A funny but uncomfortable exchange today between Michael Eisner and Veoh founder Dmitry Shapiro. Shapiro was supposed to be interviewing Eisner at Digitas’ “Newfront,” a showcase of Web video for potential advertisers held in New York.
But since Eisner is an investor in Veoh, and well, because he’s Michael Eisner, he felt he had the right to ask Shapiro some questions. Specifically: “You just raised a lot of money … what is the strategy for Veoh? What in the end is going to make my investment pay off?”
Shapiro, on the spot in front of hundreds of ad execs, did his best: “It’s a combination of things with the magic fairy dust of connecting video to the right viewers.”
Eisner wasn’t done. He also gave Shapiro grief about one of Veoh’s advertisers: Apparently Veoh had attached an ad for some kind of herb guaranteed to increase penis size to “Foreign Body“, an Eisner-produced show. “Hey, it was targeted,” Shapiro said. “It was incorrectly targeted,” Eisner shot back.
And it’s not just his investment in Veoh that Eisner’s worried about. He told Shapiro that the video aggregators, so adept at raising and spending money, are not handing enough back to the people who actually make the videos themselves.
“They’re shooting themselves in the foot,” he said. “They are trying to elicit a fee to integrate on sites like Veoh but with a revenue split that makes it impossible for a content producer to get enough money to cover production.”
“If I were running one of the distribution companies I would not look to make $2.50 but encourage the content creators to make it,” he said. “I’m not sure the distributors are thinking through where the content players have to come out — instead of how to make a little money.”
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