As the importance of new content-business-models increases, so, too do TV and digital distribution deals that push continued convergence across platforms.
Original content deals across all platforms are the new norm, with You Tube for one, quietly changing the terms for some channel producers to encompass an “everywhere model,” and with CBS exploring direct-to-Netflix content deals.
It now looks as if a U.S. digital window, with international TV distribution, can and is working.
With the Netflix original series “Lilyhammer” licensed in a digital “first-window” type model in the U.S., and traditional and digital TV distribution across Europe, this shows a huge shift -- that online as a pay window for Web originals can and will play as “TV everywhere.”
The push towards content and TV “everywhere” still shows challenges, from lack of awareness to content availability across networks and platforms – but still presents huge revenue opportunities if done correctly through the development stage.
Advancing the “content everywhere” business model:
There are also certain trends globally that show a continuing trend of disruption in “TV everywhere” models.
First, pricing can be a major impediment, preventing consumers from accessing online VOD, OTT and IPTV. Then there's the slow adoption by older consumers -- mainly baby-boomers - due in part to a lack of education on product offerings.
Large investments in original long- and short-form content by Netflix, Amazon, HULU, You Tube and others, meant to disrupt current business models, also helps push the traditional players to move a little quicker to give consumers more of what they really want: choice.
While many other online platforms like Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft are all investing in original digital content, the key seems to be that when the content embraces an “everywhere” distribution model, with an understanding that shorter content has limited distribution opportunities off just the web, it changes the whole conversation.
Which is why it will be difficult for others to catch up with YouTube, and its push for a dedicated channel strategy, a one-stop shop for amazing digital content produced just for the channel.
“Content Everywhere” is the new Wild West.
As digital platforms and social networks become both an incubator to test original content ideas, and one of the main places consumers “enter” or “discover” a new TV or Web show, it makes a lot of business sense that digital studios and platforms will hold their own form of an upfront: an annual event where advertisers get to see first the pilots from the upcoming TV season to help them decide where they might like to allocate their ad dollars.
And while digital at the moment is not able to replicate TV ad spend, it is a great step forward.
Another major example is the recent announcement by the Pay TV operator, SKY in the UK, to allow consumers to subscribe to pay TV content online and other platforms through an “a la carte” TV viewing model. Could this happen in the U.S.? When?
The main reason Sky is providing premium content choice is to counter and prevent Netflix’s entry into the U.K. market. This is interesting, because in the run-up to adoption of “content everywhere” distribution in the U.S, Netflix is more concerned with “TV everywhere” than competition from HULU Plus and others, which is why a recent 10-year TV network carriage agreement between Disney and Comcast, focused on content availability on new devices and platforms, is a game-changer.
For now though “TV everywhere” is a major, major boon for the content industry in a whole that the U.S., like “content everywhere” leaders Europe and Asia, are making sure your favorite show is/can be available wherever you are.
Content everywhere is not just a catchphrase anymore, it is a reality -- and not just for broadcast networks and TV distributors.