The importance of owning your own content platform

16 months ago

The importance of owning your own content platform

‘Taylor Swift launches her own online TV channel.’ ‘Pornhub debuts sex ed video platform.’ It doesn't matter what you end up calling it, starting your own online video platform is the leading marketing trend right now: distributing content outside of the established ecosystem and independent from the infrastructure of social giants like YouTube and Facebook. It's true that these big platforms give you all the tools to broadcast, but they end up keeping your viewer database - the most valuable marketing tool - for themselves. Why do more and more new, independent online TV channels pop up? And why would you start one of your own?

It’s no coincidence that more and more companies, brands, soccer clubs, publishers, artists and celebrities choose to start their own online video platform on the internet. New technologies not only make it easier to do so, but the big advantages of independent content platforms are also becoming more and more apparent. To start with that last point: the big advantages of starting your own online video platform. The words ‘your own’ suggest that the opposite is also possible: your content on ‘someone else’s’ platform.

Social is still relevant

The best example of this is a company that chooses to publish its video’s - like company films, commercials and other video marketing - only on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Nothing wrong with that strategy, so don’t stop doing it. Because what those platforms do offer you as a company is an easy way to upload and share content with your target audience and a way for others to easily find your content. Next to that, the YouTube platform looks great, is easy to use and available on almost every screen. So, again: sharing videos on social platforms you do not own is still a great plan.

Hearing all this, a logical conclusion is ‘that sounds great, what more could I want?’. But what you give away by solely distributing your content on someone else’s platform is data. Or actually: ownership of data, ‘the oil of the 21st century’. Of course, YouTube provides you with a pretty detailed overview of the number of viewers your corporate video has reached, but the platform does not allow you to retarget these viewers - individually or as groups. When it comes down to it, you have no idea who your viewers are, what they like, what they don’t like and how you can work your marketing magic on those specific preferences.

Reese, Reuters and Red Bull

And that’s exactly the reason that Reese Witherspoon, Reuters and Red Bull have all started their own online video platforms: data ownership. They now do know who their viewers are, because those viewers watch content on a platform that gives the channel’s owner full insight into viewer behavior. With your own video platform, you offer your viewers the same, comfortable viewing experience they get when they watch traditional TV, but behind the scenes you as the owner build a profile of your viewers and gather email addresses and user preferences. So you create a database that you completely own. A database like that isn’t only ideal for you, but also really interesting for third parties. For instance potential sponsors and partners for your channel, to which you can promise a database of viewers that one hundred percent fit their target audience. Data. That’s the true value.

Another really smart reason to also publish your content on your own platform is the new markets this allows you to tap. Because - as we already know - people’s viewing habits are changing fast. And while people aren’t cable cutting as much as some companies would like and new linear TV channels are still being founded, the amount of people that watch linear television is on a downwards slope. Also, live streaming or watching video on demand is happening more and more, as opposed to watching content when it first airs. We live in a time where the viewer decides when a show is watched, but also on what device. That shift creates very interesting marketing opportunities for companies, brands, publishers and entrepreneurs that own or create content. Because their target audience spends more and more time watching video online, so it becomes a more and more logical choice to also offer that content online.

Focus on that database

So say you start your own online video platform, how do you make sure that your audience finds that platform and keeps coming back for more content? That’s the challenge and it can be a really fun one. If your target audience spends most time on your Facebook page, you could publish short teasers of new video content there and offer them the rest of that footage exclusively on your own platform. You need to guide your viewers to your new platform. Because there, they get asked to create an account and fill out their interests and preferences. Then, the viewer can continue watching and you - as the owner of the channel - can start building that valuable database I keep mentioning.

So is starting your own online content platform - something we at TradeCast believe is now possible for anyone - truly an investment that pays off automatically? The answer to that question is a very resounding ‘yes’, with the footnote that you as the administrator of that platform should fully dedicate yourself or your team to marketing that channel. For instance, to launch the channel with sponsors or partners, so you can cover the costs of data use. Or by using branded content, pre-, post- or midrolls in your videos or even publish fully sponsored on demand items. A brand new TV channel about a very specific subject - for instance about history, sexual education or the news - can only become successful if you let your audience know it’s there and it’s awesome. And, yes, that costs money. But the new revenue streams your platform creates should outweigh the costs of the platform. More about those revenue models in the next article in this series.

If you want to learn more about the opportunities your own video platform and targeted advertising can bring your company, contact TradeCast, check out our video below or meet TradeCast at IBC 2017 (hall 9, booth 9.LP10):


tel: +31 85 201 09 80

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