In today's digital marketplace, original content is king. As the demand for online video content continues to grow, there's a major opportunity for companies to boost customer engagement, brand loyalty, and revenue.
Apple is rumored to be allotting $1 billion on original video content for 2018, and even Facebook has introduced the new Watch tab, which will feature exclusive original video content created by affiliate partners.
The first version of Watch offers Facebook users a wide array of reality shows, short documentaries and sports-related coverage. Users can select shows by category, receive recommendations, and chat with other others watching the same show.
When a tech giant like Facebook makes an aggressive move into an area, it's clearly a space headed for even more growth. But Facebook and Apple are not the first companies to experiment with creating their own content.
Here are six examples of companies that are already winning the original content game.
In 2014, Marriott launched its in-house content studio, bringing several media and entertainment industry veterans on board to lead the effort. The studio has since produced a television show, as well as short films, a digital travel magazine, and a variety of real-time marketing content.
The digital travel magazine and short films have been particularly successful in driving revenue through bookings at Marriott hotels. The short film French Kiss has more than six million views on YouTube, and a related booking promotion generated $500,000 in revenue.
Marriott's strategy is primarily aimed at connecting with Millennials, a group known for their love of both travel and online video content.
2. Red Bull
Red Bull was one of the first brands to fully embrace in-house video content creation, beginning in the 1990s. "The Red Bull effect" became an industry byword for the growing trend in original brand content.
In 2007, Red Bull took the next step and formed its content studio, Red Bull Media House, as an independent company.
Today, the content it produces generates enough revenue that the studio is a viable entity in its own right.
Inspired by Red Bull's success, Pepsi also made a major investment in original content and launched its own studio, the Creators League. One of Pepsi's biggest in-house projects was part of the highly successful Kyrie Irving "Uncle Drew" campaign for Pepsi Max.
The Creators League also produced a series of interactive music videos for the 2014 World Cup, in collaboration with celebrity athletes, musicians, actors, and filmmakers.
More recently, the Kendall Jenner "Live for Now Moments" ad engendered a huge controversy and was ultimately pulled. However, this ad has certainly kept the Pepsi brand at the center of national conversation, with Pepsi's mentions on social media up 7,000 percent the first day it aired.
Progressive Insurance is best known for its popular commercials starring the Flo character, but investment in its own content studio also goes toward the production of informational videos and specialized content.
This expanded investment drives revenue by giving Progressive more control over its unique advertisement strategy, and saves expenses by keeping the production costs within the company.
5. The New York Times
Most media companies have a content studio in-house. The New York Times is an unusual case in that it creates original video content, but is also fighting the perception of itself as an old-fashioned print media organization.
Through strategic investments and acquisitions, the Times' T Brand studio has blended state-of-the-art video production capabilities with the company's longstanding reputation as a preeminent news source.
T Brand has successfully collaborated on projects with Kia, Netflix, and its own Times Talks series to deliver increasing revenues since its launch in 2014.
YouTube is known primarily as a hosting platform for user videos, rather than a creator of its own online content. But with the continued growth of YouTube Red, that could change.
YouTube Red is an ad-free subscription service to the channel's original shows and films, which were created in partnership with a variety of media companies, as well as celebrities and popular YouTube personalities. Upcoming productions include a sequel to the film The Karate Kid, and several other new series targeted at young adults and children.
While YouTube has not released subscription numbers yet, the service continues to grow, with 250 million views of the original series so far. Online content revenue will be critical for the company to help boost parent company Alphabet as it competes with other internet behemoths like Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix.
The demand for online content has exploded, with no signs of slowing down. This is the future of marketing, not only for tech companies like Facebook and Alphabet, but for all brands trying to engage and build relationships with today's customers.
The companies that have wholeheartedly embraced online content production are already reaping the benefits of a competitive edge.