Have your own TV channel
A small technology change in the headend, to open the channel list will motivate a younger audience
Television has must compete with games and the internet if it is to survive as a media format, that does not mean that it should mimic the web, all it has to do is be itself.
The TV audience is changing, its becoming older. The reason for this is that the youngsters are no longer interested in mass marketing. Clay Shirky has a great article on what he calls the cognitive surplus. Clay describes TV as an out of date experience because users cannot interact with the visual experience. However what Clay neglects is that somtimes people like a passive or ‘In the same room’ group experience, some times they want to be fed media.
Don’t think of the TV in terms of the content that it provides, instead think of it as a big screen in a communal area in the home. When you do this you will come to the conclusion that TV has a great future.
So how can TV compete with the niche content interest of its audience and provide a passive or group experience? The answer is simple … the operators, channels and programme makers have to give real control to their audience.
I don’t mean telethons where people can call in and interact with the programme, I don’t mean swap shop style events where smarmy presenters get a crowd going, I don’t even you’ve been framed where the audience is invited to send in content.
What I mean is real control.
Why not let an individual audience member have their own channel, why not let them set the programme schedule using your ondemand content, publicise their events, upload their own content and run their own adverts on other channels? Why not open TV up completely?
The technology to provide this feature is very simple. The digital set top box already has a way to get and display a list of channels. If it were to periodically ask a server “Im the elliott house hold, what other channels have you got for me?” the server can answer with “here is a bunch more channels”. If I tune to any one of the broadcast channels then it all works as before, but if I tune to one of the extra channels … then the STB would ask the same server “Ive just tuned to extra channel 4644, please turn it on” the server would then start up a VOD stream for the content that is currently on. when that programme finishes … the server automatically starts the next one. The below diagram shows how this new server would work with the Eventis architecture.
You would also need some kinda of interactive or web application, that functioned like a calendar and allows the audience to schedule and upload content. It will need an interface to allow people to search and subscribe to these extra channels. Thats the easy bit, there are literally thousands of open source CMS systems that could be tailored for use.
So whats the point? what do I as an operator get out of this?
- Younger audience
- More content
- Advertising revenue
If you provide this simple but remarkable feature, the people who would use this feature first are the kids, they will use it for sharing pop videos and clips of their friends, aslo they will use it for self publication. This will lead to a massive increase in the amount of content in your platform which will essentially give you as an operator access to the long tail niche media consumption market.
How will this feature drive revenue?
People will want to see their friends channels, you will see an up lift in subscriptions. Users who are sub scribed to or have created their own channels are not users who will churn, you will see churn reduction. Finally …. and most importantly … the very nature of the technology makes it very easy to place adverts automatically in-between the programmes, this will provide a direct revenue stream to the operator, and whats more the users expect to get ads on TV channels so they wont mind seeing them!