It’s in the blood. Sir Richard Branson’s son Sam is disrupting at least one industry. Entertainment. Sam announced today that anyone in the world can view his documentary for free for one month, not in movie theatres, but on his production company’s branded YouTube channel.
See it as another sign that your organization is facing a threat and opportunity: Video disruption. The lines are rapidly blurring between TV, movies, documentaries, amateur and professional video vignettes and how-to programming. Novel new partnerships for creation, promotion and distribution are proliferating, threatening the status quo.
2013 is the year that your organization either creates it’s own “TV” programs or is in danger of losing out to a competitor that may not yet exist. With the right partners, you could either launch a video-based start-up to serve the market you know best or suggest that your organization do so.
1. Forge Audience-Building Partnerships
Sam Branson’s production company Sundog Pictures partnered with google, which owns YouTube, to launch the documentary. Breaking the Taboo, which is about the war on drugs. YouTube featured the film on its home page and hosted premieres in New York, and in London, with Richard Branson bringing celebrity friends to celebrate. Morgan Freeman narrated a video teaser, starring Kate Winslet (causing an unexpected and odd stir), Dizzee Rascal, Mia Farrow and other celebrities are promoting using the hashtag #breakthetaboo.
Why all this upfront “social” and in-person promotion for a film that will not be released until next year? Sundog’s Johnny Webb said: “It’s incredibly difficult to get significant theatrical distribution even for the most acclaimed feature documentary, and even then you can measure audiences in the tens of thousands.” This way, “we believe we can reach millions of people rather than thousands, and create a virtuous circle of promotion which will boost viewing in the global TV window.” Google is on an uneven global spending binge to upgrade and expand the number of channels, genres, access and content creator support on YouTube, which is already experiencing exponential growth, and it has committed $300 million to market them.
That makes it a mighty attractive distribution channel. And your organization can be valuable to YouTube because you have a built-in market.
What you need next is a video-based audience-involving situation, conference or other event, social experiment, contest, stakeholder crowdsourcing opportunity or other way to move from push marketing to pull content. Here are some ways others are using video to grow their to grow increasingly engaged with their key stakeholders and top of mind in their market.
Feel like you are in the boots of extreme skier Matthias Giraud as he does his double backflip and then air drops off a mountain. You can because Giraud can mount a simple video camera to his helmet, thanks to the small firm, GoPro, a small firm that serves, “the extreme sports and active lifestyle consumer, according to Karen Leland, who interviewed the founder of a RingzTV, Robert May who said the mounts can be attached to everything from snowboard helmets, to scuba diving masks, to the handlebars of a bike.”
Consequently, according to Leland, sports enthusiasts have been “making inspirational and extreme videos using the special mounts and syndicating them across the web via YouTube and their own channels on Ringz.TV” which offers what it calls, “a la carte television with addictive fast, free apps to monetize 4-screen video.” Thus RingzTV, like YouTube, can become one of your distribution channels. As May and Leeland suggest, you are co-creating with your customers a free promotion program and a rapid feedback loop for product innovation and insights abut the most lucrative niches to pursue.
“Networks, authors and even publishers increasingly capitalize on the popularity of titles and characters,” notes Nina Metz as more eyes move front the printed page to many screens. Lucky authors with a hot story idea, perhaps not even a finished book, get compensated by a relatively new alliance between Random House and Fremantle Media, the producer of American Idol, The X Factor and the international Got Talent franchise, Instead of paying for product placement or traditional advertising companies should consider hiring or partnering with authors who are or could be popular in their market to co-create an audience-involving story to pitch to this new Random House TV partnership. That’s might tempting as the potential audience is huge. As Freemantle’s Richard Vargas explained, “There are over 3.2 billion views of Fremantle content on YouTube today. That’s where our audiences are going, from TV to the new media world, so we are moving there as well.”
Authors have a larger opportunity that I believe will quickly expand to include popular personalities and thought leaders with a large and avid constituency and a partnership with an adept writer, if necessary. Why? Because as the fight grows for building audiences around “content” and the mix of partnerships evolves, all parties will be iteratively experimenting like mad, with what kind of personalities, formats, interactive elements and audiences make the magical mix for maximum profitability.
Here are just a few examples if video usage that invite participation… See the rest of the column at Forbes.