Some years ago an acquaintance of ours made a bold claim; that providers of TV and video content would soon be making original content of their own. Gone would be the days of charging customers for their streaming content alone, he said–this was take-over-the-world-one-screen-at-a-time type stuff. And despite the eye rolls and wagging heads of some in the business, our instincts at the time told us that he was right.
Our friend was talking specifically about Netflix, and it didn’t take long before time proved him right. But there was also Amazon and Hulu–heck, even specialty channels like History embarked on their own original content (Vikings). But what no one predicted was the speed at which these changes would take place, or how it would change the way people are doing business everywhere.
CASE EXAMPLE: AMAZON VIDEO DIRECT
Hard to believe that the global force known as Amazon began as a humble online bookseller. Today Amazon Studios is producing some of the best original content around, and, as one article puts it anyways, “has ratcheted up its attack on online video platforms.” With their new service, Amazon Video Direct, not only can you upload video content to Amazon Prime Video, you get paid for doing so.
It works like this. Content creators who upload to the site receive revenues from rentals, sales or hours of content streamed, and even share in the ad revenue. To outside forces, it looks like this will attract more than industry pro’s looking to make some income; it also creates a platform (and levels the playing field) for those who may be short on cash but big on ideas. With companies like Condé Nast and even Mattel leading the charge, video content becomes a way to draw visitors. And you know what’s next if those visitors become fans; they browse your products and services as a result.
ORIGINAL CONTENT AS A MARKETING TOOL
It’s a brilliant but simple strategy. By virtue of the fact that original video content is just that– (read: unique to you)–it becomes a branding and marketing tool of every business willing to put in the resources and elbow grease. As a result, increased engagement almost always leads to increased sales.
We already know that nowadays consumers are hungry to engage in a way they never have before with businesses. Original content doesn’t mean you need to run out and create the latest binge-worthy series; it just has to speak to your audience in a unique way. Whether it’s a series of DIY videos or content showing people using your product or service in a unique way, original content can take shape and form in many ways.
BUT I’M NOT AN ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATOR?
One thing and one thing only drives us to engage with content: we need to care. Some of the biggest movies with budgets in the hundreds of millions flopped because the studio forgot that no matter how many amazing digital effects the film has, if we don’t connect emotionally, we just won’t care.
Same goes for any original content.
One of the more interesting examples of a business owner who has created her own original content to entertain and engage is a Vancouver local named Charllotte Kwon. Owner of a store and collective called Maiwa Handprints Ltd., Kwon works with village craftspeople in Asia to produce items ranging from clothing to bedding and jewelry. With an emphasis on sustainable business practices, Kwon has made a series of documentaries, the latest being In Search of Lost Colour which explores natural methods of dye techniques.
WHAT IT TAKES
While the amount of original video content may be increasing, the cost of making that content is decreasing and becoming available to a much wider customer base. A good idea can be put into action reasonably easily, and the investment you make now can pay off later in unimaginable ways. Original content need not be long, or complicated–in fact short-form content is increasing at warp speed–but it does need to be honest. So think about the kind of story you want to tell, and if you don’t have the resources to make it come to fruition, don’t be shy to talk to someone who does.
If you’re interested in bouncing around some ideas, we would love to hear from you.