We are living in the Wild West of OTT video. For companies small or large everything is on the table, and brand image is no barrier to trying something new and outlandish. Household names like Google, DISH Network, and Amazon are taking their brands where they have never been before.
The spark for this week’s podcast came from the announcement that Amazon will launch a video platform for user generated content. This brings it in to direct competition with YouTube, and has both Will and I scratching our heads. YouTube last year announced a subscription service called Red that bumps it up against companies like Netflix and Amazon. Earlier this year Twitter won the right to stream Thursday night NFL games. All of these deals seem to stretching the respective brands well outside their current bounds.
I list three more brand-stretching announcements in the news. Spotify is expanding its web originals series with 12 new music related video projects. Hulu says it will take on pay TV with a subscription linear service in 2017. Netflix, known for its high quality scripted shows, is making the leap into reality TV with a Sylvester Stallone project called The Beast.
We think the most incongruous move of all was the announcement that DISH Network is getting into iPhone repair. The company’s satellite installers will come to a consumer’s house and change a battery or a cracked screen on any late model iPhone.
Will thinks these strange moves are a clear sign of instability in the world of video delivery. Everyone is looking to expand their scope and try to grab a piece of other rapidly expanding markets. I think this illustrates how solid the Internet has become as a video delivery platform. For example, a recent survey of online video providers (both existing and those planning to launch service) showed that 65% planned to include live streaming in their offer. Of all the online video distribution models live streaming is the hardest to do well.
I wonder if companies will be able to shift their brand image to accommodate such radically different business models and approaches. Will says that a few years ago Amazon had no brand permission to do video, but has been able to do that well. He wonders if the company can be successful going up against YouTube though. I’m not sure at all that Twitter will be able to translate its brand into streaming live sports. Where do people go to watch it?
Will thinks Snapchat did a good job introducing video, and Facebook has built a huge business around video. I remind Will that both Facebook and Snapchat have a place for people to come to find media, but Twitter doesn’t really have that.
Both of us agree, we a sure to see other announcements that stretch brands into new areas in the weeks and months to come.
Chapter 3: Instability in the ecosystem (5:50)
Chapter 4: Moving away from brand image (8:50)