The untapped potential of niche content
Now is the time to leverage niche content, which needs to be noticed by major players.
Two major driving forces in shaping today’s media landscape are direct-to-consumer (D2C) services and FAST channels. Although these technologies are still building momentum, their impact on consumer viewing habits and media company business models has been transformative. Together, they have created a new direction for the streaming market, which is now increasingly geared to catering to audiences with niche content demands. Two key factors make the difference: emerging new technologies and growing awareness of customer demographics and their varied preferences. An improved ability for media companies of any size to get exactly the right content to the right demographic will be a game-changer for the industry.
New avenues of content to explore
Audience demographics vary widely in both the content they watch and how they like to watch it. The idea of a neat one-size-fits-all solution is both unrealistic and limiting from the perspective of monetization. The best thing for media companies is to embrace the variety of audiences and the range of content that appeals to them. This will be a winning strategy across the board. Still, smaller streaming providers and niche content owners have an advantage in that they are not obliged to be all things to all people to justify a vast leading IP-driven content library or costly original productions. Smaller content owners can compete with major players by targeting underserved audience segments with content that has been overlooked or neglected.
Identifying untapped markets
Understanding audiences will be a decisive factor in building a FAST and D2C-oriented business model. Underserved demographics, such as fans of a particular genre or overlooked age groups, represent opportunities to corner an unrealized market. Audiences frequently report that they struggle to find relevant content and recommendations – which is a striking fact given the vast amount of content that is available for streaming. Spending more money on producing or acquiring content is a blunt instrument to attract new audiences. Instead, media companies need to take an upstream approach by identifying gaps in the market and catering to those rather than simply throwing more money at the problem.
Enabling the transition to demographic-led niche content
One factor that has slowed the uptake of a demographic targeting approach is the assumption that the technical challenges will be too costly and time-consuming. The good news is that end-to-end solutions that encompass the entire value chain are available to minimize these technical hurdles and make the adaptation as smooth as possible. This minimal barrier to entry has the effect of leveling the playing field between major industry players and new or smaller media companies that are looking to capitalize on the opportunities of niche content demographics. The growing appetite for FAST channels among consumers, along with the long-term growth benefits of flexible ad monetization models, makes for a much-needed win-win outcome for the industry, and the immediate mutual benefits of FAST will ease the transition to demographic-led content.
A further aspect of FAST and D2C that will ease the transition to demographic-led content is the availability of hybrid SVOD/AVOD models. Even for the biggest players in the streaming market, monolithic price models have become outdated and are being replaced by hybrid offerings of payment and advertising. Another factor that makes the transition to a new content model is the capability to target brand-safe and contextually safe advertising relevant to the viewer.
Getting ahead of a changing industry
The incentives to adapt to a niche content model – led by specific audience demographics – are increasing every day. Consumer expectations for the availability of a wide range of content have never been higher, and the ability of media companies to meet these expectations may decide the leading industry players going forward. D2C technology is still young, and despite considerable advances, its full potential still needs to be realized at the moment. Now is the time to leverage niche content, which needs to be noticed by major players.