Major League Baseball has just unrolled an enhanced download service at its web site (www.mlb.com) which allows fans to enjoy their favorite teams in a variety of formats via Windows Media. With a current price range of between 99 cents and $3.95 each, fans can enjoy live coverage of events, as well as full playback of recent games, audio and video highlight clips, and a growing archive of "classic" material not seen on the web site before...
This brief snippet gives insight into the web site's marketing of their enhanced content offerings: "Own the Moment – Minivision clips are downloadable highlight reels - choose your favorites from among strikeouts, defensive gems, home run blasts and more - all just 99¢ each! Build your own collection of your favorite baseball moments, only from MLB.com."
The effective and creative use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) in this application would eliminate the bulk of file trading problems, while enhancing MLBs revenue stream – something that is guaranteed as a "collector culture" develops among the site's audience, which is made up of exactly the kind of demographic that this offer will appeal to.
Now consider this offer in more detail; a targeted audience at a content driven – but free to access – web site is encouraged to purchase the exact content that they desire, in the exact quantity and format that they require: Wanna see the whole game? Here ya go. Maybe just the winning home run? Got that too. How about an MP3 of the big game to listen to on the commute to work tomorrow? Click here to download it now! By the way, I've got pics, wallpaper, screen savers, ring-tones and a ton of memorabilia and collectibles for sale, too!
MLB could have included all of that content in the members area of a pay site, and while they certainly would have attracted some members, they likely would not have realized a fraction of the revenue that this ala carte pricing structure should generate for them.
What's baseball have to do with porn? Besides the fact that they're both "American Pastimes" – nothing! But what it does have to do with is the marketing of a large, established and diverse content base to a narrowly targeted audience composed of many sub-niches and ever smaller micro-niches. And that's the name of our game, too – so for those who don't yet realize it, Major League Baseball is actually among your "competitors" – as they too are vying for the consumer's discretionary "entertainment" dollar.
The MLB example is also an effective illustration of content's "product lifecycle" and how consumer's changing demands (including evolving payment preferences) are affecting not only the production, but post production, distribution and the enjoyment of multimedia content today. For example, while a video shoot is still a video shoot, it is now also an opportunity for screen grabs and a web cam feed, and audio out-takes, then ring tones from that, action highlights, photos for a calendar, and later on a nice place in a compilation DVD, too! The list goes on and on... Shoot once, re-purpose continually – this is the trend, and there's no looking back now.
A final point from the MLB example is that if your business involves selling content to consumers, then you had better understand what other offers those same consumers are also seeing, because there's a certain evolving level of expectation consumers are being trained to; and the quality of that content is the basis of their expectation. Understanding how demand drives content ("Boy, I wish I could listen to the game this afternoon!"), just as content drives demand ("Wow, look at all these old highlights of my favorite team in action! I'm gonna download 'em all!") will enable a mind set that allows you to monetize your content investment in new and unique ways.
Look outside of "porn" to get ideas for your business. Stay creative! ~ Stephen