and the vertical. We won’t be able to do everything ourselves, but we’re very open and look forward to working with other companies.

Finally, it seems that digital budget is getting moved into online video ads. When do you think TV budget is going to get moved into video ads and what will be the driver?

I think it’s already started. But, two challenges remain. A) There is a fragmentation of platforms which is problematic for advertisers. B) There needs to be more premium experiences online. The fact that YouTube has six billion views doesn’t really “move the needle” for brand advertisers. They want to be confident that the content that people are watching is curated.

We will need to give them the trust and create more premium inventory. This is what AOL is focused on.

With the AOL video business which I run, that’s our main goal – it’s more premium video views across the web. I think Hulu did a great service for the industry to create comfort, but the buyers are still not sophisticated enough and the market needs to help buyers shift the dollars.

I’m seeing it, but we have a few more years until we see the dramatic shift of the platform.

By John Ebbert

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