Tools emerging to track online video viewers

Several companies hope online videos do what Web analytics did for Web traffic

With recent research reports showing that traffic to YouTube and other online video sites doubled last year, the race is on among companies looking to advertise their wares to that wide audience.

But the potential advertisers also want to be able to measure who is watching the online videos and whether the content is resonating with them. But to date, other than knowing that a user clicked on a video, it has been difficult for online video publishers to determine how effective its content is based on how a user views it.

A whole crop of online video measurement and analytics tools emerged this week at the DEMO 08 conference in Palm Desert, California.

Several companies, including Visible Measures and TubeMogul debuted new technology to gauge the effectiveness of online videos. These firms are trying to maneuver quickly to capture the need for analytics due to the fast-growing use of Internet video. For example, research firm eMarketer projects that by 2011 more than 85% of the US Internet population will watch Internet videos, up from roughly 63% in 2006.

Visible Measures, a start-up focusing on measuring the behavior of Internet users, unveiled VisibleSuite, a tool that measures the in-stream viewing of online videos.

The VisibleSuite technology captures every video interaction in every video from all users, from play to pause to rewind, the company said. As a result, video publishers and advertisers can get exact performance data including how audiences find, interact with and share videos, according to Matt Cutler, the company's vice president of marketing and analytics.

"We specialize in understanding what user behavior is inside the video stream - what happens beyond the click," he said. "We're trying to open up this world of audience interaction that is totally opaque. You need to be able to figure out how well you are connecting with your users so you can monetize and share that with your advertisers."

VisibleSuite is available now as a service; pricing is based on overall video consumption and starts at US$2,000 per month.

For its part, TubeMogul unveiled tools for advanced data analytics, demographic and geographic reporting, video transcoding, scheduled video deployment, and multi-campaign functionality. The tool set, dubbed premium Products, issues reports that aggregate viewership information based on keywords.

Nicholas Robinson of former Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner's new media production company, Vuguru, said in a statement that TubeMogul's Premium Products provide the most advanced single source of metrics on where, when, and how often videos are viewed on the Web.

TubeMogul Premium Products are available immediately and ranges in price, starting at US$500 per month.

Finally, global online video service WorldTV debuted new technology Wednesday aimed at allowing Web video publishers to track and analyze the habits of their viewers. The new statistics features offer analytics including charts, graphs and tables of viewership totals per day for the past month. geographic viewer location by country, average time spent per viewer, and trends in viewership - new viewers vs. regular viewers

WorldTV, which launched in November, allows users to create their own branded video channels with Flash by aggregating clips from user-generated and video-sharing sites.

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld
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