The site as a whole attracts more than 3 million unique visitors a month, according to recent comScore figures.
But though This Old House’s content is evergreen and will accrue a large number of views over its lifetime, it doesn’t have instant scale like Hulu, Omelianuk noted. The site must tread carefully with costs to ensure video investments turn a profit.
To finance bigger projects and provide better branding opportunities, This Old House turned to sponsored video programs. Fully integrated branding programs can bring in 100 times more revenue than pure CPM monetization of video.
It’s done 20 sponsored video programs with marketers this year, including a two-part series with Marvin Windows and Doors featuring a house remodel with custom windows, as well as a five-part series with Home Depot and an eight-part series with GNC.
This Old House often sells these series as “integrated sponsorships,” which include brand integration in the video content and complete share of voice next to the content.
The company responds to the majority of video RFPs with a custom video solution. Omelianuk will work with the sales team to come up with different ideas for executions.
But the brand integration is soft, for a more natural feel and to make the videos relevant even after a sponsorship has ended.
But while the market for video is bullish, making a profit can be trickier.
“Video production is a profit center for us, but there’s not any margin of error in terms of making money,” said publisher Stamos. Production costs add up fast, and the team has found that these spends require additional justification.
Digital buyers aren’t yet used to the costs associated with custom video, “even though our prices are fractions of what they spend for a TV commercial, and they get three to five minutes of custom content,” Omelianuk said. “Advertisers tend to blanch at the cost, when it’s less than 10% of what they’re going to spend on a 30-second commercial.”
For that reason, they find that sponsored videos, even if they start with an agency, usually rise to the brand level for approval.
If advertisers who created a sponsored video want to scale a campaign further, they can work with Time Inc. at large, as well as an extended network of sites like AOL with which Time Inc. has relationships. “If the size and scale of the buy mean we needed to use those networks, we can put it an another league,” Stamos said.
This Old House will put some of its content on YouTube, especially DIY pieces, and Omelianuk says the company is happy with the revenue share it receives from the videos.
“You can get a huge viewership and not make much money because the keywords associated with video aren’t desirable to advertisers,” he said. Because This Old House’s content shows up under high-value keywords related to home improvement, it performs better than most.
And despite the scale of YouTube’s network, videos generally rack up more views on This Old House’s URL than on YouTube. Omelianuk estimates fewer than 10% of video views occur on YouTube.
“That speaks to the brand’s power,” Omelianuk said. “If you’re doing a YouTube or Google search, then there are other brands and content creators. There’s more choice, and consumers aren’t as dedicated to us. People trust our brand, and come here to consume video.”