5Qs with… Magnet Media’s Paul Kontonis

/ Jul 8, 2013


If you know online video, you know Paul Kontonis. Currently the GM of Magnet Media Originals, Kontonis has been active within the online video industry for as long as many of us can remember. He is the former chairman of the International Academy of Web Television and a lead advisor for Outrigger Media and its OpenSlate video ad analytics platform. His notable accomplishments include co-founding BigScreen LittleScreen and Social Media Week. And when he was at Digitas, Kontonis helped develop and establish the Digital Content Newfronts, a marketplace that aims to pave the way for online video providers to capture the Holy Grail (TV ad dollars).

So he knows a thing or two about what’s going on in the industry, from producing content that people want to watch to getting advertisers on board to sponsor and sometimes even co-produce original programming. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Paul is the interviewee for this week’s 5Qs.

1. As a producer of online video programming, what are some key things you look at when determining which networks to partner with to distribute your content?
Audience type, behavior and scale play important roles when determining which distributor to partner with. Our programming is designed with specific audiences in mind, so we need to make sure interests align.

2. You announced six original programs at your Newfront this year. Are there more in the pipeline, or are you laser-focused on those six at the moment?
We are super-hyper-laser-focused on a complete slate of closer to 10 programs this year. In the online video industry, development never stops.

3. How would you describe where brands are when it comes to investing in online video? What sort of changes, if any, have you seen this year versus last year?
Brands continue to be wild card players when investing in original online video. I see the strongest shifts in media dollars towards buying online video advertising and that benefits the distributors and networks with scale and ability to see their own advertising. Brands continue to originate content through branded entertainment and brand content. The co-creation of original programming through sponsorships and integrations has not really picked up much over the years.

4. Who’s currently “killing it” in online video?
No one is really killing it yet, success is still a relative metric and the water is rising for everyone. I see the brightest future for a platform like Aol which has audience, content and scale.

5. What’s an industry trend that is currently piquing your interest at the moment?
I am most intrigued and humored by the desire of big YouTube brands to build their own destination sites. A successful content is built upon a solid owned, earned and paid media foundation. I think many people thought a long term business could be built only on YouTube, an earned media platform, without a solid owned media component and without any paid media.

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