Several TV networks and shows are looking at digital transitions to make the most of potential subscription models and online advertising revenues.
We have seen through the success of companies like Hulu and Netflix, that people want to have this type of content available to them and in order to take advantage of this we have seen several successful and unsuccessful attempts to bridge the gap from TV to online.
When you look at how this is done in some areas it has been a significant success. The BBC and ITV in the UK have managed to transfer their dominance in the traditional television market into online for instance.
Others however have had less success, such as the WWE Network, which has lost huge chunks of its audience in recent months and is currently losing money for the company.
The big question about this is simply, with some companies seeing significant success in this area and others failing, what is the difference?
If people are paying for something, they want to be able to use it as much as possible. It will only be a very niche category who will consume one type of content and no others.
The most successful streaming service in the US and Europe is Netflix. The reason for its success comes down to have a wide net of content that you can watch. I could watch a 2.5 hour horror film or a twenty minute comedy episode in one place.
It is one of the main reasons that the WWE Network has not been a success. How many people in the world are going to spend hours every day watching wrestling and nothing else?
As well as the variety of the content available, the amount available is also vital.
4OD in the UK are the best proponents of this that I know of. Not only do they offer all of the current programmes that people want to watch, but they also have the entire back catalog of everything they have produced.
It gives people value, which is something that people need today. They do not mind spending a few minutes having to watch ad breaks throughout the videos because they know they have access to thousands of programmes that they want to watch from the vast history of Channel 4.
As a marker, it is predicted that the WWE network has between 600,000 - 700,000 subscribers across the globe. 4OD has 10 million in the UK alone, a country of 60 million. This may be because despite the WWE being well known for decades, it was only in programmes, rather than full channels.
The quality of the programming is vital.
This should more or less go without saying, but is something that loss making networks ignore.
When a company starts to lose money, the first reaction is often to cut. This is cutting budgets, headcount or production costs. When this is in relation to media and content focussed businesses, all this does is create situations where a network that simply isn’t performing well becomes a bad network.
WWE have been guilty of this, cutting the budgets for many of their most popular programmes on their network in an effort to save money. This has seen production schedules pushed back and we are likely to see a decline in production costs coincide with a decline in production value. When this happens, they are not only going to see people leave, they will see a mass exodus.