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Monetizing Content’s Microwave Generation

It really is a technical marvel. In mere seconds, electromagnetic radiation zaps all the moisture out of last night’s leftovers, making what was the remnants of a memorable dining experience at least somewhat edible. Beyond my only means of what some would call cooking, the microwave has become a microcosm for how we as citizens of the Internet approach the world – in short bursts of time.

Video in its long form — movie content, serialized television dramas and half-hour network comedies — have become the bedrock of attracting the digital consumer who wants to catch up on their favorite entertainment on any number of devices, and often, when away from home.

Within the video market, the revolutionary opportunity is to find an innovative way to monetize short-form video content. Ask any 18-year-old – they don’t watch serialized TV, they watch short-form video on YouTube or Vimeo created by personalities to which they subscribe. The ability to partner and/or bring this content into a digital service provider (DSP) ecosystem, along with packaging this short-form content with higher margin offerings, may be the next big shift in content consumption.

Just like the amenities provided by digital service providers has evolved (HD, DVR, TV Everywhere), so too has what the consumer views as “television.”  Gone are the days of warming ourselves by the glow of the living room TV — today’s digital content consumer is just as likely to be sitting in that same living room bingeing their favorite series, or scrolling through their Vine feed watching original content from creators they determine.

Should digital service providers see the popularity of short-form content as a threat? Debatable. Should those same DSPs see this collection of long and short-form video content and avid consumption as an opportunity? Absolutely. The tales of the demise of the cord (cord-cutting) have been greatly exaggerated. Consumers still  and, if done properly, will always look to their digital service provider based on the trust engendered within that relationship. What has changed however is what those consumers expect to find when looking. It is not television or Internet service they seek in a vacuum – it is content, regardless of delivery mechanism, or its length.

So how do digital service providers capitalize on this microwave content consumption society without drifting from their core business? Easy – give them exactly what they want, content.

Droves of digital service providers already empower an on-demand view across devices for consumers. Start there. Those pure-play, other-the-top providers like Netflix and Hulu -- they are not the enemy (contrary to popular belief); they can be a strategic path to revenue.

We see examples across geographies and service tiers of DSPs bringing these content providers (and creators in many instances) into their ecosystem, and that is the key – in their ecosystem. Consumers interact with these services regardless; why not keep them within one singular ecosystem?

This strategy provides consumers that content they crave, all the while building stickiness with the digital service provider brand. What about content from non-traditional means like YouTube, Vine, and Vimeo? Where do the pipes that provide this new source of content come from? That is right, the digital service provider.

For DSPs, the ever shrinking attention span and evolving consumption habits of this new generation of consumers are not an obstacle, they are a gift. The long-term winners of monetizing short-form video will be those who make it easy for consumers to find the content they want, make it viewable on any device, anywhere, and allow for it to be paid for in the manner the customer wants.

In short, many of the necessary tools to monetize this microwave generation reside right there in the tool belt of the DSP. Building a successful short-form strategy starts with key pieces of what already works for long-form – offer compelling content that’s easy to browse, buy and consume. 

Brice Clinton is a Senior Engineer for CSG International and an adjunct professor at Northwestern University