Ten years ago, in the early-ish days of tech and media innovation, I saw a big problem – one I wanted to solve.
As I worked with big media companies to develop digital distribution and advertising innovation I became acutely – painfully – aware that media studios were sitting on a gold mine. But “sitting” was the defining word. There was no way for them to dig into that value.
To solve that problem I co-founded Slingshot Media, a tech startup focused on digital distribution and monetization of video content. Clearly, we were on to something: the company was quickly acquired by GoFish, then a rising broadcast media company vying to win as the digital “home base” for video content.
Then YouTube happened; we all know that story.
Back then, the problem created pain – expensive pain – for studios, big ones and independents, and really for any content creator. The pain came from sitting on a wealth of content, everything from movies to TV series to short-form video releases, and having it remain unseen, undiscovered and thus unmonetized despite its potential value.
For big studios, the problem could be crippling. Deep catalogs of content sat dormant on servers, waiting for someone on the other side to push “Play.”
But getting to “Play,” even 10 years back, demanded a lot.
Content had to be discovered. It had to be available in a format that worked on the viewers’ endpoint, whether web or mobile or console. It had to be wrapped in the right VOD packaging, be it subscription or on-demand or whatever else served the business model.
For smaller studios, things were even worse. Content kept getting better. But distribution got harder as traditional channels became increasingly, well, traditional, and conservative while emerging platforms (YouTube etc.) exploded with new formats but kept the business upside.
How many times did I hear about ready-to-go content that had been full of promise throughout the production process…only to end up gathering dust on a (virtual) studio shelf?
That was ten years ago.
It’s still true now. In fact, it’s gotten harder.
You would think someone would have already solved a problem like this. But as I speak with studio heads and with producers in music, entertainment, sports and even enrichment content industries, the opposite is true. The pain is worse than ever.
It’s worse because the gap has grown wider as audiences everywhere turn increasingly to innovative devices and delivery media to connect with content. And the content they connect with often comes from sources which have largely emerged in recent years – digital media innovators whose content aligns with the viewing habits and delivery technologies these audiences want.
(We’ll soon share a report on the complexities this gap creates for studios. Let us know if you’re interested; we’ll send it your way.)
This whole distribution game has changed so radically – and so fast – innovators can barely keep up, let alone the studios and creators who increasingly feel shut out of the new world.
More than ever, this is the problem I want to solve.
A few weeks back our CEO wrote about three ways creators can bring content to audiences. One was to own the channels and build a business based on populating them with content and distributing content. It’s a great solution but only available to a few.
The next was to “assemble” the stack of technology and people needed to get content out to market. We all know what that looks like: the cost, the headcount, the ever-rising compatibility and feature complexities. Not to mention the cost of managing the endpoint devices where things actually get watched.
The next was to put the content out on public platforms like YouTube and let them control the value.
We’re a fourth way, as I say when I talk to studios. We solve a problem that’s been around for a lot more than 10 years and simply doesn’t need to be a problem. The barriers content and audiences absolutely can be broken down by technology. The missing link is a tech that has studios’ and creators’ business models in mind.
The answer is in a platform designed from the ground up to activate distribution and to let studios and creators control how they monetize that content – across all of the endpoints their viewers use.
That’s the problem AerNow solves. With one “master control panel” seamlessly connecting content to viewers over any of the devices they use and putting content owners in charge of the rights, data and distribution of their content, AerNow brings a new focus to a picture that’s been fuzzy for a long time. Built with business in mind, AerNow lets studios, producers and any content creator take control of the way they bring their content to viewers, wherever they are and whatever channels they use.
It’s a big step forward and core to our mission as we help creators everywhere Channel the World.
Want to learn more? Send us a message and we’ll share a report on the how AerNow bridges the gap once it’s ready.