At last night’s Digital CONNtent Creators meeting the topic was new media distribution models. Half way through the meeting I realized that few people in the room realized just how easy it is to get started in web video. I don’t mean slapping something together for YouTube, but creating some content, getting it online under your control, and having access to real analytics to prove your concept.
Hang on to those DVDs
Pogue on why IPTV won’t rule soon. CustomFlix.
The era of the mass audience is coming to an end. The role of the media gatekeeper is diminishing. The Super Bowl will continue to draw huge audiences, as will a lot of other sporting and political events. But there won’t be another Roots, nor will the culture be driven to a frenzy over who shot J.R.
The era of the Long Tail has arrived. Without turning this into an economics lecture, it means that places like iTunes and Amazon can make money selling a few copies of a lot of things because the incremental cost of each sale in a digital distribution model is next to nothing. Some people like to call this the democratization of distribution. I’m not one of those people. It makes it sound like there was a revolution. There wasn’t. This is the natural evolution of technology-based products and services.
What this means for video professionals
It’s all well and good that Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos can make a lot of money selling a few copies of lots of things, but the studios weren’t built to support that model. That’s where small and mid-sized production companies come in. Smaller facilities don’t have to feed the corporate overhead beast. Projects five and six-figure revenues can fit into our business model quite nicely. Currently neither Amazon nor apple are players in the independent video space, but Brightcove, Open Television Network, and others are online and ready to do business.
Of course it’s a huge leap to switch your business, which is most likely based on doing work for hire, to a self-distribution model. You are not likely in a position to drop everything and go into independent production. You need to be able to test the waters to see if there’s a market for your content before you quit the day job.
Guerrilla market research for the videopreneur
You have some video content and now you need to know if there’s an audience for it. Ideally you’ll have multiple content offerings in order to get a sense of which video offerings will generate the most interest.