New World of Streaming Video Has HUGE Implications for the Content Industry

by Elizabeth Parks | Jul. 19, 2022

The growth of online video and connected devices has had profound effects on content creators. Furthermore, the changing distribution environment is simultaneously enabling the shift from traditional broadcast media to digital services with so, so many advanced features. This transition has affected content creators in a variety of ways:

  • More content: While the trope “more content is available to consumers now than at any time in history” is repeated constantly throughout all levels of the media industry, the bar keeps getting raised regarding the amount of original and legacy content available to consumers. Massive content libraries have been built and continue to be one of the largest investments streaming companies make.  Thus, demand for content has driven content creators to search for efficiencies in technology, production, and other areas of the creative process to develop higher quantities of quality content.
  • Shorter shelf life: Binge watching has significantly changed the way consumers watch, discuss, and interact with content. Traditional TV (and some OTT services like HBO Now) release episodes week to week, meaning a ten-episode season often lasts for two and a half months. This leads to greater anticipation and discussion by fans of this content over the course of the season. In contrast, OTT services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video typically release seasons all at once, leaving viewers to finish ten episodes in a single weekend, should they so choose. Additionally, fans of particular content may not watch the content at the same time or at the same pace, making the shelf life for conversation much shorter.
  • More distribution choices: A major hurdle for content creators is finding the right distributor to maximize revenue and audience for their brand of content. This does not necessarily mean selecting the service with the broadest distribution or greatest subscriber base. Genre-specific services like Crunchyroll or live content services like DAZN may serve as the best vehicle for monetization and distribution of specific content, despite not having the large subscriber bases of some competitors. Sifting through the burgeoning market of distributors is a considerable challenge for content creators, but a critical component of success in today’s crowded landscape.
  • Opportunity for self-distribution: Video sharing platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and Vimeo enable users to distribute both live streaming and pre-recorded video to millions of global users, as well as to monetize that content with advertising. Additionally, many of these platforms allow their video player to be embedded on blogs, websites, and other online platforms. Content creators like Logan Paul have experienced great success utilizing these platforms. Furthermore, major content producers can create their own OTT services as distribution mechanisms, providing options for monetization beyond licensing. This approach allows creators to continue to monetize long-tail parts of their libraries that remain fallow. It also provides the freedom to target broad audiences with a general OTT service like Hulu, which offers many genres and types of content, or target user segments with a niche service like Shudder, which offers genre-specific programming.
  • More content going direct-to-digital: Content windowing has been disrupted by the explosion of direct-to-consumer services. More content is now going direct to digital, rather than being distributed via theaters, television, or retail outlets. This alters the way that content creators consider their position in the ecosystem as well as the way they monetize their content.
  • Disruption of time conventions: With linear channels only occupying a portion of the current media landscape, the conventions of half-hour and hour-long slots for television programming are a thing of the past. While content creators are certainly still creating content that fits into these conventions, both short- and long-form content is common in the current media environment, with content produced regularly outside past accepted time conventions.
  • Quality of content: Certainly, the idea that we are currently experiencing “the golden age of television,” is bandied about by industry executives and content creators alike. Many debate whether television quality is at its highest point in history. At the same time, affordable, high-quality cameras and editing software are available to the masses, allowing user-generated content and amateur live streaming and content creation to now compete with professionally made content for time and attention.
     

While the content creation space may be more competitive than ever, based on both content spending and the number of content options available to consumers, there exist substantial opportunities for content producers at all levels of the ecosystem. The opportunities for distribution are more numerous than ever, and the increased number of service providers drives a need for more content in a variety of genres, time conventions, and monetization models.

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Several areas of innovation have emerged to help content companies adapt to content creation in the current environment.

  • Process automation: Previously, content creation was predicated on airtight communication and process executed between teams to ensure components of the creation process happen as scheduled. However, advancements in technology tailored to the content creation space are revolutionizing the process by which content is created. These solutions employ automation techniques to clip, edit, and push footage to various teams as soon as it is ready. This ensures that content is processed in the fastest and most efficient way, limiting the potential for human error.
  • Remote teams: While content creation teams in the past have had to live and work in the same place for months at a time, technology and the pandemic has forced and enabled teams to work remotely, in environments more suited to their function in the content creation process. Communication is essential for managing the different levels of video production such as editing, quality assurance, and creativity; good communication ensures that the workflow is streamlined. Tools like videoconferencing, remote computer access and collaborative editing software enable content creators to live and work around the world but still collaborate on projects.
  • Automatic tagging: Artificial intelligence with object recognition, speech recognition, and other categorization tools streamline the process of tagging and categorizing content with metadata. This helps content creators more easily select things like cover art, trailers, and social media clips that help market content. Additionally, searching through libraries of prior content and the stock footage is easier, because tagging with AI significantly improves the process behind these legacy assets, by categorizing and tagging them in the same manner as the current video.
     

Additional disruption of the content creation process is on the horizon. The legacy studio model is slowly morphing but is propped up by massive content spending by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other firms looking to shift consumer attitudes regarding the quality of original content on direct-to-consumer platforms. It is possible that when these companies reach a greater scale with content creation, or their content spending slows, content creators employing a technologically forward-looking process will have a more prominent place in the ecosystem.

This is an excerpt from Parks Associates extensive research library covering the entertainment markets. For more information on how to have access to our research studies, contact me or any of our team members. Thank you for your support in reading our work. 

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