How To Take Advantage Of OTT Opportunities
Reimagining the television station business so that it can successfully monetize over-the-top opportunities has definitely been a convoluted marathon, at least for some broadcasters. That trial-and-error scenario was made clear during a panel session at TVNewsCheck’s TV2020 conference on the topic.
“The expectation of all these platforms is that there’s a different voice on every platform. In Facebook you have to speak in a different way than you do on Twitter or Youtube. We’re not built for those complexities at our foundation. We’re built for the one-to-many,” said Stephanie Slage, director of digital and digital strategy at the Dispatch Broadcast Group’s WBNS Columbus, Ohio.
Technology is certainly not the issue. “You have tools and platforms on the market that will deliver ads, target ads and do all the backend content distribution and data analytics,” said Dan Rayburn, a principle analyst at Frost & Sullivan. In order to be successful, “it really goes back to understanding who your audience is and how they want to interact with your content.”
The same business economic principles apply, whether a station is small or large. “It’s your content first. It’s knowing how long it should be, knowing how to package it — knowing that if you have a 30-second piece of content, you shouldn’t have a 30 second pre-roll ad,” Rayburn said.
He noted that successful stations that have migrated to OTT platforms are selling sponsorships and branding, playing on the local aspect of their content.
Finding success also means throwing away some pretty fundamental branding concepts for stations, like call letters. Guy Tasaka, managing partner of Tasaka Digital, recalled that KSAT was ready to go with KSAT TV when the station launched an OTT presence. But they decided to use the brand name San Antonio TV, which turned out to be a tremendous win for the station.
The panelists all saw a lot of potential for new voice opportunities, such as voice-activated speakers. One of the unique qualities of broadcast TV that translates well with voice devices is on-air personalities. “People want to hear the weather from a local weather person,” said Slage. “Based on the figures that we’ve seen from Amazon and Google, I think we have to be there.”
With podcasts, “you can really work the brands in properly,” said Rayburn. “You can tie in a sponsor in a much more natural way, as opposed to just an ad.”
“Everybody loves smart speakers. I think the key is what’s going on in the car. We spend so much time in the car. I think the technology will redefine how we use radio,” Tasaka said.
Added Slade: “I’m incredibly excited about vertical storytelling. In any market, there are one to two stories a year that have the legs to go deep. We have to get our newsrooms to the place where we can create the workflow so that we’re feeding that vertical story at the same time that we’re telling the two- to three-minute clips about it as the year goes on.”
Read all of TVNewsCheck’s TV2020 coverage here.