New study by Broadband Directions says broadcasters recognize both threats and opportunities, and are gradually exploring options.
Broadband Directions LLC, a market intelligence and consulting firm specializing in broadband-delivered video, today released a report analyzing how the major broadcast TV networks and local broadcast stations are responding to the rise of broadband video, a new medium with great potential to disrupt their traditional formulas for success.
Networks, the report finds, are taking a gradual approach, for now using broadband mainly as a new delivery path for their existing TV programs. Local TV stations, the report continues, recognize both opportunities and threats in the new medium, and their early responses are more diverse and experimental. With only modest exceptions, however, broadcasters have not yet pursued community-building around video clips on their sites. This arena is currently dominated by sites such as YouTube and MySpace, which have experienced explosive growth.
The report, The Broadcast TV Industry and Broadband Video: Confronting New Challenges, Embracing New Opportunities, analyzes the broadband video initiatives of all six major U.S. commercial networks and a representative sample of 50 local stations from around the country. The report is based on exclusive briefings Broadband Directions conducted with broadcast industry executives and an analysis of the online and broadband offerings from the networks and local stations.
According to Will Richmond, the report’s author, these findings provide tangible evidence that while broadband video is extremely disruptive to traditional media industry success formulas, broadcast networks are taking a gradual approach to exploiting broadband’s potential. Today this approach focuses on leveraging existing programming assets. While the advantage of doing so is to minimize the networks’ incremental costs, it leaves them vulnerable to more aggressive market entrants capitalizing on emerging consumer behaviors and new technologies.
“This new report demonstrates that since the fall of 2005, broadcast networks have focused mainly on delivering paid TV program downloads, primarily through Apple’s iTunes store, and more recently on streaming, ad-supported episodes from their web sites and/or their affiliates.” said Richmond, president and founder of Broadband Directions.
Richmond added, “We believe that pursuing ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“clip culture’ initiatives within their own sites, in addition to partnerships with third-party sites, is the single largest revenue-generating and promotional broadband video activity available to the networks today. Though there is little evidence of investment in this area to date, we are seeing signs that this is beginning to change.”
The report also examines the broadband video initiatives of 50 local stations around the United States. Of the 50 local station web sites analyzed, 40, or 80%, now provide broadband video. Yet these initiatives vary widely. The reports finds that local stations are currently experimenting with at least eight different broadband video approaches. “Local stations have much to gain from broadband’s new opportunities, and also much to be concerned with given broadband’s disruptive potential,” Richmond said. He added, “Our analysis shows that most local stations recognize this and are selectively moving forward to determine how to succeed in the broadband era.”
In addition, on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. ET, Will Richmond will review key findings of the report in a free webcast sponsored by WorldNow. Registration for this event is available at www.broadbanddirections.com.