The Growing Opportunity in the Market of Non-Broadcast Production
COW Library : Business & Career Building : Ron Lindeboom : The Growing Opportunity in the Market of Non-Broadcast Production
Tim Wilson called me a few days ago and remarked that he had noticed something about the companies in this issue that work in non-broadcast video: They have more control of the creative process and enjoy creative liberties that those working in broadcast almost never have. When he said that, I thought about the people I know that work in non-broadcast that also enjoy both monies and opportunities that exceed those in broadcasting. Tim points this out in his column on the preceding page. But I'd like to explore a variation on the theme; growing opportunities - especially in a market where many longtime production and craftspeople are struggling to stay afloat financially as they follow the old "tried and true" ways of doing things.
Today, you can hardly go anywhere without seeing video communications. They are on scoreboards, on blimps and buses, on billboards, in store windows, on kiosks in shopping malls, being watched on the monitor in the SUV you're following - and no, they aren't always watching television or movies. You can learn of many other kinds of projects in this issue of the COW Magazine. But what I'd like to point out in this column, is the opportunity brought about by targeting content and zeroing-in on cultural predispositions. Tap into these predispositions and serve them well and you can carve out a place for yourself in new and profitable market niches.
In the world of non-broadcast video, opportunities sometimes arise because major networks are not set up to cater to focused narrow tastes. But in a world where Amazon's CreateSpace.com and Discmakers and others give content creators options that were unimaginable a few years ago, a savvy storyteller intelligently tied into Google suddenly becomes a viable producer/distributor - maybe not a major player but at least one that is profitable.
I've always loved the idea of "narrow-casting," ever since I first came across the idea back in the late 80s when I worked in the satellite TV industry. Back then, companies like EchoStar and General Instruments, et al, were changing the face of communications. I remember going to dinner on a couple of occasions with Charlie Ergen, founder of EchoStar, and hearing him talk about how he was one day going to launch EchoStar One and Two - KU band satellites that would change program distribution forever. They are today the backbone of Charlie's company, Dish Networks - one of the most successful companies in the worldwide satellite distribution market.
On a smaller scale, you too can change communications and you too have opportunities to change the way people perceive and receive their content and information.
It goes back to the "Power of Artistic Passion" issue of Creative COW Magazine. It is a matter of doing what you do better than anyone else - or at least believe you do better, and in that belief is power. Tie it to what you love to do. As I have said before, if you are doing what you love, driven by that idea or story that you just have to communicate, you will stand in the fire when circumstances oppose you. Charlie did. I remember some of the obstacles that were in his way but he'd talk about the future and how it would look. I knew he was an intelligent man - but he was also unstoppable. His dream gave him the power to seemingly almost hold lightning in his hands.
With the new codecs that are powering today's new generation of media-capable cell phones and portable devices, video on the net as never before (and growing fast), media capable vehicles and the proliferation of media anywhere - where is your place in this market? I hear it said across the COW often that "show me the money and then I will jump into this ?new media' marketplace." Mark Twain said of this thinking, that, "I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one." Translation? Saturated markets are hard to make an impact in.
The "show me the money" logic may sound rational but you have to have the ingredients before you get to bake the cake. Using Charlie as an example again, it took years to get others to follow him and open their wallets to do so. I imagine that there were times like all of us that he found himself second guessing himself and had to fight those doubts.
Over the years, like Charlie, we poured time and effort into building what became Creative COW - in fact 13 years in June ?08, having started doing this in June of 1995. It took seven or eight years to get it into the black. This week, we just topped the 800,000 totally unique monthly visitors marker and the vision has grown to become the undisputed leader in this market. Hopefully your idea won't take as long. But as they say, a dream is worth fighting for. Isn't it?
Back in the 80s when narrow-casting was first being talked about, few could have seen the affect that the Net would have on communications. Or the way that today's codecs, new mobile devices and other then-undreamed-of distribution channels would give us a world of media everywhere - one in which your idea can find its place. How big a place? Create something. Find out. Who knows, you could one day be the next Charlie.
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