Gavin McGarry, the principal behind Jumpwire Media, explained to Banff TV festival attendees how not just new ideas but profit can be pulled from the cataclysmic changes currently roiling the broadcast industry. He pointed out that while the money may be tight now, China will soon be the biggest English speaking country in the world, a giant market which we already have the facility to produce.
Traditionally, content was created by producers, distributed by a network and paid for by advertisers. That model no longer applies. Things end up on Bittorrent, then migrate to Youtube, then they get remixed, sometimes even before the show gets on television. And once it does get on TV, some random person uploads it again, and the cycle begins anew. But conversely, ratings can and do jump once clips from shows go online and spread virally. Advertisers act adversely, the networks react, and chaos ensues.
But out of this disruption comes sites like Hulu and other content sites which (despite the conventional wisdom at the time) became a big success.
Added to this is the fact that millennials don’t read, leading to Youtube becoming the #2 search engine. And people do with long form content, either on small devices or their desktop and laptops.
The biggest screw-up of all was the behaviour of the music industry, who paid for their arrogance by watching their profits plummet. The same, McGarry said, will happen to TV in the next two years.
Additionally, the ability for ordinary people to put together content on their own has grown exponentially over the past decade. And in the game space, content creators are happy to have people create mashups using machinima. But the broadcast industry is very leery of letting their content go, and will have to adapt.
But there is time to adjust, McGarry said. TV still has time, even with 30 per cent losses, to change what they do in the next couple of years.
There are ways to monetize. Tubemogul sends video across a myriad of sites, and while they get a cut of the potential revenue from those sites, they also create reams of data that can lead to new insights and new content. And when a channel hits 100,000 subscribers on Youtube, there is definitely money to be made. Brand extension is another way to generate revenue. And online comedians and performers are using data to find out where they’re big and crafting their content and their tours around what they find in the data.
The takeaway is that producers should find relevant angles you can target to a niche. McGarry said when he was at Joost he was in charge of anime, and he was staggered by how popular it was. That, he said, is an example of a niche that is underserved and can be monetized. And internet content costs relatively little to make, so there isn;t as much risk. Even higher-end web vieo is inexpensive compared to the mammoth budgets of TV, and many are getting sponsors. And distribution is trivial compared to the exegies of getting something on broadcast television.
And mobile is the next frontier, with exponential numbers and an emphasis on location-based content. Xbox and other consoles are also becoming a viable platform for video. In short, the world no longer ends with TV.