Taking Content Into Hyperspace

THE push for original and scripted content has moved from toddling to tween stage on the back of several parallel trends...

Asking Critical Questions
Trend One : Social media is upping its game in the area of branding, with brands no longer just chasing followers and fans but, rather, asking some critical questions, such as what interests consumers, what they care about and why? The move from being intrusive to being useful has opened up brand entertainment to entirely new levels of creativity.

Delivery Device For Content
Trend Two : The industry is moving beyond an obsession with the technical wizardry of the digital age, and the tools, platforms and distribution pipelines that have allowed it to make content jump into hyper space. It is beginning to lay down some moral imperatives, recognising that it is not enough to be just a delivery device for content but, rather, that consumers will and are exercising a multitude of choices and they will likely, but not always, choose the good over the bad.

Making Online Content Worthwhile
Trend Three : Online players like Hulu, Netflix and YouTube are now in the process of making the content jump into hyperspace worthwhile. Hulu has announced 10 new original content series this year, part of its half billion budget for content in 2012. Netflix is aggressively going after exclusive rights to popular films and TV shows in the UK, but it is also commissioning new content, such as the 13-episode series Hemlock Grove, produced by Gaumont International Television. YouTube is spending $100m investing in new premium channels with a cross-promotion, cross-selling and original content strategy that is bringing in a surprising number of subscribers.

Judging Content By Online Value
Trend Four :
As the world of appointment TV moves into a twilight stage, the value of content and, indeed, the companies that make it, is being judged by measurable online data as much as it has been in the past by ratings and the sale of brick-and-mortar units (such as DVDs) in traditional media.  There is no going back. Content-makers are being made increasingly
aware that their worth ― not just in the eyes of the media but also those that fund content and acquire new companies ― will be measured not just by traditional ratings and unit sales but by the performance of its content online on platforms such as iTunes or Netflix.

Collaborate Or Pay The Price
The push for original content is a pivotal one if it triggers a commitment on the part of the industry to work together to make sure that content reaches consumers, online or in traditional media. But it requires collaboration across all aspects of an industry that is notorious for clinging to traditional ways of thinking ― about rights, about content, about broadcasting, about production and about advertising.

 Speaking at the recent Edinburgh International Television Festival, Liz Murdoch, chairman of production firm Shine, warned the industry that its failure to work together and embrace the challenges of the digital age would have consequences. “YouTube is beginning to behave like a market leader," she said. "Believe at your own risk that their platform is based on home-made videos of cats in washing machines.”