Archive: sevenload

„Die Website, wie wir sie heute kennen, wird es bald nicht mehr geben“

Dieses Interview habe der Beilage Digitale Medien der WuV gegeben, erschienen diese Woche:

soziale netzwerke haben eine eigendynamik entwickelt, die kaum jemand voraus gesehen hat. Wie begründen sie diesen erfolg?

Social Media bildet im Grunde nur digital ab, was Menschen schon immer getan haben: sich austauschen, befreunden und mitteilen. Sie erleichtern die Suche nach Gleichgesinnten, ehemaligen Kontakten und Beziehungen. Wenn man so will ist ein Soziales Netzwerk eine Art Suchmaschine für menschliche Beziehungen. Dabei steht allerdings das „in Kontakt bleiben“ im Vordergrund.

Was kann ein soziales netzwerk leisten, was macht es aus?

Zum Reiz sozialer Medien gehört, dass diese für jeden Einzelnen etwas anderes sein können: Freunde halten, die engsten Liebsten über das eigene Leben unterrichten, Interessen bekunden, sich inhaltlich austauschen, Ereignisse nachklingen lassen, die eigene Karriere fördern. Soziale Medien macht auch die Einfachheit aus – die am simpelsten zu bedienenden Plattformen sind auch die Erfolgreichsten.

Wer nutzt es und welcher Mehrwert steht im focus?

Die meisten sozialen Netzwerke haben einen soziodemographischen Fokus, wie ursprünglich schuelerVZ oder MySpace. Einige Plattformen umspannen sehr unterschiedliche Zielgruppen, wie Facebook, wer-kennt-wen.de oder meinVZ. Mit inhaltlich orientierten Diensten wie youtube und sevenload steht zunehmend auch die situationsbedingte Interaktion im Vordergrund: heute Verbotene Liebe mit einer Interessentengruppe diskutieren, morgen Star Trek.

das thema datensicherheit ist im Zusammenhang mit sozialen netzwerken sehr wichtig. Worauf sollten nutzer achten?

Wie im realen Leben muss jeder Nutzer darauf achten, wem er was über sich selbst preisgibt. Was einmal im Netz ist, ist dort für immer. Jeder muss sich bewusst machen, dass das posten in Sozialen Netzwerken eine Veröffentlichung ist, die auch viel über den Nutzer preisgeben kann. Das macht den Reiz,bei unvorsichtigem Handeln aber auch ein we- nig die Gefahr aus. Letztere lässt sich durch besonnenes Handeln vermeiden.

Was haben die user zu erwarten, wie werden sich die sozialen netzwerke weiterentwickeln?

Soziale Interaktion wird immer mehr zu einer normalen Dimension eines jeden Angebots in den digitalen Netzen. Die Verbreitung des “Like”-Buttons von Facebook ist ein erster Schritt in diese Richtung. Auch Inhalte wie sozial verknüpfte Fotos und Videos werden sich zunehmend in verschiedenen Diensten und Portalen ausbreiten.Die Website,wie wir sie heute kennen – quasi als „digitale Zeitung”, die durch Klicks geblättert wird – wird es bald nicht mehr geben.

Rezession die beste Zeit für Social Media? [German]

Peter Turi hat ein Video – Interview geposted, dass er mit mir auf dem DLD 09 geführt haben. Darin stellt er solche spannenden Fragen wie:

1) Ist Rezession eine schlechte Zeit für Startups?

2) Wird sich bei den Startups die Spreu vom Weizen trennen?

3) Wird YouTube sevenload verdrängen?

4) Was ist das “nächste große Ding?”

Hier sind meine Antworten:

Interview Turi2 (2009): Interview with Axel Schmiegelow about his entrepreneurship (German) from curtis newton gmbh on Vimeo.

The Future of (web) TV

Reflecting on the current discussions, last at the Delphi Executive conference in Bonn, and at CeBIT which I both attended as a speaker, I recalled the very lively panel at DLD 09 around online video and social media. If you are interested in the topic, the video gives you insights with Brightcove, Endemol, sevenload and Termor Media and a great moderator, David Kirkpatrick from Fortune Magazine.

About the specifics of how we perceive the value of recurring WebTV Content, please check my Interview at ETRE in Stockholm:

ETRE 2008: Axel Schmiegelow describes the sevenload community and “The Future of TV” from curtis newton gmbh on Vimeo.

