Mashable strategy chief: Periscope and Meerkat don’t make sense for advertisers yet

Adam Ostrow at Mumbrella360 this morning

Adam Ostrow at Mumbrella360 this morning

Two of the most talked-about content platforms of the moment – live video streaming apps Periscope and Meerkat – do not yet make sense for advertisers looking to build their brands according to Mashable’s chief strategy officer Adam Ostrow.

The two platforms have emerged as a powerful way to capture content in real time in recent months, with Periscope coming to prominence in Asia when it was widely used to watch the Pacquiao Vs Mayweather fight in May and bypass pay-TV, while @Mashable is one of the most-followed accounts on the services.

“Persicope and Meerkat will succeed if they can scale,” Ostrow said at the Mumbrella360 conference in Sydney this morning. “But the average session [on Periscope] is only getting a few hundred views at the moment. So it doesn’t make sense for advertisers yet.

“It’s still super early [for Periscope and Meerkat]. We don’t worry about monetisation yet. It’s just important [for brands] to get on there and try them out.”

“Distribution is shifting very quickly. Who would have known that Facebook would start hosting content on its own site? It’s important to be on and worry about monetisation later,” he said.

Ostrow’s comments come just two days after Mashable launched a video production arm for brands called Mashable Studios. Ostrow was asked if he thought agencies would see the launch as “eating their lunch”.

“Our model is to work with agencies in a number of ways. Yes, we can help brands and agencies create content that they are looking to scale. But we’re working with solutions partners that are already producing great content,” he said.

Adam Ostrow on Mashable Studios, agencies and their global plans

On the competitive threat that Mashable poses to established content makers in other countries as the website expands overseas, Ostrow said his publication was “not going to come in and say we’ll cover politics and sport with the same depth [as local news outlets].

“We’ll run our trademark global stories, and localisation will be about how to complement that coverage,” he said. Mashable is launching in India, and is setting up a Southeast Asian operation based out of Singapore later this year.

Ostrow said that branded content and native advertising are the main revenue sources for the site, which started out as a tech publication but now covers all genres of news.

“The typical brief we’ll get will ask for a customised way to engage a social audience, and how that can work with traditional media,” he said. “We see branded content and native advertising as the biggest drivers of revenue going forward.”

Ostrow was cool on plans to sell or float the company, as Buzzfeed’s founder Jonah Peretti hinted his company would do last week.

“We don’t think about that a whole lot. We’re focused on building the business,” he said.

“We’re still fairly new [Mashable launched in July 2005]. We were a bootstrapped company for the first eight years. We didn’t raise outside capital until 2014. We’re now investing in scaling video and connecting with an international audience.”

Robin Hicks


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