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DCM Newsletter Columnists - November - Pasa Mustafa
I guess what I really mean is timing. The TV, Film and Music industry has been dominated by scheduling for almost it’s entire history. Release dates have dominated the hold back of new material to build a big PR release for opening weekend box office takings and potential billboard numbers ones.
In the digital space of course holding back often restricts the potential viral nature of the audience becoming ambassadors for your brand. It also stops your fans from easily becoming the marketing tools for your campaign.
The TV business model relies completely on scheduling. Using ratings data it is fairly easy to see what demographics are watching TV at which times. This has enabled broadcasters to commission content at a certain value with knowledge of roughly how many viewers and most importantly what type of viewers it will obtain. Plus they will add in a huge amount of knowledge on marketing data to work out how much uplift they can drive to new shows etc…
Of course in the TV world the ad market is the biggest revenue generator. But why through a slight downturn in TV revenues has it taken so long to experiment with new models?
We now have catchup TV with iPlayer and 4OD readily available not only on computer but through connected TV and other devices. The majority of these are being used for the free 7 day catchup window and then some offer a paid service for archive content. However not many of them are being used to facilitate the availability of future content.
Instead of trying to punish viewers for illegally downloading future episodes of TV dramas it is about time we try to understand the economics of those decisions.
If you have tried to download an episode from bit torrent then you will know that some hefty knowledge and effort is required on your part. Now if you translate that into a level of engagement. This is the equivalent of a viewer having to sign up to a service, playing a game related to the show or giving up some data.
Many of these tactics are already being used in very popular social games like Farmville. They reward you with content for essentially jumping through hoops or giving up data or time. Alternatively if you want to access the new content right away it is simple you can pull out your credit card and pay for it. Then ofcourse the all important bit which is showing off to your friends that you have something first before anybody else.
So I asked myself this question when watching the Walking Dead last Friday. If I could get the next episode straight after watching the latest one on FX by paying £2 I probably would. And I think if this was a consistent offering throughout the industry and people knew it existed you wouldn’t only convert some of the pirating viewers to paying viewers but I think you could also convert some new people who are more than happy to wait.
In the same way Starbucks coffee is priced at exactly the right tipping point of disposable income for its audience broadcasters need to start working out this same economic pay off for their viewers.
They could even offer a tiered service. Offering the whole series of The Walking Dead upfront before release date for a large one off fee. Once the series starts to air the individual episode prices continue to reduce with eventually the archive being available simply by registering your email address or “like” ing the Facebook page.
Over the next 5 years I believe a combination of scheduling and increased data knowledge mixed with better understanding of the value of engagement are the 3 primary drivers to monetising digital content in new ways.
Very exciting as for a media owner it’s like finding a fiver in an old jacket.