The television market MIPCOM in Cannes last week did not only offer an abundance of content from all over the world, but also various solutions to bring video content to mobile devices. I met with a bunch of solution providers during the last week.
The big question of the content owners nevertheless remains: How do you monetize mobile platforms?
YouTube (YouTube Europe) came to Cannes with a decent sized stand at the Palais pitching their Partner Program. Nevertheless the offer was all around the revenue-sharing program, which for content owners who spent millions of dollars on productions remains the very last resort. YouTube has around 3 Billion views a day, around 20,000 revenue generating partners of whom some lucky ones make a USD 100,000 per year. That doesn’t very exiting for professional content creators. Your chances to break through are fairly slim.
On YouTube’s webpage they are posting a Creator’s Playbook, which I find interesting since it tries to break down what the ingredients are for a successful video on YouTube. It just doesn’t correlate with what you need to impress a TV buyer.
Much more exciting is what YouTube did not present in Cannes. In the US YouTube offers a pay-per-view system in beta. Unfortunately not available anywhere else right now and only available on devices that can run Adobe Flash. Oh well.
Applicaster is a white-label solution to bring interactive TV experiences to mobile devices. Mainly geared towards broadcasters and giving them the opportunity to enlarge their commercial partnerships for individual programs beyond the 30 second ad insert. Applicaster
was acquired by Cisco in 2011 and just recently created the Baby TV application for mobile devices for Fox International, which allows for in-app purchases of episodes.
Besides delivery to mobile devices, over the top delivery to television sets, also known as connected TVs, is gaining momentum. EaselTV creates customer branded interactive video-centric applications for all major Connected TV platforms. Together with PayWizard they offer an individual monetization solution (PPV) for internet TV.
VisualOn is a Silicon Valley software company that develops distribution solutions for all devices. Including the ones that can’t deal with Adobe Flash. They mainly work with telco-carriers and large content providers. VisualOn powers the Netflix application for Android devices.
ScreenToo by The Application Store
Those guys fall more into the category of second-screen-solution providers. ScreenToo gives content providers the option to have on a second screen (mobile devices) synchronized play-outs, shopping, votes, chats, polls, social media integration, you get the idea, to accompany a show running on TV. The goal is to keep the audience more engaged with the show and to create more monetization options for programming. ScreenToo’s solution is also geared towards the individual content producer, it is not just for large broadcasters and telcos.
The UK company calls themselves a “connection maker” offering the RedPlayer and end-t0-end online video multi-device distribution. RedBee is behind the almost iconic BBC iPlayer. They use Cisco and Akamai components.
GlobeCast is a subsidiary of France Telecom. They are more like a world wide distribution company with satellites and fiber optic networks. But their stand at MIPCOM also presented solutions for mobile TV and IPTV. The front-end / user experience part did not seem to be their main focus. It was more about satellites and cables and that’s where the friendly person at the booth lost me.
Another UK company dedicated to over-the-top-streaming with a simple mission “deliver full screen streaming video and TV to computers, television sets and devices, over broadband IP at the same quality as satellite TV”. Sounds good.
Bottom line: There are plenty of solution providers that can bring content to connected/mobile devices. Most of them stay on the technical feasibility surface, not offering monetiziation solutions. But some of the companies above have already realized that the key to cost efficiently reach a mobile audience is to provide solutions that enable the producer to charge for content or enable new forms of commercial promotions.