3 Lessons in Streaming Television Shows Online

Posted on July 2, 2012

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As tablets become the favored device for printed word, Internet-enabled devices like computers and gaming consoles are becoming the preferred method for watching video and live television. But the formula for delivery still has some bugs to work out. Here are some recent innovations that you may want to consider when rolling out video content online:

  1. Make your “newspaper” a “news brand” online with video content. The Wall Street Journal recently launched a 30-minute political show called “DC Bureau,” available online. Of course, The New York Times has been doing this for some time, but the two have different approaches. WSJ seems to be throwing up as much video content as possible, aware of the fact that videos can garner higher advertising rates that print display ads. Meanwhile, NYTimes.com is cultivating more professional-looking videos. Neither can compete with television studio production yet, but they both look like they may be trying to in the future.
  2. Make everything available in real-time — for a price. Starting this week, ESPN will be streaming more than 800 hours of Wimbledon matches online for subscribers of WatchESPN.com. For the first time, U.S. audiences at home will be able to watch every match – in real time and on-demand. This is a great way to harness the power of online video streaming for enthusiastic fans, and a significant improvement from standard television viewing (as paidContent explains, NBC has some curious tape-delay practices in previous years covering Wimbledon).
  3. De-bundle and de-dub U.S. TV shows for international audiences. For many years, American studios have been bundling U.S. television shows, requiring foreign broadcasters to take favorites like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Friends” along with hard-to-sell shows like “Sons of Anarchy.” But Germany’s TV company ProSiebenSat.1 recently started to use its YouTube clone MyVideo to exclusively stream some U.S. TV shows, and struck gold: Its online-only presentation of “Sons of Anarchy” garnered some 4.5 million views. In addition, many Europeans seem eager to view shows in their original English, not with dubbed character voices.

Of course, subscription sites may not want to use free services like My Video. But here’s one of the most important lessons in paid content: While no savvy consumer will pay for content that’s already available for free, many will pay to have it delivered to them in the way they like. Customize and thrive, my friends