Video Streaming Is Becoming a Big Deal

Even though I don’t watch a lot of long-form videos online, I’ve been following the development of this medium as it has always had the potential to disrupt (and potentially replace) broadcast television as we know it.

Way back in the 1990s, Microsoft had a studio to produce new online video programming, but they were way too early. Today, though, we are beginning to see this as a reality. Netflix users, in prime time, use a third of all broadband capability in the USA, and the rate growth is stunning. According to an article in Variety:

Netflix said it streamed more than 4 billion hours of video globally in the first quarter of 2013, compared with 1 billion per month last June. The company has packed on customers, adding about 2 million U.S. streaming subs to stand at 29.17 million domestically — making it bigger than HBO in that regard.

And just a few weeks ago YouTube announced fee-based channels for original content. If this sounds like the cable-tv model, it is indeed exactly that. This article describes the plan:

YouTube is launching paid channels in a pilot program starting today. A small number of shows, including Sesame Street and UFC, will begin offering channels that can only be accessed after paying an apparently variable subscription fee, which starts at $0.99 per month.

And, here’s a list of YouTube’s first 54 channels. If they offer this many channels as a pilot program, can you imagine how it will grow in a few years?

Why should this matter to you? Well, imagine a few years from now, when a flat screen on your wall streams Netflix or Youtube programming directly from the Internet, and you’ve long since cancelled your cable service. And the user interface is better – the remote is your smartphone and you don’t need to search for a channel number you simply speak to the phone and tell it what you want to watch.

And what if what you could watch was a performance by your local symphony orchestra, or theatre, or dance company, or even a local high school musical? And what if your box office ticketing system could sell tickets for these online broadcasts? (Yes, there are rights issues to be worked out, but trust me if there’s money to be made, these will get worked out.)

As you plan for the next five years building your email list and social media audience, you might want to consider that the potential for a new type of revenue stream coming from your box office, both live events in person, and live events online.

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