Ellation Exec: Niche OTT Platforms Must Diversify Into Bundling Merch, Events, Games

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—The daunting economics of the video business mean that a well-distributed OTT company owned by a major media-telecom conglomerate, boasting 2 million subscribers and 50 million registered users, must diversify its revenue streams.

“You have to go beyond video,” said Eric Berman, head of partnerships and business development for Ellation, an anime-focused OTT programming service provider owned by WarnerMedia’s Otter Media division. Speaking at the OTT & Video Distribution Summit in Santa Monica, California, today, Berman explained that program brands have to be diversified into merchandise, events, videogames, or “whatever you can think of.”

Fellow panelist Richard Cusick, CEO, College Humor's Dropout, nodded in agreement. “Everything you do needs to have a merchandizing component."

The next step: These brands and their extensions have to be bundled together.

“We call it the 360 approach,” Berman added. “It means taking all those formats, bundling them, then putting one price on it.” The panel also featured Croi McNamara, senior VP of programming for Condé Nast Entertainment, who was honored earlier in the day as a "Woman to Watch" at the Wonder Women in Streaming gala here at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. She observed that YouTube channels were an effective test platform for concepts that later have become streaming channels for the publisher.

Other panelists were Griffin Gmelich, executive VP of content licensing and programming for Whistle, and Jim Bennette, general manager of North American sales for Applicaster. David Bloom moderated.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!