Streaming Media is a Win-Win!
By Mic Fox, VP Digital, Emmis Communications
Think about where we are today regarding streaming media. It has become virtually available everywhere in our lives in a matter of 25 years. What we call streaming media didn't necessarily exist until around 1995 on the "worldwide web" due to quality issues caused by low bandwidth and lousy latency. Real Networks, Microsoft's Windows Media Player and Macromedia Flash were a few of the de facto industry standards. They were used to stream audio and video, but they required a download a plugin. Even YouTube used the Macromedia format in their early days. Finally, came HTML 5, which created the standard way to embed audio and videos on a web page, and we were off to the races to develop content in every conceivable way.
Eventually, the likes of YouTube, Spotify, MySpace, Dailymotion, Crunchyroll, and Netflix, and many others began to offer consumers and businesses ways to distribute content. Processing speeds on computers and laptops continued to improve, allowing virtually anyone to create content. Internet speeds increased, and technology made it easier for a single person or a large organization to stream anything to anyone.
The most important aspect of streaming media, besides technology, was and still is the monetization of streaming media. It has transformed all of our businesses.
Think about it. If you are in the business of creating, distributing, and generating revenue from any "traditional" media (TV, radio, movies, or print), you have to consider what business resources you are applying to some form streaming media. Whether its advertising or subscription.
As VP of Digital for a radio broadcast company, the impact of streaming media is definitely changing the landscape of our business. Where once radio revenue primarily originated from audio commercials, now we generate YouTube and Facebook revenue from our VOD content, directly and indirectly. Subscription video companies pay sponsorship fees to stream our key events. Most importantly, our listeners (i.e., consumers) want choices in how and where they consume the content we create. Clients want to be wherever our audience is. And last, streaming technology is quickly evaporating the limitations and actual reach of the AM and FM broadcast signal.
Streaming media has also changed the creation and presentation of the content we produce. We take into consideration everything from the expense of a digital asset management platform to deciding when we plan to stream 4k video and the technical infrastructure needed. Because technology is ever-improving and changing, it requires a constant review of resources. As our business evolves, the evaluation of company investment vs. margins on revenue is critical depending on your industry.
I'll admit, I've always been a champion of disruption. The technological advances of streaming media have leveled the playing field from individuals to large industries. Investing in strategies and personal is critical to the success of creating new business opportunities and revenue verticals. One of the fascinating possibilities with streaming technology is the use and collection of data. The penpoint accuracy of knowing when, where, and how long an audience is listening or watching media offers opportunities to create more engaging content. The evolution of data segmentation, along with A.I. technology, will assist in understanding your audience or consumer even better. It's clear why Amazon, Apple, and others are investing heavily in technology and all forms of streaming media.
It's a win-win!