Disney almost got it right with streaming… almost

So close, yet so far away.

I applauded Bob Iger for taking matters into his own hands and selling his content on ITunes. Brilliant. So why confuse things by streaming what turns out to be pretty much the exact same shows ?

Now i can understand the potential logic. If someone doesnt want to pay for Lost, et al, rather thangiving them a reason to steal this show,why not let them stream it for free and we get paid with advertising. Everyone is happy right ?

Yeah. That makes sense. But you missed the golden goose opportunity.

Now what Im going to suggest is not mutually exclusive. You can do both, but you know the way the media works. The first pass gets the press and thats what people remember. For a long time.

The first Disney streams should have been their soap operas. In real time.

Now Im sure there are probably licensing excuses somewhere in the chain, but lets set those aside and look at the opportunity.

The number one media device in the office? Not a TV. Not a radio. Its the PC. If you want to reach an audience during the day, you get them at the office.

Lets take a look at how ABC Soaps are performing. According to some recent reports, ratings for daytime soaps are down 19pct year over year and the network is looking at make goods for advertisers.

So why not stream the soaps into the office so viewers who like the shows can stay attached to them and check them out in realtime , or on demand at lunch time ? Same rules as youhave set now, but rather than having to find those make goods, you give them the spots in the stream runs. Nice, verifiable media that could have increased the number of viewers for your Soaps, helped with advertisers and reduced confusion about how best to acquire ABC programming offline.

Whats more, Fred Dressler of Time Warnerhit the nail on the head. If you give your best shows away for free on the net, how in the world can you charge distributors for them ?

Instead you could have made the argument that the toughest to reach audience for Soaps is at work and the net is the best way to reach them. Affiliates arent reaching them. Cable and Satellite arent reaching them. Only the net does.

No losers, only winners.

And for those who are going to argue about theimpact on productivity in the workplace…. get back to work

30 thoughts on “Disney almost got it right with streaming… almost

  1. Companies will shut that off; although it is really a management problem, they use technological means to solve it. The poster who said “what about video to cell phones” has it right: people will watch on their phone, just like they text message their girlfriend or plain take personal calls because you know, when your pocket rings you just can’t seem to ignore it.

    Comment by runescape money -

  2. Cable over there stinks. So if he could download a show and watch it later, he’d be happy. But since he’s beloved by us, we record Daily Show and Colbert Report onto DVD-R and mail it over to him. Sure it’s a couple days late, but he isn’t paying $16 a week to watch something I’m already paying for.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  3. Some business school taradiddle about changes in TV distribution due to Tivo, YouTube, Slingbox, Google Video, etc. — http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&ID=1436 Worth a quick read.

    From the initial paragraph: [It’s open season on the television industry’s business model. In recent years, the three pillars of the industry’s profits — advertising, regional programming and syndication deals — have come under fire from a band of technology companies, including Sling Media, TiVo, Orb Networks and Apple Computer, that are rewriting the content distribution rules. As Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach notes, TV won’t necessarily be viewed via TV anymore … ]

    Comment by JohnD -

  4. It’s amazing news. I was really surprised to read it.

    Comment by Article -

  5. To me streaming media for personal home theatre use is a big industry and will get bigger. The tools and ideas here will also synergize with streaming movie content from hollywood to the local Cinemark (once Mark takes over this part of the world too ..ha ha)

    The ability to stream, collect, compose and broadcast content will open up a new world of tools. It starts in the home and eventually moves to the theatre (once this industry sees they can make money instead of shipping film canisters and protecting their old turf).

    Keep the ideas going. Disney will listen.

    Viva la Video Streaming,
    Vince G. Dallas, TX

    [Fundraiser at Sunset Grill Downtown Dallas Friday 4/28 to benefit http://www.Room2Read.com and build libraries for children, see you there folks ]

    Comment by Vince Golubic -

  6. To me streaming media for personal home theatre use is a big industry and will get bigger. The tools and ideas here will also synergize with streaming movie content from hollywood to the local Cinemark (once Mark takes over this part of the world too ..ha ha)

    The ability to stream, collect, compose and broadcast content will open up a new world of tools. It starts in the home and eventually moves to the theatre (once this industry sees they can make money instead of shipping film canisters and protecting their old turf).

    Keep the ideas going. Disney will listen.

    Viva la Video Streaming,
    Vince G. Dallas, TX

    [Fundraiser at Sunset Grill Downtown Dallas Friday 4/28 to benefit http://www.Room2Read.com and build libraries for children, see you there folks ]

    Comment by Vince Golubic -

  7. Yes, Check out Orb Networks using a phone to control your media center at home and watch any programs. SlingMedia also has some interesting abilities to get any program anywhere on another PC or a phone.

