Saturday, February 10, 2007

Promoting Your Channel (1)

I recently promised to blog on ways to promote an online TV channel. Here's the first part of a series that examines some of the techniques that can be used to drive audience figures:

When there were a few TV stations it was easy to know what was on and marketing was barely necessary. With the advent of multichannel TV and an overwhelming choice of programming for users the need for promotion arose and you now see almost as much promotion for TV programmes as you do advertising on a cable channel, let alone the billboards, magazine adverts and online promotions used to try and garner and build an audience. Online, promotion becomes even more important as thousands of channels appear and vie for the attention of the viewer.

Audience

The first thing to identify is who your audience is. Generally, if you’re looking for a generalist audience, eg women or teenager, you will need to dedicate more time, effort and budget to your marketing and promotion than if you’re targeting a very specific audience, eg mountain climbers.

Specific audiences can be more avluable in terms of the advertising rates you can command and also the level of subscription and pay per view income you can command. Alliances The internet works on collaboration, and you will need to go out and do deals to promote your service. Portal alliances – the internet is dominated by portals; these are the main sites user use to access and gather most of the information and utility they’re looking for online. There are information portals such as Yahoo, MSN and AOL and there are more functional portals such as Yahoo (again) and Google.

Many ISPs such as Comcast and Virgin Media run their own portals and these are popular amongst the services’ customers since they are usually the default landing page whenever a web browser is opened.

There are also increasing number of specialist portals such as Youtube (part of Google) and Flickr. Upload promotional content to them pointing to your channel.

Traditionally, portals have been keen to aggregate third party information and make money from selling advertising around this content. In the past such services would pay for content, however, they are now more likely to look for revenue-neutral deals or even to charge for ‘carriage’, just like cable companies charge cable channels for access to their audiences. Most of these portals will have commercial departments which specialise in putting together deals; they may require some degree of technical adjustment to your service and you will certainly need to enter a legal agreement with them.

Some Tips When Dealing With Portals

1. Do not restrict yourself by entering into exclusive deals unless you are sure that this brings greater benefit than multiple deals
2. Make sure that you have a rolling contract that is renewable
3. Identify what the revenue share is for a wide range of commercial activities at the outset even if you don’t currently offer them – eg you may decide to add a gambling function
4. Establish who owns the eyeballs – are they your viewers, the portal viewers or are they shared
5. Establish the protocol for storing user’s details
6. Ensure that you have a non-disclosure agreement covering the public release of sensitive information

more to follow...

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