Thursday, July 13, 2006

Internet TV and the Four 'Ps'

The world of internet TV is in danger of replicating some of the mistakes of the dot com era.

Perhaps the worst of these mistakes is to concentrate more on technology and feature over-load rather than the business model and the promotion of the service.

If you look at the successes of the dot com era you will quickly realise that, as in most businesses, the technology is incidental and simple to use - Google is one example that comes to mind.

So, apart from technology, what makes a difference ?

Back when I was in marketing school it was all about Price, Product, Place and Promotion (the 4 'Ps'), and this hasn't changed much.

In the context of TV 2.0 this means:

Price - make sure the offering is pitched at a point that works for your viewers; the market might not be able to stand any charging for the content, so sponsorship, ecommerce and advertising become the best options. Also, consider variable pricing; content is more valuable live than on demand, for example. You can also 'layer', or mix your income models, with elements available for free and advertising or sponsor supported and other elements paid for.

Product - it amazes me how companies that are obsessive by their old world products neglect their TV 2.0 offerings. Many channels change a few programmes a week and give little thought to scheduling, continuity and packaging, as they would in the traditional broadcast environment.

Place - in the old world this stands for distribution - making sure your product is on the aisle ends in supermarkets. In the online world this is about deals; everything from agreements with other top online sites and portals through to arrangements with clubs and communities. If you're not in the right place, people can't find you. The viral spread of your service will happen automatically if you get this right.

Promotion - in the world of marketing an effective marketing campaign is the difference between the success and failure of a product and the same is true online. Most companies spend more money on marketing than they do on developing or in producing a product (even traditional broadcasters in the US advertise massively). Online is no different, although some of the techniques that can be used, eg search engine marketing, are.

Notice that there is no mention of technology. You can do hugely clever things using technology such as Narrowstep's, but this will be a wasted investment if the above factors aren't right.

Think of the rule of thirds: a third on technology and delivery, a third on content and a third on marketing and it's a good start.

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