We are all familiar with the flood of ‘heritage’ media channels moving into on-demand and digital streaming video and audio distribution. TV channels make the most noise, then there is the tidal wave of user content, we have heard that radio, telcos and web portals of course are creating specific content for on-demand too. It is great to see that a new kid has finally jumped on this band-wagon and are attempting to become video servers.

This report from Media Post talks about what could be the ‘killer’ guest to join the party – niche magazines. Uncreatively entitled “Mags Use New Video Platforms To Become TV Channels” the item talks about several ‘passion’ mags taking the plunge.

IN A SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT, NICHE publishers are utilizing new video platforms — both broadcast and broadband — to become television producers. Primedia today unveiled plans to create a new broadcast TV channel based on its popular Motor Trend magazine. However, the new channel, Motor Trend TV, will take advantage of the new multicast broadcast spectrum that some stations will create by compressing their digital broadcast signals into multiple, lower definition channels. Primedia said it is partnering with Multicast Networks Group (MNG), a company specializing in network distribution via the new digital broadcast spectrum, and that the new channel would launch as a 24-hour network in 2007.

I think the infrastructure and readership learning around niche magazine production, especially the focused advertising that plays a major role, actually gives magazines a real advantage in this new era of rich media distribution. Of course they do need to recruit staff who understand the craft of moving visual production, but there are plenty around, believe me! The article continues to point out that a few magazines are dipping their toes in the water via YouTube and Google Video, which also makes sense – the free CD on the front of the mag always drew me in to buying the item on the shelf.

Another related development from Media Post also is the fact that eBay is teaming up with ABC to create a reality show around the all encompassing auction site. Another originally titled article “eBay Makes Bid For Reality TV, Prime-Time Show Will Air On ABC the driver that surfaces is of course advertising and brand placement. Expect to see hundreds of variants on this theme – reality shows being about reality, where the reality is more and more people spending their real lives using broadband for example 😉

In order to boost a family’s chance of making its dreams come true, producers are expected to seek product tie-ins, for which companies would donate items to be placed up for bid to help the family raise money. For example, a family seeking to revamp a Little League baseball field might benefit from items donated by Major League Baseball that could be placed up for bid.

The real advantage the mag industry have though is the existing audiences globally for niche mags. They understand their readers, they have always had a two way relationship but more importantly are able to identify audience shift pretty quickly – imagine if every mag on every shelf in the newsagents around the world had a corresponding on-demand audio/video service – now that would be something to give the TV channels a run for their money. In the distant future of course we may be buying connected digital paper magazines, where personalized, niche content is delivered directly to your always-on broadsheet – but for the moment, one revolution at a time.
Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006