2014 Predictions: From Those Who Know the Industry Best

/ Dec 31, 2013


Well, we are a few hours away from filing 2013 into the history books. It’s been a great year for the online video industry. From breakout programming and technology, to major investments in those creating and monetizing content online, to various kerfuffles between traditional media incumbents and the new-media upstarts, there was plenty to talk about in 2013.

And we’re willing to bet there will be even more to talk about as we turn the page to 2014. With that in mind, we rounded up insights and predictions from some of the top executives and thinkers in the space, to see what they’re looking forward to in 2014, and in doing so, provide you with a preview of what’s to come. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Damon Berger, Co-Founder and CEO, What’s Trending

“2014 is going to be a transformative year for the online video business. For the past two to three years, companies have been finally successful in experimenting with new online video models, and now the environment is primed to be explosive. Big brand partners and traditional companies who started to circle the online video space will be involved in strategic and M&A partnerships with these startups and entrepreneurs in a huge way in 2014. It’s going to be a great year.”

Sim Blaustein, Principal, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments

“The ‘portals’ — AOL, Yahoo, potentially a third — will have their ‘House of Cards’ moment with a successful, high-quality original made-for-web series.

Traditional publishers — i.e. newspapers and magazines — will invest heavily in infrastructure for online video production and distribution, following the online ad dollars. The homepage of People.com will shift from being predominantly pictures and text to be at least 50% video.

Facebook (potentially via Instagram) will make a major play in ‘native’ video as an attempt to compete directly with YouTube.”

David Freeman, Co-Head, Brand Coverage Group, Creative Artists Agency

“YouTube will continue to grow and expand. It will become part of everyone’s launch plan.

What’s most interesting is that big studios are really interested in the digital video space in terms of the footprint that networks like AwesomenessTV have. I think DreamWorks is looking at AwesomenessTV as an incubation play, and I think we’re going to see a lot more acquisitions like that. Traditional production and media companies know the importance of digital and will want to acquire digital companies to drive audiences and identify up-and-coming talent.”

Rick Heitzmann, Founder and Managing Director, FirstMark Capital

“2014 will be the year that analytics and intelligence comes to online video.”

Paul Kontonis, Partner, Centridium Media, Former Chairman, IAWTV

“The brands are coming, the brands are coming! For the last few years since the launch of the Newfronts, we have seen signs that brands are embracing video. With the continued increase in digital video advertising’s share of spend, we know the commitment is there. What is coming next is simply wonderful — brands directly embracing the origination of videos and series, the building of their channels and collaboration with existing creators. These deals will be done directly with the multi-channel networks and the creators themselves. The dollars will flow directly from the brand and the results will be measurable.”

Shira Lazar, Co-Founder and Host, What’s Trending

“Thinking of how to grow and cater to your audience in the mobile arena will be a huge focus a well as building valuable platforms and ancillary revenue off of YouTube.

The idea of a YouTube network will change. Overall, there will be more of a focus on ownership of valuable IP, not just being a broad network with no real ownership of the content or creators around it, which is where we’ve seen more value placed in the past.

There will be more mergers of companies (like Break Media and Alloy Digital), and more acquisitions as traditional companies buy in to gain relevance and revenue with next-generation brands and audiences.”

John McCarus, SVP, Group Director, Brand Content, DigitasLBi

“2014 will be the year YouTube talent grows up. I predict we’ll see the first hit TV show and the first major feature film created by and/or starring YouTubers. This will transform the YouTube ecosystem overnight.”

Corey Moss, VP, Digital Entertainment, Principato-Young Entertainment

“In 2014, Yahoo and Xbox will both jump head-first into the long-form game with shows just as exciting as anything on Netflix and Amazon. And don’t be surprised to see a few unscripted long-form shows on AOL as well.

Nearly every network and studio will have a digital division by the end of the year, making more programming than distributors can handle, but it won’t matter because much of the content will be wisely funded out of development budgets. Companies will be getting into the digital game and incubating show concepts and talent at the same time.”

Steve Rosenbaum, Founder and CEO, Magnify.net

“This is the year web video grows up. Sales of Roku 3, Chromecast, and Apple TV will all be huge this holiday season. TVs will light up on January 1st, connected to the web. And more and more quality video channels and makers will come online. Now, all that’s missing is the right navigation to connect channels to viewers — and that will happen in 2014 for sure.”

Larry Shapiro, Head of Talent, Fullscreen

“More YouTube creators will jump the chasm to traditional media as [the audiences] raised on YouTube engage/migrate to other screens and want content from the creators who help shaped their entertainment sensibilities. Creators with strong hyper-connected fan followings are beginning to test the waters for offline branding and monetization experiences that were previously reserved for mainstream talent. Shane Dawson, Fine Bros, Bethany Mota, and Michelle Phan are just the beginning. Fans who love David Fincher and ‘House of Cards’ grew up watching music videos directed by Fincher. He helped shape a generation of entertainment consumers the same way that YouTube creators are doing today. Big media and brands are taking notice of the large audiences popular YouTube creators have, and they are more willing to explore content opportunities with built in followings.”

David Tochterman, Head of Digital Media, Innovative Artists

“Two more significant entries to the marketplace for cable-quality digital originals as DirecTV and Xbox join Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

The evolution and inevitable shakeout of the MCN business model.”

Kerry Trainor, Chief Executive Officer, Vimeo

“With HD video cameras now in hundreds of millions of consumers’ pockets at all hours, mobile video creation and viewing will continue to explode.

And for those looking to earn a living in film and video, direct distribution of paid content by independent creators will emerge as a true alternative to the pre-roll ad ecosystem we see today.”

Brent Weinstein, Head of Digital Media, United Talent Agency

“A a digital influencer will become the face of a major brand.

More YouTube stars will explore opportunities in film, TV, and publishing.

And we will see a continued gold-rush of film and TV producers looking to the web for formats and personalities to develop projects around.”

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  • Some great insights from some very knowledgeable people in this industry!

  • No one really mentioned anything new / big from Apple. Hummmm?

  • John Trefry

    Totally agree with Damon’s point about major players coming to the table in 2014. But it remains to be seen if brands will flock in mass, is online video advertising growing more from many new advertisers jumping into the space or because brands that are already doing are ramping up?

    • Damon Berger

      I think it’s a little of both, mostly due to a growing recognition of the ineffectiveness of TV advertising. With the penetration of the DVR and time shifted, ad skipping, non-appointment viewing (other than live sports and marquee live events), advertisers are turning to digital content to reach their audiences more effectively.

  • There are real challenges that remain especially for the independent producers and studios. Specifically, TV dollars are not flowing from the advertising agencies as one might have expected at this point in time. One cannot argue with numbers like @collectiveds talent @fwong . Since its release in July 2013 Season 2 of Video Game High School has logged over 565 minutes watched over its six episodes. That’s 1,270 years worth of watch time. Kudos to brands like Dodge and Taco Bell who did see the value and allocated marketing dollars to support #VGHS2 . I hope to see ad agencies step up and realize that their clients will only benefit from supporting these types of productions, creators and studios.

  • bstemmler

    Hopefully advertisers and content creators will continue to build upon an integrated content+marketing strategy…I think sponsored content is the best way to go in this medium…anything to stay away from programmatic and the dreaded pre-roll!


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