Prior marketing experiments set the stage for streaming success
Long before online video became commonplace, I arranged to stream the premiere episodes for several anime series on selected videogame and anime magazine sites.
The tactic was part of the marketing campaign for each title’s eventual DVD release, as well as a component of my overall marketing strategy for Right Stuf’s publishing division, Nozomi Entertainment. It worked — generating interest in each series that translated into increased DVD sales.
To build on those successful promotions, I was placed in charge of programming (and re-establishing) the Nozomi YouTube channel.
The initial plan was to offer sneak peeks for new releases and bulk up the marketing — and overall buzz — for standard-edition and budget-priced re-releases.
Programming and promotions
The YouTube channel’s previously uploaded content consisted entirely of trailers, commercials, and occasional before-and-after video quality comparisons.
Under my management, the free-to-watch programming expanded to include:
- The first two episodes for most back-catalog series.
- A rotating selection of new and recent series. (Each week’s new episodes were timed to coincide with non-YouTube promotions for the shows and their DVD releases.)
- And eventually, full seasons and series.
Then the channel was integrated into the marketing strategies for individual properties, the publisher, and RightStuf.com:
- Individual videos, playlists, and the channel cross linked with Nozomi’s series-specific websites — and vice versa.
- Video descriptions and annotations included links that made it easy for viewers to pick up the related DVD release(es).
- Last, but not least: News items, press releases, social media outreach, and the RightStuf.com and Nozomi email newsletters consistently included links to newly added and reactivated programming.
Monetization and measurement
The revamped channel’s success — with gains in both viewership and engagement — led to participation in the YouTube Partner Program.
Partner status gave us access to content rights management tools and the ability to claim a share of the advertising revenue generated by views of the channel’s videos.
- Soon after, I monetized and optimized the channel’s online advertising. This led to 150% growth in ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) revenue during its second full year of monetization. Indications early during the third year suggested the trend would continue.
- This project served as the starting point for internal research on how free-to-watch streaming distribution affected physical media sales and piracy trends for individual properties.
- It also established AVOD as a significant revenue stream, in addition to digital and broadcast licensing, digital VOD, download-to-own (DTO), and physical media.