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Short-Form OTT Offers Big Opportunities

The rise of online sources such as YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook has created an exploding, seemingly never-ending supply of short-form content that includes a growing subset of high-quality work that can also play well on the TV screen.

It turns out that there’s a business to be had in curating the best of the premium, short-form content on the Web and packaging it into longer-form TV shows that can be distributed by more traditional video players at a profit.

Keying in on this opportunity is Toronto-based QYOU Media, a company that has specialized in curating and licensing OTT fare directly from brands or agencies (content partners include Whistle Sports and Fail Army) that can be developed into shows that are distributed by a variety of partners in the U.S. and other parts of the globe.


“The concept of short, three-to five-minute videos has clearly become the fabric of the next generation,” Curt Marvis, QYOU’s co-CEO, said, noting that the company is centered on creating longer-form programs that tie back to this “single-clip economy.”

“There’s a strong need to be able to package and deliver this content … We saw a need going forward for this massive sea of Internet video,” said Marvis, an executive who is late of Lionsgate and CinemaNow, a company that pioneered the notion of digitally-distributed premium content.

Using a proprietary filter and workflow system that scours the Web on a regular basis, QYOU puts its licensed content into a database that can be used to build curated videos and genre-focused formats that include VOD program blocks and playlists, as well as linear-style online “channels.”

Among QYOU’s recent work is TBD, a network developed in partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group that’s focused on younger audiences and is being rolled out across Sinclair’s TV markets and via the Internet at QYOU schedules and produces TBD on Sinclair’s behalf.

By weaving in premium OTT content, this new class of diginets supports a low-cost structure and a business model that’s rapidly profitable, Marvis said.

Another example is Ziggo, the Netherlands-based cable operator that is now part of Liberty Global. QYOU teams with Ziggo on a 30-minute compilation sports show that features the “best of the Web” with a European slant to it, with a host who introduces the segments. Ziggo ordered 225 30-minute episodes of Q Sports, and 180 of them are now in the can.


Noting that it’s easy to template and localize the underlying idea, QYOU has also created a version for Fox in Eastern Europe, is producing one for the Caribbean market and is exploring the launch of more for various territories around the world.

QYOU customers include Telenor, Vodafone, Lufthansa Systems, T-Mobile, LeEco, Tata Sky, and Buffalo Wild Wings. The company recently wrapped up a C$7.3 million round of funding that it will keep on hand for working capital, growth and potential M&A opportunities.