Over brisket quesadillas at lunch last Friday, a lunch that included a delicious frozen pomegranate margarita, I met two online media entrepreneurs who have a vision for an “all south, all the time” video site. What struck me as interesting about the concept was how brilliant it is in its simplicity. However, what also struck me as interesting was how little thought the entrepreneurs had given to audience targeting, segmentation and monetization.
I believe that more and more online video has to evolve into a cable-like model of content – audience matching. For online broadcasters that would be something akin to HGTV, Lifetime, and the Food Network. Unless you are a major broadcaster with access to a breadth of professionally produced TV-like content, I think having a general purpose video site will be a failing business model because it will depend too heavily on building a significantly large audience size. Furthermore, trying to monetize a large online audience without there being obvious audience characteristics besides basic demographics means very low advertising rates and correspondingly low probability of success (of making money).
Intimately defining your audience first and your desired relationship with them on behalf of advertisers is paramount to experimenting your way to success in the emerging online video world. That insight will inform everything from the brand, to content development, to site design to the eventual integration of advertising. As the CEO of a new online broadcast company, The Photography Network, this is the very same discipline I’m bringing to our marketing, audience development, content development and sponsor sales efforts. So far so good…
I hope I end up working with those two entrepreneurs in some way or another. The opportunity to be a part of another online broadcast adventure is what I’m living for these days.