Online brand-funded content continues to prove a viable route for smart indie production companies diversifying from traditional broadcast production. Websites such as Bebo, Babelgum and MySpaceTV are now commissioning their own original online content and evolving business models to support it, from advertiser funding to revenue sharing. Meanwhile, ITV has announced a raft of 360-degree commissioning projects.
“The opportunity for producers wanting to make original content lies outside the terrestrial platforms,” says Zad Rogers, head of RDF Digital. This view is backed by online TV research specialist FutureScape. Its study found major brands were bypassing broadcasters to reach viewers direct with their own original content.
Producers can also participate in revenue shares with the host platform. At Babelgum the amount of ad revenue returned to the producer is directly proportional to how long and how often their programming is viewed on the platform.
Online TV content is also thought to be more likely to grow, despite recession, since advertising is more accountable online, with content finding audiences who are making a conscious choice to access it.
However, there is a danger that this space could quickly become overcrowded and indies would do well to explore new niches and entertainment formats that have not already been plundered, whilst keeping in mind the typical demographic of the online audience and what will work for them. Futurescape reports that early web pioneers may already be making it difficult for smaller indies to find funding, partnerships or commissions for online productions.