    Comment by Ldwin -

  8. Speaking of Disney and online video:

    Ex Disney CEO Eisner invests in Online TV
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=1852842

    Comment by Siqi Chen -

  9. Economist Tyler Cowen, co-author of the popular marginalrevolution.com blog, discusses ABC’s decision to make some TV content available on-line– http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2006/04/how_will_the_we.html Mark Cuban’s soap opera idea is explicitly cited.

    Comment by JohnD -

  10. Soaps are designed for women, but sometimes men get glued to it.

    Comment by free advertising -

  11. It’s amazing news. I was really surprised to read it.

    Comment by Michael Garmahis -

  12. 2 things about whether ABC should stream soap operas during the day …

    (1) As already mentioned on this thread, a lot of Internet content (e.g. fantasy sports sites) is blocked at many offices.

    (2) If you’ve ever wondered what the arbitrary basis is for all these “lost productivity” statistics that become memes around the Super Bowl and NCAA tournament each year …

    “The Super Bowl will cost employers $1,058,400,000 in lost productivity, according to Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc … This particular calculation suffers from the fundamental problem with most lost-productivity estimates: They multiply time spent on a nonwork activity — computer games; deleting spam — with hourly wages … Add up all these lost-productivity estimates, and the economy looks like one big time drain … Here’s what makes the Challenger stat stand out among its dubious brethren: It assumes that every Super Bowl viewer with a full-time job will spend 50 minutes in the work week leading up to the game wasting time with activities related to the Super Bowl, such as discussing who might win with a coworker … While you’re at it, throw in how much time you spent reading this column, and if I get enough responses, I’ll make up — that is, calculate — an estimate for lost productivity due to [this column].” (source: http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB110738995950144360.html)

    Comment by JohnD -

  13. Bandwidth is not a concern if it’s real time using other receivers in your PC or phone. (Providing that carriers do not lock you out of doing this. Many want their phones to be “open” now and folks are already hacking phones to get to other data or information from another carrier.)

    The “receivers” are coming out now for “DTV” (or something close to that) on computers or phones. There were many hybrid solutions at CTIA – a mobile phone show last week in Las Vegas.

    TV receivers installed with PCs are coming down in price, phones with broadcast are in the works and will be available nationally soon, if not already in your town. ( DVB-H or a system close to that. That is for the US. ie Crown Castle, MediaFlo, etc.)

    Office workers will easily be able to watch their favorite program live or on-demand.

    Computer manufacturers are always looking for something new to get you to buy their brand…and adding TV receivers as well as DVRs to computers is of interest. The prices are dropping so this is becoming feasible.

    So – whether it’s DVB-H – Digital Video Broadcasting to Handhelds =(mobile phones TV) – or DTV – those are broadcast models of one to many that save on bandwidth. You will be able to pick up the broadcast on your PC or mobile phone and you may not be using bandwidth from the office.

    Check out Orb Networks using a phone to control your media center at home and watch any programs. SlingMedia also has some interesting abilities to get any program anywhere on another PC or a phone.

    There are many hybrid disruptive devices like Orb and SlingMedia and the next generation about to manufacture and launch.

    If the office does permit you to watch your favorite soaps – maybe the office can turn on multicasting for the favorite shows๐Ÿ™‚

    Let’s not forget Video Ipods. What do you think will be the next thing that’s added to iPods and other portable media players. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I read that mp3 players are outselling CD players, so “video” mp3 and ipod like devices might be more convenient than the PC at times. Creative and IRiver have some nice portable media devices out.

    Looking at this form a business perspective…

    I wonder how many more people would watch soap operas at the office and would that be of value to the networks. And if it’s of value, does Nielsen segment this out yet so the networks could sell the advertising.

    They are launching a new system of measurement for interactive – but I don’t have the details as they have not released all the information.

    Weren’t we talking about all this 10 years ago? This is all deja vu…but I’m delighted people are taking these conversations seriously.

    Cheers,

    peg

    Comment by Peggy Miles -

  14. here’s an idea. An employer figures out how much money he’ll lose when his employees are watching Soap Operas during their lunch breaks (or sneaking views at their desk). And then for a fraction of that money, buy your employee a DVD recorder and a spindle of DVD-Rs. And teach them how to set the timer. Then they can watch the original broadcast on a normal size TV at home when they aren’t on your clock.

    I find nothing dumber than people who spend money to buy a show on iTunes – since it’s just a way of saying, “I have too much money and I can’t read my VCR instructions.” Sure there are exceptions. My cousin is in Iraq at this moment. Cable over there stinks. So if he could download a show and watch it later, he’d be happy. But since he’s beloved by us, we record Daily Show and Colbert Report onto DVD-R and mail it over to him. Sure it’s a couple days late, but he isn’t paying $16 a week to watch something I’m already paying for.

