My day in DC, Effron and me…and a few words about the future.

November 14, 2007

Today Mark Effron and I took the train to DC to carry the torch of local broadcasters. I had the distinct honor of presenting the local broadcaster point of view on a panel exploring Broadband 2.0. Because the Chatham House Rule was in effect (it was an international audience), I can’t share much about the others on the panel, but they were great.

We heard from a major international telecommunications conglomerate, a major international multi-media company with several print, online and broadcast properties and a major Internet hardware manufacturer. As formal as the intent of the panel was, this one as is the case almost universally at these events, came down to one question, how do you make money?

Here are my opening remarks:

Telecommunications and Media Forum

Serving the Broadband 2.0 Consumer –

Where are We Heading and What are the Implications?

Session Four

Glimpsing the Future:

The Impact of New Players and Technologies on Business Models

Good afternoon. It is nice to be here and to be a part of such an important event. Our company, TitanTV, has been preparing for the storm which is upon us for over ten years. We recognized in the earliest days of the web that one of the key issues was going to be the ability of local broadcasters to embrace the web.

TitanTV is a media technology company located in Times Square, New York, and with a technology group located in the Silicon Prairie, Cedar Rapids, IA. Just about every local television in the United States uses at least one of our tools and nearly 1 million subscribers have joined to manage their television programming and digital video recording.

This is a crowded space. Some liken it to the Wild Wild West. Perhaps… From where I sit, it doesn’t matter if you are YouTube, Revver, Joost, Hulu, WhoKnew? or Whoever, the fact remains:

The Internet is global, but consumption of content is local.

We are all somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a laptop, Blackberry or digital television, you are somewhere when you’re using it. 

Therein lies the opportunity AND competitive advantage local media outlets have. They have the viewers. They have the advertisers.

So the question is this. How do the very content providers that have served us so well, in some cases for more than 100 years, compete in this Wild Wild West?

Think about it. Consumers control choice: who they get their content from, when, where and on which device.

Still, because we are all somewhere, from somewhere, and are most likely going somewhere, local matters. Local news, weather and sports are important to all of us. Local media outlets – newspapers, radio and television stations control local.

The solution is to take “LOCAL” to the devices and then match that content with compelling web-centric content.

Simple, right? Maybe not…

The average television station has struggled with simply getting a web-presence that makes money, that engages readers, keeps them coming back, and now they need to compete in the Wild Wild West? Not that easy or everybody would already have a compelling web- and video-centric experience at the local level. The reality is…hardly anyone does.

When we at Titan looked at this space, and how to help local media outlets, we looked at solving for the SHUNs –

Navigation – can they find the content? Consumers can’t view content if they can’t find it. I think even YouTube struggles here.

Personalization – is the content relevant? Clearly, hyper-local helps. Consumers demand a compelling, personalized web-video experience. I think even YouTube struggles here.

Monetization – can they make money? After all, business is about making money. I think even YouTube struggles here.

Retention – Will consumers come back? To build up an affinity users are demanding a fun, compelling, and interactive video experience. I think even YouTube struggles here.

To help with the SHUNs at the local level, we built a platform to address them.

Our platform is designed to get web-video portals up and running quickly – actually in a matter of hours…

The key elements of our platform are:

MediaStar On-Demand – which allows producers, including user-generated producers, to publish to the web quickly.

The TitanCast Player – seamlessly integrates directly into a branded On-Demand site.

Titan Studios – We looked long and hard at this space and thought, what would really set us apart? We decided to build a team of web-savvy Internet video pioneers and create content which could be leveraged across a network of sites.

So here is a typical newspaper website. Nice, but no reason to come back day-after-day, especially if you are looking for a compelling video experience.

Now here is the same site…Titan-ized, meaning we’ve made it video-centric. Since we’re pressed for time, I’ll show one example of leveraging video at the local level – movie reviews. In this example the newspaper has sold a pre-roll sponsorship to movie reviews.

So here is a typical television station website. Informative, but not in such a way that a viewer clamors for more and more. Now, here is a television station website which has been Titan-ized. In this example I will search for GREEN content. Green, as we all know, is hot. Advertisers want their name along side green.

For us, the best approach remains local. We’ve built a platform for traditional local media outlets to embrace the web and embrace their readers and/or viewers. The best way to monetize video is at the local level. Thank you for your time.