Let’s say you’re a content creator, a content owner, a broadcaster, or an OTT streaming service.
You’ve got some programming that’s not pulling its weight. It just … sits there. Like any stakeholder, you want to profit from your content, if you could. (You also want people to enjoy what you’ve got, a secondary concern.)
Is the cost of getting your stuff out there worth it?
Sure. Inserting ads makes it worth it. It’s the best way of monetizing content.
1. Advertise FAST
One shortcut towards monetizing content is launching a new OTT-only FAST channel.
Offering ads helps you offset the costs of delivering content. Appealingly, ads help you turn a profit.
You’ll also help your viewers, too, because they’ll pay less to watch the content they want. A FAST (free ad-supported TV) linear stream drops the watching cost to zero. Which is a nice price that customers can’t really complain about (in good conscience, at any rate*).
FAST channels, if done right, can eliminate encoding costs and target content and ads to specific groups quite easily.
If you start a FAST channel, you’d be in good company. More and more companies are buying into the solution. On October 26, 2022 Warner Bros. Discovery’s MotorTrend Group launched a FAST channel on Samsung TV Plus. Featuring over 8,000 episodes of automotive content, MotorTrend Group can advertise to an audience receptive to car-centric products.
The same day that Warner Bros. Discovery debuted its first entertainment-focused FAST channel, Hearst Media Production Group (HMPG) launched its third FAST channel ever, this one aimed at pet lovers, called Rovr Pets. With hundreds of hours of pet-themed series produced by HMPG including pun-rich shows Best Friends FurEver, Ready Set Pet, and Tails of Valor, the Rovr Pets channel (like Warner Bros. Discovery’s MotorTrend channel) can show ads relevant to their viewers. (Market research firm Euromonitor International found that in 2021 alone, Americans dished out more than $50 billion on non-medical pet products and pet food.)
With inflation biting, and a recession looming, FAST is rising higher. A KPMG survey found that 20% of streaming subscribers have already canceled an account this year due to inflation. And 37% of all streaming subscribers plan to quit one or all of their subscriptions to streaming services, if currency keeps weakening.
A VIP+ report predicts that by 2026, the domestic U.S. ad market for FAST channels will top $6 billion U.S. There’s money in FAST.
2. Get personal with ad vendors
Let’s say you’re going to monetize your archive with ads by launching either a FAST channel or a linear channel with a fee. Whichever you choose, Unified Virtual Channel lets you insert ads from a myriad of ad vendors into any OTT channel.
You can also insert teasers to boost your audience for other channels based on personalized recommendations. Maybe your viewers enjoyed season 4 of “Stranger Things.” Well then, they may also enjoy season 5, or content straight from the 80s like “Stand by Me,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” or “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Say your channel shows “The Big Bang Theory.” Then they may also be interested in “How I Met Your Mother.”
How does Unified Virtual Channel handle recommendation-based personalization? Like Unified Streaming’s own reputation, the capability builds upon the bedrock of stable, reliable software.
Two core software products from Unified Streaming run under the hood in the Unified Virtual Channel solution: Unified Origin and Unified Remix. These two products prime any live or VOD content for (optional) Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI).
This ad insertion technology allows content deliverers to micro-target (or personalize) ads, and replace ads, during the presentation of VOD and live linear content.
Such a solution is called “addressable TV,” because ads can be addressed to particular demographics.
DAI is an aspect of a technology called Server Side Ad Insertion (SSAI). By signaling SCTE 35 ad opportunity markers, and by conditioning the content to make it suitable for ad replacement, SSAI with DAI lets you unlock new revenue streams and expand your audience by offering cheaper or free ad-supported services.
(As a dynamic, or“on-the-fly” solution, SSAI shows ads in a way quite familiar to anyone used to watching broadcast television: by inserting the ad directly into the video stream manifest. Your show plays, then an ad or a series of ads runs, then it’s back to your show, in one long flow. Replacing broadcast ads with personalized ones like this is called “stitching.”)
An added benefit of this ad-airing method is that it stymies ad-blocking technologies. Spots that are paid for go through.
Why personalize? According to Salesforce.com research, 88% of U.S. marketers reported gains due to personalization. Around 40% of the adults aged 16 – 34 in the UK surveyed by Thinkbox believe television is the medium that delivers more trustworthy ads.
