To close out 2015, VideoInk is calling on some of the top execs in the online video business to give us their take on the industry’s most significant developments in the past year, and where it might be going in 2016.
Today, it’s Amanda Taylor, CEO of DanceOn. Founded in the fall of 2010 by Taylor, in partnership with Madonna, Guy Oseary, and serial digital media entrepreneur Allen DeBevoise, the dance-centric multi-channel has racked up more five billion subscribers and 30 billion views with shows such as “Dance Showdown,” which launched its fourth season this fall.
This year, Taylor took the DanceOn brand to Verizon’s Go90 mobile platform with the new choreography reality competition show “Every Single Step,” executive produced by Nigel Lythgoe (“So You Think You Can Dance,” “American Idol”). But it scored its most notable success on good ol’ YouTube, which ranked Silento — Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) #WatchMeDanceOn as the #1 viral video of 2015.
What was the most important trend in the online video industry in 2015?
The nae nae.
And the move next-gen programming brands made across platforms. Tastemade is a great example of that. In addition to their strong MCN and brand presence on YouTube, they have a very strong Facebook presence, a Discover channel on Snapchat and their own O&O mobile and OTT platforms. Vice is another example of a brand crushing it across a variety of platforms.
What single deal, launch or failure in 2015 was the biggest game-changer for the industry?
The Go90 app launch was the biggest game changer for the industry in 2015. There’s never been this much platform demand for mobile-first premium video content. AT&T’s recent announcement of their own mobile-first offering foreshadows the possibility of a wave of carrier-operated platforms looking to distribute unique or windowed programming.
What surprised you the most in terms of hits or misses?
Nothing could have been a bigger (or better) surprise than finding out DanceOn had the #1 trending video on YouTube in 2015. We love Silento; we just could never have predicted the #watchmeDanceOn campaign would generate a dance craze that rivals the Electric Slide or Macarena.
What’s the most common mistake you saw this year in the biz, whether they were made by studios or individuals?
Major traditional media companies continuing to watch but not play in the next-gen programming space.
Is there a sector of the streaming industry that you feel is chronically undervalued or ignored?
The next-gen programming brands. Historically, they’ve been undervalued possibly because of their focus on audience and content first rather than tech. There’s big value in programming brands that are able to offer distribution across platforms, expertise in content strategy by platform and a scaled, engaged following on each.
What do you think will be the big story for the streaming space in 2016?
The continual rise of the next-gen programming brands will be the overarching theme. I anticipate there will be an increasing number of notable announcements including M&A, big distribution deals, premium sponsorships, subscription offerings, paid content offerings such as low-cost influencer driven movies, new award winning series and breakout stars, etc.
Virtual reality/360-degree video — fad or future? Why?
Future. As consumers, we are always looking for the most immersive and convenient ways to experience entertainment. VR/360 is both.
Mobile-first distribution — overhyped or undervalued? Why?
If by mobile-first distribution we are talking about mobile-only tech platforms like Snapchat and WeChat, then mobile-first distribution is undervalued. The rapid scale, engagement and versatility of these platforms make them very important players to the future of video and social.