TV still the lead medium?

In a recent post, emarketer quoted a study by Deloitte stating that TV was still the lead influencer of purchasing decisions by consumers, even in the US.

I beg to differ.

Studies on the share of TV in media consumption do not differentiate enough as to the level of attention that the medium is consumed with. So many households have TV running virtually all day with a minimum of attention as opposed to an online usage that is still predominantly active, targeted (in the sense of the user pursuing a search or e-commerce activity), or socially interactive, that the two types of consumption cannot be equated – it’s comparing apples and pears.

The is all the more true if we consider the demographics, with a larger portion of low-income households letting the TV running indiscriminately. Besides, if you discount the number of TVs running 12 hours a day in Bars and Restaurants, I would wager that in terms of full attention media consumption, online has already overtaken TV.

We lack a study that compares – from the vantage point of an advertiser – conversion rates on campaigns running on TV and non-display-ads online.

The trend will increase with the further roll-out of online video.

sevenload is Top 100 Global Startup (Red Herring)!!!

I am very proud that we won this Award (after winning ETRE 100 as one of Europe’s best Startups). Red Herring hands out this Award after a year-long selection process and winning a regional Award is a prerequisite. Red Herring is known to most as the chronicler of the tech industry, and has picked the global 100 from industries as diverse as biotech, optical technology, energy, cleantech and even pasteurized Eggs.

sevenload was one of two media companies selected and one of only a dozen IT / Internet / Software related business. So it is fair to say that Red Herring thinks we are one of the two hottest internet /media companies in the world!

We were also the only Social Media company to get the award!

Past award winners include Google, Yahoo!, Skype, Netscape, Salesforce.com, and YouTube.

Here is the official picture of me with Alex Vieux, Founder of Red Herring!

red herring
Thanks to Jeff Braverman (click picture for site)

And this was my reaction to the award ;-)

rh_global_yeah_as

Launching HD at LeWeb08 in Paris

This interview by Charbax, a great blogger/thinker from Switzerland, included his grilling me on tech questions around HD and making me explain the business model of sevenload from an independent publisher’s point of view.

Marketing on a tight budget during a recession

The “Gretchenfrage” most discussed in the advertising industry right now is whether we will have a full-fledged downturn in advertising spending across all media, or whether there are niches and segments of the advertising /media industry that could even benefit from the recession. This being the 2nd downturn that I have experienced in my career, I am firmly convinced that the latter will happen.

I make this assumption based on several factors:

  1. A new generation of marketing decision makers now has control over most large budgets. This generation understands the power of digital communication- even though in the past years it has underestimated the potential impact of Web 2.0 and has continued allocating a disproportionate amount of money to traditional media without measuring that performance.
  2. Cutbacks in marketing and sales budgets are rather absurd when the real problem is crumbling sales, but this happens in every recession and it will happen this time around again. Since at the same time marketing performance will be measured more and more in terms of contribution to sales, marketing decision makers will focus on campaign tools and media that either directly or indirectly increase sales performance. Gone are the expensive TV commercials with bikini clad, young beauties on a tropical island, and in comes unsexy sales-driven below the line marketing. The past 2 ½ years have proven, however, that marketing in a Web 2.0 world need not be dreary at all even while contributing directly to sales lead generation.
  3. Web 2.0 advertising formats and communication models have reached a level of maturity and a critical mass among users that allow them to have a measurable impact on brand communication and sales lead generation.

The coming year will see providers of Web 2.0 campaign solutions and media ad placements achieving disproportionate success considering the downturn and cutbacks of media budgets. This will happen for precisely the reason that in the past 1 ½ years many showcases of Social Marketing have been started that have proven or will prove to have been successful to an unexpected degree. After the Beacon disaster these showcases will turn the tide, much in the way keyword advertising established itself in 2002 – 2004.

Our best reference is http://bmw-web.tv, which generated considerable brand awareness for our client BMW. BMW itself doubled that success by creating, at the same time, a national web TV project that was equally successful called BMW TV which greatly enhanced traction to its own site. For confidentiality reasons I cannot give you figures, but trust me the impact was measurable.

Advertisers of the old school often argue that performance marketing or traditional lead generation marketing does not help the brand gain emotional traction and awareness. That dichotomy is of the past. Social relevance, rich media and video formats allow the digital sphere to create a branding experience that is as emotionally compelling as television and as measurably successful as search engine marketing. That has always been the holy grail of advertising, and we seem to have found it.

