Barcroft Media, a London-based documentary maker, is leveraging YouTube to help decide which of its short-form videos to develop into longer-form documentary series, according to Digiday.
Typically, Barcroft videos are between five and eight minutes long, but the company hopes to pitch its most popular videos to networks to develop longer-form series that are well suited for TV. The documentary company started taking YouTube more seriously back in 2012, when its two-minute video about a man’s pet polar bear caught the attention of Discovery, and the latter commissioned the concept that later turned into 25-minute episodes on Animal Planet.
Here’s how video content providers can leverage the produce, distribute then pitch strategy:
- Pitching to TV networks with proven demand. Barcroft’s most popular channel on YouTube is Barcroft TV, which has 2.8 million subscribers and 60 million video views, according to Tubular data cited by Digiday. This means that Barcroft can pitch to TV networks fully-loaded with impressive viewership and engagement data as opposed to going in and pitching new ideas without demonstrated demand for the content.
- Developing popular segment categories into series. When a well-received concept is identified, Barcroft is able to milk several episodes and iterate off of popular videos. Some examples of series that Barcroft is already working include “Born Different,” a nine-episode series that explores the struggles of people with rare diseases, and “Cosmetic Surgery,” stories about going through plastic surgery.
- Reducing risks associated with commissions. While Barcroft certainly makes money from ads delivered on their YouTube videos, the majority of its revenue comes from TV networks commissions. Barcroft has over 30 third-party licensing agreements with other video platforms including AOL, Amazon Prime and Roku. This has the potential to drive up the revenue generated from documentaries, especially if media partners are willing to dish out extra cash for exclusive rights.
Other video providers may follow suit. Testing out popular concepts on YouTube is a good strategy that can make pitching shows to TV networks a less arduous task. Video producers can take advantage of this idea, and also have more opportunity to monetize videos as over-the-top video and linear TV providers vie for unique and well-liked content.
Over the last few years, there’s been much talk about the “death of TV.” However, television is not dying so much as it’s evolving: extending beyond the traditional television screen and broadening to include programming from new sources accessed in new ways.
It’s strikingly evident that more consumers are shifting their media time away from live TV, while opting for services that allow them to watch what they want, when they want. Indeed, we are seeing a migration toward original digital video such as YouTube Originals, SVOD services such as Netflix, and live streaming on social platforms.
However, not all is lost for legacy media companies. Amid this rapidly shifting TV landscape, traditional media companies are making moves across a number of different fronts — trying out new distribution channels, creating new types of programming aimed at a mobile-first audience, and partnering with innovate digital media companies. In addition, cable providers have begun offering alternatives for consumers who may no longer be willing to pay for a full TV package.
Dylan Mortensen, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on the future of TV that looks at how TV viewer, subscriber, and advertising trends are shifting, and where and what audiences are watching as they turn away from traditional TV.
Here are some key points from the report:
- Increased competition from digital services like Netflix and Hulu as well as new hardware to access content are shifting consumers’ attention away from live TV programming.
- Across the board, the numbers for live TV are bad. US adults are watching traditional TV on average 18 minutes fewer per day versus two years ago, a drop of 6%. In keeping with this, cable subscriptions are down, and TV ad revenue is stagnant.
- People are consuming more media content than ever before, but how they’re doing so is changing. Half of US TV households now subscribe to SVOD services, like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, and viewing of original digital video content is on the rise.
- Legacy TV companies are recognizing these shifts and beginning to pivot their business models to keep pace with the changes. They are launching branded apps and sites to move their programming beyond the TV glass, distributing on social platforms to reach massive, young audiences, and forming partnerships with digital media brands to create new content.
- The TV ad industry is also taking a cue from digital. Programmatic TV ad buying represented just 4% (or $2.5 billion) of US TV ad budgets in 2015 but is expected to grow to 17% ($10 billion) by 2019. Meanwhile, networks are also developing branded TV content, similar to publishers’ push into sponsored content.
In full, the report:
- Outlines the shift in consumer viewing habits, specifically the younger generation.
- Explores the rise of subscription streaming services and the importance of original digital video content.
- Breaks down ways in which legacy media companies are shifting their content and advertising strategies.
- And Discusses new technology that will more effectively measure audiences across screens and platforms.