    Maybe if I had a billion bucks burning a hole in my pocket, paying $2 for a 2 inch version of Lost would be a bargain.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  15. “A dying show is a dying show” – yes, but soaps are losing viewership not because people dislike them, but because their original core audience, women who were homemakers or home most of the day, now work during those hours. I bet if they started a separate cable channel to rebroadcast those episodes at night, that channel would be watched.

    People are right about wired bandwidth – companies will shut that off; although it is really a management problem, they use technological means to solve it. The poster who said “what about video to cell phones” has it right: people will watch on their phone, just like they text message their girlfriend or plain take personal calls because you know, when your pocket rings you just can’t seem to ignore it.

    Comment by Tim -

  16. Mark, Nice to see you in Las Vegas! The Luxury Channel

    Comment by David -

  17. At some point streaming quality video to the cell phone will become a reality and then watch out. How is an employer going to stop an employee from using their cell phone to catch their fav soap or see what’s going on in the game? You already see it at work w/cell phone video games, the wireless web, and text messaging. Once quality video becomes a reality you won’t need to worry about eating up their bandwith.

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, isn’t it illegal to block cell phone signals? So there’s no way an employer could really control it other than with a policy prohibiting it, which only goes so far.

    Comment by SportsLizard -

  18. The company who can profit the most is the company that can figure out a way to stream video that will not show up on a company bandwith report. I have no idea what it would take to do that but there will probably be someone that can develop that sooner or later. I know about 5 different people that have received company wide emails that say not to stream video.

    Comment by Joe -

  19. Interesting, so only WOMEN were tied to the soaps on TV? Nowadays people, both men and women, seem have more interest in being involved, not just seeing what others doing on the TV. That’s the advantages of the internet, just as I can show my opinion here.

    Comment by kigeon -

  20. You are really glossing over the objections the affliates would have. Remember trying to get Networks on DirecTV?

    Comment by Bill -

  21. What I find interesting is that the Market share for soaps has dropped 19%. What it says to me is these women are migrating already to the net and finding different entertainment. VOD maybe would get some of that share back.

    Comment by Eric -

  22. Company would ban the site hosting these feeds fast. Also a Dying show is a dying show! rather you put it on the net or not, if it drops 19% year after year on real T.V. why would it not drop proportional on the net? – the audience of people who work – and probably have been working (and subsequentially) missing soaps for that long- .. means they are no longer in that market! The market for soaps is small- the market for soaps on the net might be even smaller, after the new-ness fell off it would crumble into one of a BILLION sites.. –

    Thanks for reading, Richard B

    Comment by Richard Bowles -

  23. “Instead you could have made the argument that the toughest to reach audience for Soaps is at work and the net is the best way to reach them. Affiliates arent reaching them. Cable and Satellite arent reaching them. Only the net does.”

    Haha… Yep, the net does allow businesses to advertise to the hardest to reach demographics – like people who don’t normally watch tv… business owners, etc… (and the people “busy” at work)

    Comment by Share Trading -

  24. Great idea, but are the conseqeuences to employers worth it?

    Comment by Brandon Campbell -

  25. Mark,

    Loss of production due to surfing on the internet is already a problem. No company would allow this.

    Comment by Jordan Grimes -

  26. Setting aside the problem of people watching during their work hours what effect would the bandwidth consumption have on the company network? If I have 350 employees in my building and even 15 of them are streaming shows at ~20KB/s thats two T1 lines work of constant data traffic thats fighting with my critical network communications. Depending on how critical access to external servers is to the business this traffic is unacceptable.

    Comment by Andrew -

  27. Hey Mark,

    As a business owner, do you want your employees to watch soap operas during lunch time. It’ll be innocent enough at first, people will watch soaps, take a few bites of food. Then it’ll morph into, oh I didn’t eat while watching my soaps so I’ll take 20 minutes more. Also, lunch time is when many employees get to know each other outside a business environment and bond. With free streaming content, employees will either barracude themselves in their offices or cubes and zone everyone out. Maybe, a bunch will congregate in one office, make a lot of noise and irritate their co-workers who actually care about the job. Free content is great, but at what expense of productivity and community?

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin -

  28. Hey Mark,

    As a business owner, do you want your employees to watch soap operas during lunch time. It’ll be innocent enough at first, people will watch soaps, take a few bites of food. Then it’ll morph into, oh I didn’t eat while watching my soaps so I’ll take 20 minutes more. Also, lunch time is when many employees get to know each other outside a business environment and bond. With free streaming content, employees will either barracude themselves in their offices or cubes and zone everyone out. Maybe, a bunch will congregate in one office, make a lot of noise and irritate their co-workers who actually care about the job. Free content is great, but at what expense of productivity and community?

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin -

  29. So allow people to view soap operas during the day real time over the internet? That would be like trying to make money creating a way to hear broadcasts of NCAA basketball games over the internet. It’ll never work๐Ÿ˜‰

    Comment by Hunter -

  30. Brilliant

    Comment by Mike C -

Comments are closed.