If you want more information or need help achieving that success, contact me.

sevenload relaunches and secures new round of financing!

We spent the past months preparing our relaunch and securing our next, series B round of funding. I am very happy today because we just received confirmation by the German Antitrust Office that our Funding round is approved.

Our relaunch brings us to the next level, where we simplify channel navigation, combine it with social features, and open our business model one step further to content owners, by letting them have a larger share in our advertising revenue. We still have a lot of optimization work ahead, but the metrics of the past weeks suggest that we are on the right track.

The round of funding we just secured will lay the groundwork for our further expansion, and I am happy and proud that we now have French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian and of course Turkish localizations.

Here’s our official Press Release:

http://corporate.sevenload.com/sevenload-secures-new-round-of-financing/

When do I Invest? – Video Interview [German]

Recently I had the nice experience of being interviewed by the blogger / founder of http://www.easn.de or Everything A Startup Needs. He asked me to relate:

- how dw capital grew out of denkwerk

- what makes our positioning unique

- what are my criteria for investment

- and how much idealism a Founder can sustain

Of course, an [edited] video interview cannot convey all the things and remarkable people that shaped the rich history of 10 years of denkwerk, but maybe the interview gives anyone interested an impression of the philosophy behind our seed venture unit, dw capital. So, here goes:

Video Interview of Axel Schmiegelow

For the record, and because I also have an agency background:

I do believe in Branding, but I don’t believe Branding should be an excuse for bad conversion of a media campaign.

Discussion: Monetization or Reach [English]

Frank Huber recently tackled my post about Monetization in his Blog

http://blog.firstmedia.de/?p=763 (in German)

and contradicted my views of the subject based on 2 reasons: in his opinion, YouTube has shown that “size does matter” and sevenload hasn’t followed my recommended strategy at all. Here’s my reply to his post:

1) It’s undeniable that the “natural market leader”, who’s the one that goes for reach first, is the one who can win the rat race for size. I did point this out myself in my own post. However, it would be wrong to believe that the YouTube strategy and more specifically the YouTube exit is something that can be replicated. Ex post, Google’s investment in YouTube makes a lot of sense for a company that gave up a fraction of it’s shares. But there is exactly one buyer fitting that profile, and that is Google. There’s always exactly one worldwide or www-wide dominant company per segment that can be successful with a sheer “reach” priorization and with such an Exit strategy – so it’s hardly good advice for startups to emulate that model unless the startup is entirely sure of being the first one in its category.

My argument wasn’t that reach or the number of users/clients won is irrelevant- in fact, it’s the opposite. I just think that it is healthier to achieve this reach or customer base with a working and efficient business model than without one. And XING is a good example of this: From its first day back in 2003, Lars Hinrichs (Founder of XING) was already charging 5- € in monthly membership fees, even though at the time subscription models were still widely perceived as unfeasable in the German internet market.

2) sevenload’s strategy is NOT that of gaining a gross increase in our reach at all costs. We’re following an approach of pure, organic growth (up to now we haven’t spent a single € for advertising) which allows us to best offer a differentiated platform and cover the “Long Tail” of content. This allows us to offer advertisers rates that are up to a factor of 10 greater than those of normal video portals – and of most most conventional internet portals as well. Because of this difference, we are the market leader as measured in:

- Unique Visitors (> 10 Mil real unique visitors per month),
- active registered users (> 300,000),
- average visit duration (> 25 min. per visit and registered users > 45 min),
- content volume and
- revenue (we will be the Web 2.0 company with the highest turnover in Germany this year and most likely the only one that will be profitable). We achieve all this thanks to a revolutionary advertising model that is highly effective for advertisers.

Interestingly, though gross reach was not a primary target, this strategy has led to an sustained increase in precisely our gross reach and has put us in second place in the German market in terms of gross reach, right ahead of Clipfish, despite Clipfish’s massive cross-media subsidisation by the leading German TV Channel, RTL, and a full integration in DSDS, Germany’s “American Idol” Format.

In my opinion this once again proves the wisdom of Al Ries’s main marketing theorem:

Create a new category, then dominate it

My post on monetization does nothing more than offer a methodic approach to defining the category a startup strives to dominate in business model terms rather than in media terms.

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