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 Beatriz Acevedo, co-founder and president of the Latino-focused multi-channel network Mitú.
The exploding Hispanic population in the U.S. has been underserved in the online video space, but Mitú has been doing its part to right that wrong. In 2015, it expanded its reach by partnering with traditional media players eager to connect with its Latino millennial audience, cutting multi-platform content deals with NBC Universo (“Vive el Verano”) and Discovery Communications and securing an additional $15 million in funding from investors including AMC Networks. Mitú also helped everyday creators by tapping Lightt, a mobile tech company it
acquired, to help it launch a proprietary technology platform that enables users to easily capture, edit and share share video.
What was the most important trend in the online video industry in 2015?
Fortunately for Mitú, one of the biggest trends in online video was a big up swing in diverse content creation. Underserved audiences decided to create the content they were not getting by doing it themselves. Today, millennials are not only consuming more media on digital platforms than any other demo (90 minutes more then non-Latinos per month), but they are also expressing themselves through video on all social video platforms. This is even more prominent with the Gen Z demo, as the lines get blurred [between] consumer and a creator. You can see this with the success of apps like DubSmash or Flipagram. This is because digital provides the greatest entry to help people express themselves, something traditional media never gave them. If you have a phone you have an opportunity to connect with global audiences, and for our demo this is incredibly empowering as we are such an under-represented demo in media in this country. We love seeing how Latino millennials (who represent 21% of all millennials in this country), as well as the Latino Gen Z demo (23% of the entire U.S. demo), are creating their own opportunities and having their voices heard in an authentic way in media thanks to online video.
What single deal, launch or failure in 2015 was the biggest game-changer for the industry?
A true shift from “multi-channel” towards “multi-platform.” Global audiences are not just on YouTube, they consume content across all social platforms, and in order to thrive in today’s digital landscape, both creators, digital media companies and brands need to develop content that reaches audiences on the platforms where audiences are.
Additionally, multi-platform plays a critical role for advertisers as trends such as ad-blocking and ad-free streaming content (i.e., YouTube Red, Netflix, Amazon) continues to make impact on cord-cutting or cord-never millennials. Brands will now need to act as entertainment media companies and create entertaining and useful content that is not a blatant commercial across all platforms in order to reach this demo. The more native, engaging and shareable the content, the more likely they will succeed.
What surprised you the most in terms of hits or misses?
The happiest surprise has been the attention and success of today’s digital networks, as well as traditional media company’s foray into the space. When you see Netflix and Amazon receiving Emmy nominations for original programming online, it is exciting. Additionally, having brands recognize the incredible value networks like ours have in order to tap audiences. We at Mitú reach more than 1.8 billion people across our network and have had a tremendous year working with entertainment media companies and global brands who recognize that we understand the voice of Latinos and can create the right content to reach them.
What’s the most common mistake you saw this year in the biz, whether it was made by studios or individuals?
Mitú’s mission is to serve as the voice of Latino millennials. In order to do this, we have to understand our audience and where they are consuming content. With so many people entering this space, they are trying to be everything to everyone and sometimes will lose sight of who their audience is and what type of content they want to see. Therefore, the most common mistake is not staying true to their mission or not creating organic content that the audience has come to know and love.
Is there a sector of the streaming industry that you feel is chronically undervalued or ignored?
Live streaming made a huge impact during this year’s SXSW with the launch of Meerkat, but then seemed to only be a “phase” as other companies started introducing similar capabilities. However, the demand for live streaming is strong from consumers/audiences and therefore will resurface in a big way in 2016.
Virtual reality/360-degree video — fad or future? Why?
The future is all about how to create a more engaging and immersive video experience for audiences, and both VR and 360-degree video will do just that.
The term “virtual reality” has been a thing of the future for a very long time, and it looks like it is going to be among the biggest trends of 2016, beginning at this year’s CES, which is set to showcase some of today’s incredible demos and technologies around both VR and 360-degree video. Additionally, VR is not just for moviegoers, but gamers and social platforms. As for 360-degree video, we have seen some major examples from both Facebook and GoPro. YouTube has also introduced these capabilities, meaning we will definitely see more and more video creators making immersive videos for their fans.
Mobile-first distribution — overhyped or undervalued? Why?
For us at Mitú, mobile is where the audience is. Last month on our owned and operated platform wearemitu.com, 85% of our content was viewed on mobile devices, so we are very focused on serving the Latino mobile millennial generation, we want to create content that is made for where they are watching it.
What do you think will be the big story for the streaming space in 2016?
Live streaming played a very interesting role this year and will only get bigger in 2016. We have a lot of Mitú influencers currently using live streaming video platforms such as Meerkat, Periscope and especially YouNow. I think that more and more celebrities and brands will be using these platforms to create a more personalized and engaging consumer experience.
Live streaming will also play a role in how events/premieres/stunts are published and viewed.