|"The two most important days in your life are: the day you were born, and the day you find out why." ~Mark Twain|
As we rumble into 2007 the media marketplace finds itself on the verge of drastic change. In 2006 we saw more and more crossover from TV to Internet based platforms such as iTunes, broadband networks, and video sharing communities like YouTube.
This dichotomy in the world of online video that leaves us with three types of platforms: Off-Air broadband networks (FearNet, Blip.tv), On-Air broadband networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, iTunes), Video communities (YouTube, LiveVideo).
Show Who The Money?
At this very moment the online video marketplace is though to be $300-$400 million business. Industry executives predict that this could grow to $2 billion by 2010, but this will not happen until a more-structured business model is developed. For now, 15 second interstitial spots are wearing a price tag that is far less than that of spots showing on-air. Meanwhile, the on-air content is being re-purposed to network homepages.
While the market could realistically grow to $2 billion, it is likely that those advertising dollars will be migrating from the on-air space. As AC Nielsen ratings become more accurate and show that fewer and fewer people are watching shows like “The Office” on-air, advertising strategy will begin to consistently reach across all platforms.
The Man With All The (Non)Answers Is -
John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks, says that “Nobody knows for sure what the best model is right now until they get out there and experiment with something.” In other words, nobody has the magic potion that is going to grow this market five fold over the next three years. It’s time to start throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. Who will sink, who will swim?
It is likely to be the content provider that is able to develop programming that deploys an effective brand message while remaining exclusive and authentic.
While ABC, NBC, and CBS all have full episode viewing capabilities for some or all of their shows, it is the exclusive web content from their hit shows like “The Office,” “LOST,” and “CSI” that gives the consumer a multi-platform experience.
These broadcast networks will be the model for success moving forward in the immediate future, but the door is also open for premium and niche cable networks to make a real splash in the marketplace by providing exclusive, value-added content via their websites.
Convergence In Screen Media
While the online space remains a bit of a puzzle that doesn’t have all the pieces in place, Apple Inc.’s launch of the iPhone at the Macworld Conference is the beginning of solidifying the direction of mobile content. Set to launch in June of 2007, the iPhone looks to finally turn the mobile video content market into something that is not only a sustainable, but growing; finally allowing users to carry online and on-air video in their pants pocket.
At last month’s Boards Summit, there was a lot of talk about how to utilize new media to get clients’ messages across – particularly of how YouTube and its strength as a distribution channel has changed the rules of engagement. Funny then, that at the same time as some of the industry’s top minds were collected in the same space, PhilTube was quietly but rapidly growing into a perfect embodiment of what everyone was talking about.
PhilTube, for those who missed it, is a parody of YouTube and all of its clichÃ©d trappings. Site star Phil McIntyre is seen in various video clips spitting out hackneyed phrases such as “content is king”, “this is hot, let’s get it on the site” and “hold all my calls, I’m too busy blogging”. He also gives a wink and a nod to YouTube sensations lonelygirl15 and the Star Wars kid. In fact, Boards even gets a couple of namedrops, and we like that. Dripping with dry humor, knowing irony and some of the funniest fake hair this side of Halloween, the site captures the zeitgeist of the current online climate. We love spoofs, but rarely does a spoof actually transcend its send-up stature to become its own bona fide success.
Created by digital agency Hart+Larsson for McIntyre’s PGM Artists as a part of the company’s sponsorship of the Boards Summit, philtube.com was intended to increase the presence of PGM and the companies it reps to a captive audience: Summit attendees. Instead, it’s caught mainstream attention, garnering over 35,000 hits in the weeks following the Summit as well as media attention from sites like The Huffington Post. McIntyre also reports that he’s been approached to expound on his tongue-in-cheek antics and create an online series based on the characters, and, he adds with some pride, “Apparently it’s big in Germany”. Indeed, a true sign of success.
All joking aside, PhilTube is a great example, albeit a small one, of how savvy clients and their agencies can capitalize on the interplay between traditional and emerging media, and how free and consumer-controlled online avenues can bring ideas to new levels.
You see, in the grand scheme of things, Phil spent very little on a traditional media buy: a sponsorship package at the Summit that gave him plasma screen presence, branded lanyards and a series of small print ads in our delegate book. From there, he worked with his client Hart+Larsson (who he credits with coming up with the entire idea) to create content to support that media buy and then he just let the netizens do the rest. He was able to reach his target and captive audience, and now is reaping the benefits of a whole new set of viewers. In reality, it’s hard to say whether this PhilTube thing will have legs beyond the current flash-in-the-pan excitement – the YouTube generation seems to have the attention span of a gnat and much of its content is very insider-y (while hilarious to those in the know, the humor of Phil turning down calls from Regina Ebel, Steve Humble, Diane Jackson and Donny Deutsch because he’s too busy blogging is no doubt lost on the general populace).
Still, when sitting with Phil at the Summit, who’d have ever thought it would have grown to such engaging proportions when he turned to me and said, “Hey, have you seen my new site yet?”
Rae Ann Fera
November 1, 2006 – Boards Magazine