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Content Monetizing Options Abound at Mip

Apr 6, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The annual international content market Mip TV has been the place for buyers and sellers to show their wares and make licensing deals.
Over the past few years, Mip’s organizers have reacted to the evolving distribution landscape by including an array of panels, exhibition space and awards for vendors and providers in the digital media space. This includes technology and distribution companies offering everything from digital rights management software to mobile video platforms. Unfortunately, for the content owner trying to understand this space, the abundance of information must be overwhelming, and therefore the tendency may be to ignore all of it.
But if all the research about the exponential growth of Web video is correct, content providers would be foolish to rely on traditional syndication and licensing alone. After all, the potential to monetize their content via the Internet is staggering.
In terms of usage, according to a report by ABI Research, there were 147.7 million global broadband video consumers in 2005; by 2007, this had swelled to 295.2 million users. In 2012 it’s expected to top 907 million users.
More significantly, in 2006 the number of video hours delivered was 428 million hours. By 2012, this number is expected to exceed 30 billion hours—a compound annual growth rate of 108%.
What does this mean in terms of revenue? Broadband video pay-for-content revenue—that is, single-use video-on-demand, subscription and download-to-own—was $229 million in 2006 and is expected to reach a prodigious figure of $7 billion by 2012. Additionally, global advertising revenue from online video is expected to jump from nearly $260 million in 2007 to more than $8.5 billion in 2012.
Taking advantage of the growth in revenue for online video presents significant hurdles in a number of areas for content providers. What’s the best strategy for their type of content? Should they utilize an aggregator, build their own Web site to reach potential viewers/customers, or both? How do they avoid working with so many providers that there’s nothing left of the revenue pie for them?
Looking at the options and seeing what other content providers do is beneficial in deciding which course is best, and Mip TV is a great place to watch the players and the plays.
Having been on both sides—as an executive of both content production/distribution and technology solutions companies—I can tell you there are many options, including ways to give away your share of the revenue if you don’t do your homework.
In my view, the best strategy for entering the world of Web video is to keep control of as much as you can, including the rights and manner in which your content is sold.
In the past year, there’s been a lot of hype surrounding aggregators and technology providers that offer content owners their branded distribution and/or technology platform to sell their content. If you’re a big-name studio, this might be a secondary option, with the idea being to be as many places on the Web as possible, including your own Web site. But if you’re a midsize or niche content provider, wouldn’t it make more sense to hang on to and even build your brand equity and not dilute it with other brands?
For instance, if you’re a men’s programming outlet like MavTV, why send your viewers to iTunes to hunt for your shows when you can offer them everything they want on your own Web site?
Not only are you getting a bigger piece of the revenue pie, but your customers are seeing your brand the way you want to represent it.
Another factor to consider is the revenue model. As a content provider offering video over the Internet, you have many possible ways to sell that show or clip. Most technology platforms will enable streaming video, but maybe there are certain assets you want to offer as a video to download and burn to a DVD. Or maybe you want to set the viewing or rental window differently for select shows or movies. Does the technology provider you’re working with offer those options?
As content producers and distributors descend on Cannes this week looking for the right fit for their content, they may learn the new media frontier is not as confusing as it seems and that the opportunities to have more control over their assets result in greater revenue-generating possibilities than ever before.
Rather than turn a blind eye to new technologies and distribution platforms, my advice is to check out the options. There are ways to take advantage of the burgeoning Web video market without being taken advantage of. After all, as the poet Thomas Gray said, “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”
Neil Goldberg is chief operating officer of Akimbo, which provides an online video solution for content providers’ Web sites.

11 Comments

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