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11 Steps to Building a Successful Global Content Business Utilizing Streaming
While every organization is different, these guiding principles can help prepare for potential growth and scaling of a content business.
Tues. May 2, by Tejpaul Bhatia

Reporting is the final piece of the workflow. Getting your reporting right is extremely important to the success of your business. For starters, you need to know who is watching what. You will need to provide reports to advertisers and licensees. There are best-of-breed reporting solutions available, but you may also consider building your own reporting tools. However, be aware that in-house reporting tools may not be accepted as auditable reports for your partners.

The key thing to remember about these infrastructure components is that they are part of a workflow. You can choose any technology or manual solution for each component. Creating a workflow allows you to easily upgrade or switch out a part of the process without damaging the system. Most companies started with an encoding infrastructure and have evolved into using a workflow. Some companies still have manual parts of their workflow while others have adopted complex digital solutions, including putting all content on spinning disc.

Step 7: Build Product
In the world of broadband and streaming, product development cycles are fast and products become obsolete quickly. What you need to do for this step is create a product that is true to your original vision and meets your users’ needs.

When designing a product for online delivery, try to stick to conventions that will make for an easier user experience. For example, stick the close button in the top right corner. If you have play/pause/stop/rewind/fast-forward functionality buttons, use standard symbols and button orders. Besides the conventions and common UI practices, you should to push the envelope when it comes to design. A brief look at current broadband video products will quickly show you that programmers and brands alike are constantly upping the stakes. Users have come to expect a straightforward user interface with easy navigation and a few wow factors. Bringing in an outside set of eyeballs is always a good idea if you have the budget for it. If you do bring in a third party, set parameters and business rules for them and help them be creative.

If you are the product manager, make sure you are the only chef in the kitchen when it comes to decision-making. If you are a senior executive and plan on hiring a development manager, make sure you give them the freedom and resources to lead and make effective decisions.

Focus on immediate features and needs, but try to anticipate future phases and platforms when choosing a design. Reporting is extremely important when it comes to user interface as well. While streaming reports will tell you what is being watched, interface reports will help you understand behavioral traits of your audience.

Finally, hire the right team. Your people will be your most valuable asset, especially if you plan on being a significant long-term and multiplatform business.

Step 8: Sell Product
You have built a killer infrastructure and product, and the time has come to make some money. In earlier steps you discovered potential business models. Now is the time to choose one and get support for it. You need to think about your company’s existing business models and decide if deviating from those models hedges your bets or creates more risk. If your company has strong advertiser relationships, then maybe advertising is a natural business model for you. However, if your company sells subscriptions but is struggling online, maybe there is a better model for you.

There are three basic models used on the Internet today: advertising, licensing, and subscription. Advertising offers you payment for every thousand users that start a commercial or see some sort of interactive banner while watching your content. Licensing is the process of selling your content to a third party and allowing them to offer it to their customers for you. Licensing can refer to selling your content to portals, or it can refer to selling your content to a service provider or operator. Subscription business models require a layer of ecommerce and customer support that you should be aware of if choosing this model.

There is also the ability to choose a hybrid of two or three business models and try to maximize your revenue streams. Not all companies can do this. You have to have enough content to differentiate your offerings and have to be clever enough to keep each product from cannibalizing the others.

No matter which model or combination of models you choose, you have to understand who your customers are and who your consumers are. Your customers are the ones paying the bills. Your consumers are your end users. In a subscription product, your customers are your consumers. In the other models, your customers are your advertisers and licensees.

Once you have defined your customers and consumers, figure out how to make them both happy. If you can innovate ways to increase value for your customers (those paying you) and keep your consumers (your audience) satisfied and hungry for more, you have created a good business.

Step 9: Market your product
The last step to making your first product a success is getting people to use it. The key is defining your target market. You need to understand who is watching, what they are dissatisfied with in the market, what service your product provides, and what makes you better than competition. Once you have done that, get the right creative people to construct the right message.

In an ideal world, your product would market itself and a flurry of instant messages would create a free viral campaign that could not be created or replicated. You can only hope to be that lucky. Once your organization has a clear definition of the product and the message, you need to create a plan that captures your target market’s attention and gets them onto your platform with a single click. If you choose to license your product to third-party providers, help your affiliates market your product. This is especially important if your affiliate is also the gatekeeper to your product.