5 Predictions for Digital Video in 2015

/ Jan 4, 2015

Crowd005

2014 proved to be a transformational year for digital-first video and the YouTube economy. The short-form video world essentially “grew up” and traditional media, major brands, and even previously cynical Northern California investors took notice.

It was easy to see why: 2014 introduced the video content-driven mega-deal. Disney bought leading multi-channel network Maker Studios for up to $1 billion, Otter Media uploaded rival MCN Fullscreen in a deal rumored to be up to $300 million, and European-based RTL Group tried on StyleHaul for a deal that values that vertically-focused MCN up to $200 million.

So, with that backdrop, here are my top five predictions for digital video in 2015:

  1. The pace of MCN acquisitions will accelerate as more studios jump into the M&A game rather than try to figure out this new content platform themselves. Some leading MCNs ripe for acquisition include foodie-focused Tastemade, dance-focused DanceOn, Latino-focused MiTu, sports-focused Whistle Sports, and Collective Digital Studio. (Note: Manatt Venture Fund is an investor in DanceOn and Whistle Sports is a client.)

  1. But the MCN action won’t be just domestic. International becomes a major new battleground in the borderless digital video world. Companies big and small will extend their reach via major partnerships, investment, and M&A. Notable 2014 deals included RTL’s acquisition of StyleHaul, Sky’s $7 million strategic investment in Whistle Sports, and Fullscreen’s partnership with major Indian MCN Qyuki.

  1. Major consumer brands follow suit. For the first time, marketing dollars shift in significant scale from traditional media to more measurable digital platforms. This takes the form of branded content — not just ads. As a result, investors place major bets on ad-tech companies to maximize and measure those spends. We will see a number of significant ad-tech exits like Yahoo’s recent acquisition of BrightRoll for $640 million. Several brands will go even further and invest big to become digital-first lifestyle media companies themselves a la Red Bull, developing and aggregating content. GoPro, Pepsi, and Marriott have proudly announced such ambitions.

  1. Both “traditional” media and YouTube itself are increasingly challenged by this fast-accelerating activity and by new competing video platforms like Facebook and Vessel (which just opened its paid subscription-first MCN kimono). These “off YouTube” platforms will seek to lure content creators with tales of more attention and significantly greater revenues.

  1. Seeing all this activity, and harboring a FOMO mentality, Silicon Valley investors will increasingly make pilgrimages down to LA —  the epicenter of this video content innovation and creativity. After all, even super blue-chip VC Andreessen Horowitz vouched for video via its $50 million investment BuzzFeed. That accelerated pace of investment will only further fan the flames of the vibrant SoCal entrepreneurial scene and the digital-first video revolution.

2014, exciting, transformative times for the media world. And, just a precursor of more (much more!) to come in 2015.

Peter Csathy is CEO of business accelerator and development firm Manatt Digital Media, where he also serves as a venture capitalist. He is a prolific blogger and regular contributor to VideoInk and other leading digital media and technology publications.  

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  • #3 will be most exciting!

CableCross

FCC Cancels Vote on ‘Unlock the Box’ OTT Proposal

 
lights-out-shoot-blackbox-tv-collab

Collab Signs Horror Channel BlackBoxTV to Network, Partners on...

 
PewDiePie 3-2-15

PewDiePie Expands Revelmode Gaming Slate with DoubleMoose Deal

 
storyful-marketplace

Storyful Launches Viral Video Marketplace

 
Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
 
lyor-cohen-youtube-music

Pioneering Hip Hop Exec Lyor Cohen Joins YouTube as Global Head...

 
alpha-legendary-digital

Legendary Digital Reveals Alpha Subscription Service Launch...

 
time-inc-jash

Time Inc. Teams with Digital Comedy Producers Jash for Branded Content

 
Amazon Logo

Amazon Greenlights Three Comedy Pilots as Series

 
cartoon-network-app

How the Cartoon Network Combined the Best of VOD and Linear TV...

 
jukin-media-ethos

Jukin Media Goes Viral for Brands with Ethos Division Launch

 
Streamy Awards

Streamy Awards Trade In VH1 for YouTube, Again

 
zefr-alignment-report

Matching Ads to Videos Not So Simple, According to Zefr’s...

 
shomi

Plug Pulled on Canadian SVOD Service Shomi

 
Twitter

What’s Trending on the Twitter Sale

 
Machinima Logo

Machinima Teams with SiriusXM for Daily Esports Radio Show

 
Hearst

AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...

 
dirty-30-hannah-hart-mamrie-hart-grace-helbig

VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...

 
facebook-thumbs-down

Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...

 
craig-piligian-pilgrim-media-group

Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...

 
youtube-heroes-for-change

Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

 
Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...

 
jared-feldman-and-sam-hui-ph-d-at-the-2014-canvs-launch

How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...

 
marlon-wayans

Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall

 
huffpost-ryot-aol

HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...

 
youtube-vote-irl

YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation

 
tyler-oakley-camp17

How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...

 
charlie-sheen-anger-management

Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’

 
filmbuff_videoink_300x250

Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...

 
toy-freaks-youtube

Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...

 
jeffrey-tambor-transparent-amazon

Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...

 
Twitter

Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff

 
youtube-sad-face-error

Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

 
Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down

 
raised-firsts-branded-tv

Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?

 
shes-gotta-have-it

Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...

 
swedish-dicks-peter-stormare-keanue-reeves-viaplay

What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?

 
seamlessly-she-monica-potter-aol-partner-studio-gmc-acadia

How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...

 
Netflix_new

Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries

 
vincent-cacace-vertebrae

Getting to the Spine of VR’s Monetization Challenges with...

 
meredith_brandfront_videoink_300x250

Meredith Hosted Its Own “Front” Stacked with 20 New Series