What can the Long Tail do for the Media & Entertainment industry?

In this article, Gonzalo Acha, VSN’s Marketing Communications Manager, analyses how the new Long Tail business model, widely develop by companies such as Amazon, can be successfully applied to the Broadcast and Media & Entertainment industries to open new ways of monetizing content and reaching new audiences.

We all know Amazon. The giant e-commerce corporation has become part of our lives and keeps expanding its services and capabilities every year, offering a variety of cloud services, digital content, cultural products and even supermarket goods. It has created a new business model of its own, based on the Long Tail concept and the advances in logistics and technology, that has proven to be a huge success around the world.

What can the Broadcast and Media & Entertainment industries learn from this new business model? The answer is simple: quite a lot.

But let’s start with the basics. What is exactly the Long Tail?

The concept rose to fame in 2004 thanks to an article written for Wired Magazine by his Editor-in-Chief at the time, Chris Anderson. He wrote about how companies, such as Amazon, Apple or Yahoo!, were getting very popular thanks to developing a strategy based “on the long tail”. This, in a few words, meant that this companies were focusing on selling more quantity of less popular items. These “unique” sales of uncommon items, amounted together, turned out to be a crucial part of the global sales of the companies.

This means that it is not necessary anymore to offer only the most popular and best-selling products. Thanks to technology, e-commerce and the improvement of delivery services (both physical and digital), it is possible, basically without geographical or physical restrictions, to increase sales by supplying new niches that in the previous traditional business models were out of reach.

Internet’s immediate and global access to virtually everything has given traditionally secondary audiences access to its favourite products. Those unknown and obscure indie bands from the 80s can now be offered at the same time and same place as the latest Taylor Swift album. And it works. Everything can be offered on the Internet at a very reduced cost, and the improvement of logistics have turned the fantasy of immediate delivery into an everyday reality.

How can we apply this concept of the “Long Tail” to the Broadcast and M&E industry? No matter if we talk about a Broadcaster or about any other type of media company or corporation, the Long Tail means that media archives can be leveraged and monetized as never before thanks to the new existing technology, the irruption of second screens and smart devices and the changes in the audience’s consumption patterns.

And how do we do that? Any media company usually have thousands of hours of recorded video in either tapes in a well-stored room or, if the company is already a step ahead, in digital archive or storage (or even in the cloud!). All this audiovisual content can be segmented, tagged and classified depending on its topic. For example, a sports channel could segment all the goals scored by a certain football player of a well-known team in the 70s, edit it and put it on new platforms as YouTube, its own Webpage or its WebTV service. This content could be accessed, viewed and shared in social media from any part of the world by users looking for that particular player from their tablets, smartphones or computers.

That way, a media resource that was condemned to be archived and forgotten is given a second chance of reaching potential audiences around the world, at a very reduced costs thanks to the Internet and digital improvements in video distribution and the popularization of online video consumption. This can be done with daily produced content (for example, news, talk shows, etc.), movies, series, recorded sport events and whatever content is stored at the company’s archive, no matter its topic since on the Internet there will always be users looking for it.

Any media company implementing this strategy will need to face some initial costs, specially in order to deploy an efficient Media Asset Management (MAM) system and an optimized WebTV platform for digital video distribution, but the return of this investment usually comes in a few months after deployment. Its benefits go beyond an improved offer for potential audiences, since it also gives greater awareness to the company in search results, putting its entire library at the reach of thousands of millions of digital users, while being as easy to monetize and synchronize as a simple ad server.

At VSN, we truly believe in empowering the Long Tail for the Broadcast and Media & Entertainment industries, and we have worked intensely to make our systems the ultimate platform to monetize the media archive of any client. For more than ten years, VSNEXPLORER, VSN’s media management solution, has lead the way in the industry and it is ready to meet the needs of modern audiovisual companies and to implement the Long Tail business model, that is here to stay and whose importance will only rise in years to come.

Gonzalo Acha

Gonzalo Acha

Marketing Communications Manager

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