Since 2012, more and more web players are embarking on the original production of content (series, web series, shows, etc.). Going further than being an aggregator or a distribution platform and having the objectives of producing original content to develop your brand and establish your presence motivate this trend …
Amazon launches into web series
The announcement of an order from Amazon studio in March 2013 for a pilot for a web series based on the theme of zombies, derived from the blockbuster film Zombieland, was a first step into this new era. Optically, this web series should be exclusive to LoveFilm and Amazon Instant subscribers. Even if after the pilot was released a few weeks ago, Amazon decided not to follow up on this project, it is easy to imagine that the company will think about investing in other original productions. In May 2012, Amazon also initiated a new form of content creation process by proposing to screenwriters (professional or not) to submit their humorous series and children’s content projects via a site specially designed to collect these files.
These initiatives may also be linked to Amazon’s desire to launch Amazon’s video service in England scheduled for March 2013 and to build up a content catalog for this service upstream. Even if in early May, Amazon, like its competitor Netflix, postponed the date of its offer of “SVAD (Video On Demand Service) in 2014 and would hesitate between England and Japan, this strategy remains valid.
Internet players take their place in the creative landscape
Netflix, the American actor with 33 million subscribers is also preparing for these new business strategies as demonstrated by his investment last year of $ 100 million, in the production of a very dark political series, by David Fincher, “House of Cards” with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. And unlike traditional broadcasters like HBO, the series was available in its entirety from the first episode on the paid platform and not in drops to try to create a television meeting (with the expectation of internet users for illegal downloading in the time of broadcast). A turning point in content delivery strategies. The company has also just signed a partnership with Dreamworks (Shrek, Madagascar), for 300 hours of exclusive animated series.
YouTube has not lagged behind in this new trend and alongside the launches of 100 channels on its US platform, the web giant invested US $ 100 million and negotiated with big Hollywood names in 2012 to produce exclusive content for its platform with total creative freedom. Take Anthony Zuiker, the creator of CSI who has collaborated to create horror series for You tube BlackBox TV with over 440,000 subscribers to the channel currently. Since the integration a few months ago of YouTube on the Google social interface, this channel also has its Google + profile (530,000).
Behind this investment, it is obvious that videos funded and produced by big Hollywood names allow Google to support its channels, increase traffic on its video platform and therefore increase its advertising revenue by offering exclusive content. By this first step, You Tube offers another way of consuming than traditional TV and enters into direct competition with the latter. YouTube intends to recoup its investment by sharing the advertising revenues that will be generated by the new channels and also offer paid access in collaboration with associated brands. As these channels have experienced good growth in the US since 2013, even if the success is a little more mixed for the 13 French channels which are struggling to find a viable economic model, the implementation of subscription systems to pay channels should develop.
For French channels, however, note that beautiful alliances like Orangina England with Studio Bagel are creating real buzz (the video ‘Mission 404: Internet must stay alive’ reached 1 million views in 1 week).
Prospects for interactive content are emerging for brands and it will be important to see the impact of these new players on the audiovisual content market.