Online video distribution: How & when… with a bit of ‘why’.


Cool TV pic from Ashley B 

Really good piece in Variety about digital distribution?

Basic premise – the indie film sector is holding firm until it sees more revenue from digital platforms. The myriad of solutions out there – for mobile, PC, IPTV – are saturating the market before the content owners even commit their product.

“There’s an awful lot of time and money being wasted right now by people looking into the future,” notes Myriad Pictures prexy and CEO Kirk D’Amico…

…While distribution via emerging digital platforms may prove wildly profitable for indies a few years down the road, for now, as D’Amico notes, “It’s created a tremendous uncertainty in the marketplace…

…By and large, digital revenue remains nascent. For example, iTunes and Amazon, far and way the top digital movie distribution platforms in the U.S., won’t even say how much they’re making from downloads right now…

…The Internet isn’t paying upfront advances on anything yet…You can have a library of 1,000 titles, and you’re probably not going to get a dime from any of the major online services at this point.” [Jean Prewitt, president and CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance]”

…Of course, setting up a deal to get your movie on a platform like iTunes “is only half the battle…Getting eyeballs to see it is the other half.” [Matt Dentler, Head of DRM, Cinetic Media]

So. three things ?

  • Revenues are not there yet ? the content that?s available is not making enough money; content owners are hesitant to commit

  • The lack of commitment is provoking more companies to step up with their own solution. entrepreneurs are thinking ?No one owns the market but there?s still demand and huge potential? a major opportunity will exist until a de-facto solution is found. Why not my solution?

  • A de-facto solution will not be found until there?s a change in the consumer mind-set, enticing consumers to commit to digital viewing.

Being simplistic – content owners will not commit until consumers commit. And until content owners commit, there will always be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to throw another solution, an alternative platform into the ring, further fragmenting the market.

It should be an ever-decreasing circle down to the final successful combinations (there will always be several). Instead, the number of platforms and solutions available continues to swell, while the availability of high-quality, compelling, popular content dwindles.    

It happened with music and it?s happening for online video, but it?s a slow process.

Out at MIP last month, the BBC made some really promising statements about standardising online video platforms. As reported on paidcontent, BBC future media and technology honcho, Erik Huggers, spoke positively about open IPTV platforms built into TV sets…

?Box manufacturers can add this capability, that adheres to the standard, to the box. You could talk to Philips or Pioneer or Sony who are adding internet to television sets … to provide a coherent platform in the country … so the internet hits the living room in the right way, rather than in a fragmented way. It?s the last bastion – it?s about getting in to the living room with the richness and community features that the web offers with the viewing quality from a larger device. Because it?s an open service, any company could build an app for the platform…?

the Beeb joins Akamai and a number of others on this argument for an open platform. Ultimately, this would bridge the gap between PC and TV, provoking [in our opinion] a shift in consumer practice. There?s still a divide at the moment which is allowing half-way broadcast houses like Joost and BabelGum to survive.

Developing an open industry standard (still a hugely difficult process) would allow these chaps to survive on the living room TV. Monetise the content and allow it to be shared between devices in a simple way (see HIRO Media) and you’ve got happy, committed, repeat-users providing the all-important revenue for the content owners.

Again… maybe too simplistic, but something’s got to change…




 Disclosure – Edelman UK represents HIRO Media, and has previously worked on behalf of Akamia


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