Here’s an interesting shift. While many content farms are expanding their pace and even going public, About.com is trying to step into the world of premium video.
The plan is to double the kind of high quality videos that are increasingly the long trail revenue drivers. This is similar to Youtube, which is spending $100 million to launch 20 channels with focuses on art, sports and entertainment, as well as celebrity driven specials.
Peg this move to the same thinking that has helped blip.tv to grow so well in the last year and inspired the launch of Bedrocket by Ken Lerer, a production house he hopes will capitalize on the new world for web video as early pioneers did in cable TV. Of course, the definition of “premium” will certainly vary widely between what About is building and what Lerer want to tap into.
The push into premium video is also a way to dodge the increasingly contentious back and forth with search engines like Google, which are cracking down the low level answer pages that About.com has long specialized in.
With web video up 45 percent in the last year, and streaming services like Netflix shelling out big bucks for premium content, the market for set top devices like Boxee and Roku is also being juiced.