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Ripped from the Headlines — Part 2

Ripped from the Headlines — Part 2

Continuing from my post yesterday, below are more insights and trends on the latest video distribution headlines that were discussed during a panel I participated on at Digital Entertainment World last week.

Time Inc’s Digital Audience Now Bigger Than Print
Time announced its earnings, revealing a drop in print advertising that hasn’t yet been filled by digital revenue. Over the past 18 months, Time has announced and begun to execute its strategy to expand its digital and video content. While this strategy isn’t a surprise, and there is still time – no pun intended – for the company to reinvent itself and reinvigorate its audience, this reminded me of the presentation by NY Times President and CEO Mark Thompson at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting earlier last week. Johnson, to paraphrase, commented on Buzzfeed’s ability to create engagement with their audience via snackable content.

For Time, the challenge will be whether it can adjust to consumers' changing consumption habits while retaining its brand and journalistic authenticity.

What Should We Call Multi-channel Networks Instead?
There were a couple of topics about MCNs, and the ultimate question is what is a MCN? For many companies, they are essentially multi-YouTube channel networks. By leveraging the “free” YouTube platform, MCNs can aggregate talent and their associated audience. However, my conversations with several MCNs over the past several years exposes a painful truth: this dependency on YouTube is more than talent and audience – it’s a dependency on monetization, measurement, and screens. While YouTube serves as a powerful distribution platform, it’s also a very singular approach for video with a tightly controlled monetization model. If MCNs want to control their own destiny, they will have to decide what they want to be when they grow up. With Maker’s acquisition by Disney, it’s already transformed itself via its inclusion in Sling TV. Chernin Group's investment in Fullscreen and SVOD offering Crunchyroll foretells a more ambitious plan to hedge against dependency on YouTube.

Time will tell when other MCNs decide to curb the addiction and break out beyond YouTube.

DigiNets’ Future May Just Be Now
These Programmers are creating an advertising-based business model by focusing on low(er) cost distribution of niche broadcast content. Remove “broadcast” and it sounds a lot like... digital. But the fact is, it would be fairly easy to offer a library of digital content across multiple screens to a niche audience across the entire country and also support targeted advertising.

Why are we seeing more of this niche content programming in the broadcast world instead of the digital world?

GoPro Moves Closer To Becoming A Media Company With New Roku Channel
As we’ve adopted “Kleenex” as a generic term for tissues, “Xerox” for paper copies, and “Google” for search, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear “GoPro” as the generic term for POV video creation. At some point, with all the amazing footage – from the perspectives of mountain bikers, surfers, skydivers, and drones – someone would aggregate it properly as curated programming. Ostensibly a hardware company, GoPro’s pre-IPO marketing focused on its transformation into a media company. Its latest earnings call stated, “We see a future in which GoPro serves as a platform for people around the world to visually express themselves like never before. A future in which their shared experience and collective content on our platform is as valuable to GoPro, as YouTube is to Google, or Instagram is to Facebook.” Red Bull made an ambitious bet by creating Red Bull Media House, growing to hundreds of employees and distributing digital content (clips, films, live events) across a plethora of digital screens. GoPro had a stellar Q4, but its stock got hammered.

So even if GoPro has ambitions to be a media company, does the Street?

Take a look at these issues in more detail; we’d like to hear your thoughts.