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 Jonathan Perelman, who serves as head of digital ventures at ICM Partners, charged with leading the agency’s efforts in the tech sector, as well as expanding its representation of digital content creators.
A former Google exec, Perelman joined ICM Partners from BuzzFeed in August. As VP of motion pictures at BuzzFeed, Perelman created more than 20 syndication and content partnerships with global social platforms and portals. He also served as the VP of agency strategy and industry development for the company.
What was the most important trend in the online video industry in 2015?
Ads! Much like the speculation around the year of mobile, was 2015 the year of video? Was it 2014? Either way, 2015 saw advertisers really dive deep into the digital video game. The trend which created a clear monetization outlet for creators and media companies made advertising the most important trend in 2015. As a result, more publishers created internal studios to marry the site’s audience and tone with the opportunity and interest from advertisers.
What single deal, launch or failure in 2015 was the biggest game-changer for the industry?
If I need to pick a single deal, it’s the Vice Media deal to create Viceland. I don’t think it’s the most significant because it will be the most successful TV network, but rather it will signal that TV isn’t dead. More and more digital native publishers will look toward television as a new source of revenue.
What surprised you the most in terms of hits or misses?
I would have thought we’d have seen more talent-driven deals. I expect we’ll see many more at the NewFronts.
What’s the most common mistake you saw this year in the biz, whether it was made by studios or individuals?
I still think too many people are trying to make one-off viral successes. It’s a very hard business, and nearly impossible to replicate. I think we’ll see more studios and individuals focus on formats (like TV does) that can be replicated.
Is there a sector of the streaming industry that you feel is chronically undervalued or ignored?
Virtual reality/360-degree video — fad or future? Why?
Future. The numbers are projected to be big, really big. This estimates VR/AR to be a $150 billion business by 2020. With players like Facebook, Google and Microsoft (Oculus, Magic Leap and HoloLens), there’s no doubt that the innovation is there. New devices coming into stores that lower price points (not to mention Google Cardboard) will drive adoption. Once you experience good VR, you can see why it will take off (once consumer adoption hit critical mass).
Mobile-first distribution — overhyped or undervalued? Why?
I’m famous for saying that content is king, distribution is queen and she wears the pants. I’d never say that any distribution is overhyped, especially in the digital space. However, ask me next year and we’ll see how well it worked out.
What do you think will be the big story for the streaming space in 2016?