In a world where what has been obvious to many of us for years is now an “exciting revelation” that there are increasingly more and more opportunities for television networks to monetise their content. The easy road is to get into bed with the dominant and increasingly monopolistic subscription television service provider but there are smarter ways to turn a profit now that won’t necessarily impact on your ability to turn a profit in the future.
With more and more people turning to the internet for their content, whether it be via ad supported on-demand services or other not so scrupulous methods, the question that begs answering is how long before we start to see premium on-demand services from our local TV networks?
When I say premium I’m referring to either an ad supported or subscription model, where, for example, a user who either doesn’t want to have to wait 12 months for TVNZ to screen one of the best comedies of recent years could have access to it legally within hours of its international broadcast, or better yet, LIVE!
How good would it be if you could stream the grand final of American Idol, live from the TVNZ Ondemand website – complete with New Zealand commercials in the ad breaks? What about Coronation Street for all those who are tired of being so far behind the UK? What about being able to watch the very last episode of Desperate Housewives or Lost or The Sopranos? For those who are digital natives and spend all day and every day online with spoilers about everything behind nearly every click of your mouse, how great would that service be?
Of course, there will be those who would suggest it would impact too much on the broadcast figures and therefore ad revenue. It wouldn’t. I’d suggest that if it was done properly, it would increase it.
Those who are going to watch broadcast television will always watch broadcast. Those who watch their TV on-demand are either going to find it some other way that cuts the TV network out of the financial equation or the networks will realise the potential and get with the program.
With digital rights becoming a hotter piece of property, it surely must be a matter of time before they figure out that this is where things need to be heading. The only questions now are, how long before one of the networks tries this on (properly) and who will be the first to do it?