I was at MIPCOM last week and talking to the great and good of the TV industry got me thinking will the internet replace TV or does TV just need to adapt.
For 50 years, the TV industry has delivered content and generated revenue effortlessly along the way. But technology is in danger of pulling its plug.
Can it alter its business model to chart a course into more profitable waters? Or is TV irreversibly sinking?
Advertising revenues are down and news that UK online advertising has overtaken TV doesn’t make the picture any brighter. And look at these facts and figures:
• By 2010 Generation Y will outnumber Baby Boomers
• 96% of generation Y in the first world have joined a social network
• Years it took to reach 50 million users: Radio (38 years), TV (13 years), Internet (4 years), iPod (3 years).
• Facebook has added 100 million users in less than 9 months
• The second largest search engine in the world, based on number of searches conducted, is YouTube
• Only 14% of people trust advertisements
• Only 18% of TV campaigns generate a positive ROI for advertisers
Okay, TV is facing some serious challenges, increased competition from online channels, new technologies, lifestyle changes – call them what you will – but cheer up, the business model might be on its last legs, but there’s life in the old dog yet…
The answer for TV – embrace the online culture.
One billion consumers use social networks and the like. How can TV tap into the commercial potential of such vast numbers of people? The difficult part isn’t to create a presence; its knowing what presence should be created, where and for what purpose.
The truth is you’re involved in the social media space whether you choose to be or not. Listen in to the online buzz in sites like Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Flickr, the various forums, communities and blogs. Social media search engines like whostalkin, Social Mention, Delver or tuSavvy are great to use alongside Google analytics to get a good overview of your social media profile and performance. But for a detailed assessment, get a social media reputation audit done by a professional – you’ll be able to use this score as a benchmark for improvement.
START TALKING TO PEOPLE
Word of mouth – one of the most powerful forms of marketing, and it works so well online. If you’ve got something great – everybody’s talking about it. If you don’t – everybody’s talking about it. Before getting involved in social media, think carefully about your approach. Be prepared to share information or even tell the behind the scenes stories.
START SHARING YOUR CONTENT
Social media channels have a rather large ‘Welcome’ mat don’t you know and getting involved in this space will have a positive effect offline too. CBS has attributed a 200,000 increase in viewers in one month to the strategic placement of sample content on YouTube.
USE VIDEO PLATFORMS (DON’T TRY TO COMPETE AGAINST THEM)
YouTube probably presents the biggest threat but also biggest opportunity for content owners. Did you know that currently an average of 20 hours of video is uploaded every minute? OK, some of it may be there illegally, or poor quality, but audiences flock in their droves. Google, YouTube’s owner, has very deep pockets, so while it continues to build its audience, the commercial pressure is off (for now). And legal wrangles over copyright issues are unlikely to derail them, a recent ruling in Universal Music Group’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Veoh Networks shows that social video sites may actually not be breaking any laws at all, at least not in the USA.
Then there’s Monty Python who placed free clips on their YouTube channel with click-to-buy links underneath. It’s reported that even though the online content is free, Monty Python’s DVD sales skyrocketed 23,000% on Amazon and reached #2 on the Bestseller list.
DISCOVER NEW REVENUE STREAMS
Content has an intrinsic value. Viewers will subscribe to watch it (if it’s good enough), advertisers will pay to be labelled alongside it (for the right price), but the online model is still evolving.
But take Facebook – it has 300m users – audience figures are potentially not the problem – it’s all in the packaging. Subscriptions models using Facebook apps are a potential money-spinner for content owners. Users don’t want to pay multiple subscriptions to access content (hello, Hulu!) so multi-layered content for niche audiences just needs to find suitable homes.
CREATE ONLINE ONLY CONTENT
Broadcasters can show content on their websites, but this is only the starting point. Bebo has a track record for commissioning its own content (KateModern and Sofia’s Diary), funded by tactical sponsorships and product placement.
Yomego – the social media agency.
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