Saturday, October 11, 2008

Streaming Media West Conference: How Old Media Is Embracing Online Video and New Media

I sat in a number of sessions at Streaming Media West and one of the themes that resonated was discussed in the panel session, How Old Media Is Embracing Online Video and New Media. The conference program described this session as a discussion on "how converging media technologies are redefining traditional distribution methods, how interactive and on-demand services are changing, and how entertainment and news video is being consumed." I took notes of this session which captured some of the key discussion points and included them in this post.

The participants included:
Moderator: Jose Castillo, President, thinkjose (filling in for Kent Nichols, Co-creator Ask A Ninja)
Presenters: Evan Young, Director of Broadband Services, TiVo
Evan Hansen, Editor In Chief,
Dan Goldman, Executive Director,, Thirteen/WNET
Stephen Chao, CEO, Co-Founder,

Is Old Media really embracing it or being dragged kicking and screaming?
What working and what’s not?

Stephen Chao, CEO, Co-Founder, Early partner was Scripps Network.
Define – old media creating new and old media repurposing. All old media is into repurposing.
Original programming is expensive and not easy to produce so all media is cautious.
Scripps had some hiccups, trouble adjusting to adult themed content.

Evan Hansen, Editor In Chief, How NBC handled the Olympics. 1 billion for TV vs. 5 million Internet, there’s a tremendous opportunity to niche and narrowcasting, they missed that opportunity. Money is a big issue and right now the Internet is not offering the numbers that TV offers. There was some specific web content (guy attending after parties) but not unique experience.

Dan Goldman, Executive Director,, Thirteen/WNET: Definitely being dragged, right now Wired just standardized on Flash, each show has specific sponsors and not across the board, need to get a strategy, each show has it’s own web site with it’s sponsors. Not a great new media platform, Need to move to behave like a real network. Things are dictated by funding model.

Evan Young, Director of Broadband Services, TiVo: We struggled with this whole space. We know TV with its ad models. Web video has purpose driven, participation, social media.

Evan Hansen, Editor In Chief, Look at Netflix; they enable real-time streaming and online catalog available immediately

Jose: I can watch Alf and Gary Vee on Hulu, cool to see him competing in the same space.

Evan Hansen: Just like Google made money with classical ads, now Hulu is viewed as one of the last syndication models. Its long tail is more than 5 years.

Jose: A lot has to do with what device the video is being viewed on.

Dan Goldman: The floodgates are now open. Anyone who is not engaging in syndicating for the long tail is missing out.

Evan Hansen: Relates to release windows. The longer you wait to release the content the more you open your product up to piracy. Copyright issues

Stephen Chao: Has sympathy for people who spend millions on TV productions
CPM defines their world. Online video can’t compete right now with TV. If you can create parity between the two mediums but right now the scale for CPM is not worth it.

The window strategy does play a big role. The price of discrimination between distribution channels, theatrical release, ad based web release.
Truly loyal viewers will come.

  • Michael Moore just released his video online only; Dr. Horrible too might work up to DVD
  • Internet distribution at $1.99 is not the best return.
  • Most are more interested in repurposing old content. Huge economy of scale for TV broadcast since you have one time costs and Hulu has ongoing costs to stream high quality video.
  • One of Tivo’s first partners was NY Times and they weren’t ready to launch a linear channel but joined Tivo to get into the space.

Stephen Chao: It’s hopeless what they're doing. Last 15 years they’ve been trying to buy into a distribution system, but they keep falling back on a tired old strategy, we need to be in new media but they don’t have a plan to do it.

Evan Hansen: Executives at CondeNast are looking at long-term revenue and not short-term return, they money will come. Scale models are evolving. Example: Revision3 CEO said on a conference call yesterday production costs have been driven down to $30,000 a show and at those rates the...

Jose: plus the ad deals with Anheiser Bush helps. CPM turn around at $30 can achieve $500K

Dan Goldman: Costs for producing video are being reduced, low cost high concept.
Too bad Kent Nichols, Ask Ninja isn’t here, they are a great success story same with Hot for Words, very exciting to see these small start-up web shows get so successful.

Jose: Something started as new media has now turned to old media with the book deal.

Dan Goldman: They are like the plenty of fish, reaching that one. Strategy for repurposing old media has a huge archive. Disagrees with Stephen doesn’t feel sorry for the old media; they made their syndication deals. Need to capitalize on new media opportunity. Price point on long tail. Changing pitches for pledges not 5 days but 10 seconds after each chapter, revising old business

Need to find new ways to advertise since 30-second pre-rolls don’t work

Stephen Chao: There are people pounding on $25-40 CPMs and cost of streaming needs to do down. UGC is impossible to sell, advertisers don’t; want to be associated, too unpredictable

Jose: Example - Indirect marketing driving brand awareness that became successful.

What about the Younger generation moving away from old media?
Broadcast data is skewed, TV programming
NPR is killing it 2 million in 1982 and 33 million today. They moved everything online they have a growth story that works for advertisers.

Andy Carver is social media strategist that helped with their social media strategy.

What is PBS doing to bring older generation online?
It’s more of the opposite; they have much older online audience.
Made it like a remote control on steroids. 60% of audience watches Channel 13 three times a week. Strategy is to put everything they have online and then get leverage once they get a handle on the price point

Successful examples of old media embracing new media?
Evan Hansen: Kindle. It has greatly reduced delivery costs for NY Times and Washing Post while no photos it made a lot of sense. Amazon did iTunes model for books at $9.99. Thinks it in very early adoption phase and will grow

The key is content, old media needs to embrace new media models

Traditional media using cross platform selling?
Evan Hansen: Tivo, object of Hulu in reverse. has extras that’s available only online and not in print. Not a ton of traffic so it’s been lukewarm and only 30% cross over, ads sold by same sales staff. A lot people want to syndicate our content. Integrated marketing.

Final comments: what would you do?
Jose: Find coolest crazy kids online producing video and turn them loose.

Have every single piece of PBS video available online, should be in.
Don’t fear the pirateism set your content fear.
Scale ambitions to scale of Internet, find inexpensive to exploit on Internet.
Clear up a lot of the legal issues to reuse older content.