Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Taking On The Big Boys

So, you have an idea for a TV channel do you ?

Well, the first thing to tell you is that you’re not alone and, however great you think your idea is, it’s just that. An idea. And I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but ideas are worth nothing in the broadcast industry. At least at this early stage they’re worth nothing...

So, how do you make the idea worth something ? Well, you have to give it substance. That means pulling together a number of things:

  • Content
  • An Audience
  • Revenue

OK, that’s a big first step. Let’s backtrack a bit. First of all you have to decide where you can get your content from, and how much it will cost; where you can get your audience from, and how much it will cost, and what the costs of delivery are going to be. And that’s before you hire the twelfth floor offices in a glass and steel palace, oh, and pay yourself.

Finally, you need a way to monetize your audience through selling advertising and/or charging for content. The bad news here is that you’ll need a substantial audience before you can attract even your first advertiser, and in the meantime you’re paying for content, delivery and those plush offices.

So, the next logical step that occurs to you after having you big idea is to go and raise some money from somewhere, which is a totally valid approach to pushing your idea forward.

However, I ask, is there a way you can do this without selling your soul to the devil (and losing over half your idea before you’ve even started) ?

Well, I think there is. Here are some thoughts:

Look for sponsorship – sponsors like ideas and like to be aligned with new, exciting developments that rub off on their brand, give them good PR and build an ongoing dialogue with their audience. The quality and influence of an audience will be more important to a sponsor than its size

Start small – scale your ambitions to your resources and ditch the glass and steel palace for your dining room table; look for niche advertisers in your sector and sell them modest packages with open-ended audience delivery

Partner – big companies are desperate to enter this fast growing market, but are unsure of how to do it, so do a deal – but, I hate to say this, make sure you invest in a good lawyer first

Grab an audience – there’s no hard and fast rule on where you find an audience, but some of the things that I’ve seen work include opening a Facebook/Beebo/MySpace group, working the discussion forums, looking to syndicate your Player to other websites, use YouTube as a promotional medium.

Free content – there’s loads of content out there doing nothing and just waiting for an audience; do a revenue share deal with content owners, or offer them some ‘B’ shares in the venture; encourage user generated content; where you are able, link to existing content and act as an aggregator and commentator.

Free delivery – there are low cost delivery methods out there; encoders such as SUPER are free; you can use Google Video as a low cost distribution medium or a low cost delivery service such as  - this is a plug - VidZapper .

All of a sudden a simple formula comes into play: idea + execution = value. Now you can look at how you can take your idea to the next phase. You’ll be able to sit in front of an investor (or a bank manager, if there are any left by then) and speak from experience about your business, what works, what doesn’t work and what you need to do next to become one of the big boys.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, much appreciated.