Unified Virtual Channel lets you do targetable ads, and avoid vendor lock-in. So you can choose any ad vendor you’d like.
3. Monetize the best quality
In an industry dead set on capitalizing on content, sometimes we overlook what makes certain streaming experiences fun and impressive: the high quality.
Viewers usually expect high quality, though, so when they get it, it’s kinda ho-hum. It’s when they don’t get a high streaming standard that people sit up and shout.
Now when we talk streaming quality, we talk codecs. Which are software elements that compress and decompress digital video.
Unified Virtual Channel lets you employ the best codecs. When you can stream optimized UHD (Ultra High Definition), 4K video, and Dolby Vision media files efficiently, you get two outcomes: you deliver high quality, and you avoid real-time processing of resource-heavy codecs.
Let’s zoom in on these specs and standards and see why they matter.
UHD (also known as Ultra HD, UHDTV, UHD, and Super Hi-Vision) can be split into two different standards: UHDTV‑1 and UHDTV‑2, which, respectively, display four and sixteen times as many pixels as current 1080p HDTV. The resolution, honestly, is pretty great.
4K video is a standard used for professional production purposes and for digital cinema. The 4 in 4K mentions horizontal pixel count: 4,096. (Four thousand’s a more memorable number, so we go with that.) If you’re interested in sharpness, 4K video’s 4,096 by 2,160 pixels just pips UHD’s 3,840 by 2,160.
Dolby Vision is a proprietary set of technologies that enable high dynamic range (HDR) video for content creation, distribution, and playback. The standard contains metadata that optimize HDR video frames and adjust for different consumer devices.
And these aren’t all the quality codecs that Unified Virtual Channel can easily accommodate and deliver, only some of them.
People will pony up for more pixels. If people really wanna see the drops of sweat on Tom Brady’s face, charge them for it!
4. Share unique content and niche pop-up channels
The catchphrase “How you doin’?” made the character Joey Tribbiani on “Friends” famous, and slipped into mainstream conversation.
With Unified Virtual Channel, you can use AI suggestion tools and algorithms to spin up a channel devoted to moments of Joey saying his catchphrase, or other key Joey scenes and moments. Or maybe you’re into fringe content featuring the actor Matthew LeBlanc that isn’t “Friends,” like “Joey,” “Episodes,” or “Man with a Plan.” That’s all possible.
A 24/7 Christmas movie channel may be an experiment you’d like to try. Want to share a 24/7 Israeli channel featuring Israeli shows like “Fauda” or “Prisoners of War,” which inspired the hit American espionage thriller “Homeland”?
With Unified Virtual Channel you can launch content experiments quickly and discover new income streams.
5. Embrace content of a certain age
In the world of content, usually the cheapest is content that already exists. Media conglomerates sit on piles of previously produced shows. New profits are gravy. If packaged well, old content can find new audiences.
Data from uNoGS suggests that, as of October 2022, Netflix can offer 17,300 titles (albeit in total, from all its international catalogs) for streaming. And that’s just Netflix.
If you estimate that most of Netflix’s content is rather recent (its originals, and, other content from, say, the last 20 years), you can imagine the sky-high number of titles out there that are not on Netflix, or on any streaming service. (For context, the oldest surviving movie dates back to 1888. No TikTok stars were in it.)
So if you have an archive, you might as well revive it. Some examples of content that benefit from the nostalgia factor include The Price Is Right: The Barker Era. Which shows episodes from Bob Barker’s thirty-five year tenure hosting the longest-running game show on American TV.
But maybe watching an old white man grasping a long, skinny microphone isn’t your bag. Then consider the Baywatch channel, which offers round-the-clock access to a remastered version of the series featuring the life-and-death situations in which severely photogenic lifeguards find themselves.
With the high recognition factor of a countless shows from a number of genres, prying profit from an archive has never been easier.
So, to sum up: want to cash in on your content? Go FAST. Condition your content for ad insertion and replacement. Aim high quality. Go unique. And don’t be afraid to look backward for inspiration.
(You can accomplish all of this, of course, and more, by launching a Unified Virtual Channel. Just find out more by visiting the solution’s page here, or get in touch directly here, or book your personal demo here.)
*With a FAST free tier, customers pay with their time, as ads interrupt content. But hey, everyone values time differently.