Tag Archives: fans

OTT And Paid Content

OTT, short for “over-the-top-television” is an up-and-coming acronym that we are all likely going to become familiar with in the near future, provided someone doesn’t come up with a different marketing name. The concept is simple – it’s TV that comes “over the top” of traditional channels on a cable system via the Internet delivered in digital packets. It can either be live streaming video, on-demand streaming video, or in the form of a pre-recorded on-demand podcast.

There are many aspects of over-the-top TV that have yet to be shaken out. Specifically, here in the early stages there are some still-murky areas when it comes to details of how advertising is going to work.

Things that we know about how OTT works successfully so far:

People are willing to pay for bundled on-demand professionally created OTT content in the form of Netflix on-demand streaming of movies, TV shows, and other content. The bundled Netflix price for all-you-can-eat on-demand streaming OTT offers the consumer a real value. In most cases, a great deal of marketing money and effort has been spent promoting the majority of individual movies and other content that are available on Netflix, so the consumer has a fairly high degree of familiarity with much of the on-demand streaming content they offer. These are essentially repurposed movies that are already on the shelf.

People are willing to watch on-demand streaming OTT of professionally-created content with embedded ads as demonstrated by the ongoing success of Hulu.Com. The consumer is likely already familiar with a portion of the content, but Hulu also allows the consumer to discover and explore previously unknown TV show content in an on-demand stream with embedded ads. These are essentially repurposed TV shows, some movies, and other content.

Live streaming OTT of live content is still catching on. The most successful live OTT content as typified by what Leo Laporte and company are generating still offers an on-demand podcast version that can be downloaded later. Currently, on-demand, after-the-fact podcast versions of live OTT generated content end up with many more downloads than people watching via live streams. Both live streaming OTT and the on-demand podcast versions can contain ads. For the ads to be effective in this format, they need to be relevant to the audience’s needs and desires. The old “shotgun” advertising approach does not work in this format. This specific type of content is closely associated with word-of-mouth promotion.

There are a few questions that remain to be answered. Will consumers pay for on-demand streaming of TV drama-type content they are unfamiliar with — in other words, will consumers pay to watch an on-demand stream of a new TV show drama, documentary or reality show? Using myself as a gage, I wouldn’t pay for individual on-demand episodes of a TV show or movie I wasn’t fairly familiar with. Promotion and word-of-mouth still has to take place.

If consumers will pay-per-view for an unfamiliar on-demand TV show, can the content still contain ads? I think the answer to this depends on the content and its perceived value – i.e., how well it is promoted, and the resulting perceived value that is generated in the potential consumer.

Once “Lost” was a hit TV show, would the fanatic fans have paid for on-demand streams of new episodes? Probably they would have, if they could have gotten them, say a week or so in advance of the actual broadcasts. “Lost” fans would have also put up with ads in the advance on-demand stream. They might have grumbled about it, but if that were the only way it was available in advance, many of them would have opened-up their wallets and paid the price monetarily and with their attention to the embedded ads in order to satisfy their “Lost” habit. Clearly, the producers of “Lost” – ahem – “lost out” on a time-sensitive revenue stream opportunity.

Bottom line, I believe it all revolves around the content and the real and perceived values that the content delivers.

I liked last season’s remake of the old “V” television series. If I could be assured the production values remained just as high, I might pay to subscribe in some manner. If the “V” series is picked up again by ABC next season, I would also pay to subscribe if I could get episodes via on-demand streaming before they were broadcast.

In the meantime, we are still dealing with the death-throws of the old broadcast model with its old appointment based viewing schedule combined with the old shotgun advertising approach. ABC broadcast TV affiliates would have had a cow if “Lost” episodes had been made available as a paid on-demand OTT stream before the episodes were actually broadcast via the network.

The final destination of OTT and when it ends up at that destination depends on what is right for the time. Both delivery infrastructure capabilities and consumer demand will make that determination.

Why Twitter Gets More Airtime than it Deserves

I love an ironic post title!

Twitter is not something that has made any impact on my day-to-day tech life.  It just does not provide me with any appreciable value.  The signal to noise ratio is just too high for me, and what it does offer for me I can do through other means.  It seems that I am not alone in this regard with Nielsen today re-affirming their estimate that the drop-off rate for Twitter is around 60%.  This recount factored in the use of Twitter based applications and websites that might have been clouding the results.

So Twitter seems to be gaining a lot of new people to it, unsurprising given the buzz it receives, but is not providing enough value to keep them.  Despite this the pundtry seem to have a facination with the world changing ability of the platform.  I do not mean to be derisive of the technology, I am more interested in the disconnect.

The opinion I have come to is that the Twitter model offers specific value to the celebrity-fan relationship.  I am using ‘celebrity’ a bit broadly here to represent anybody who has extensive one to many communications with a regular audience.  In these relationships the fan has a greater interest in the individual activities of the celebrity, whereas the celebrity is more interested in the aggregate activities of their fans.  While new media might go some way to correcting this imbalance, is is not practical for most celebs to have that personal relationship with their fans.

Twitter becomes a method for a celebrity to approximate a more personal relationship with their fans.  They can offer more of themselves easily and get a relatively concise subset of what their fans wish to tell them at any period of time.  The fan gets a chance that the celebrity might actually reply to them and the 140 character limit prevents the whole thing from getting out of hand.

The information communicated in this medium is by no means only of a superficial or personal nature.  Having the stream of communication open also allows the celebrity to get information to the fans they might not get through other means.  Whether this is a spontaneous appearance, rallying them to an action/cause, directing their attention or correcting a false rumour/report.  This is why the appeal stretches to more types of people than would typically be covered by the term celebrity.

So if you are a Todd Cochrane, a Leo Laporte, a PUSA or an Oprah, there is a much greater value to Twitter than if you are a generic user of the product.  This value also exists, although to a much lesser extent, if you are a fan or interested observer of one of these people.  Which does suggest that to get money for their value, Twitter should charge for accounts that have high numbers of followers.

The people who get the most value out of Twitter are then precisely the same set of people that are most visible reporters of technology trends.  If they see much more value than the average user does it stands to reason that the focus they give the product will be higher than their audience would expect.

Do you think I am on, the money, on the right track, or way off base with this?

I am starting to see some very interesting uses for Twitter.  I won’t link to it as it is not child safe, but the No Agenda stream uses Twitter as a control mechanism.  News stories, requests and listener comments come in via Twitter and are automatically inserted into the stream.  I do feel though that Twitters value to most users is when it is coupled to some other communication method.  If messages can be direct, personal, narrow cast, or broadcast, Twitter is an option for broadcast.  Whether it has the strength to thrive with such a narrow focus remains to be seen.