Searching for the business case for theme channels

For 100, 000 euros you have a theme channel on TV. Online costs 10, 000 euros and you already earn fun with a thousand simultaneous viewers. That's what those involved claimed during the Cross Media Café of Immovator. In an Irish pub in San Francisco in the morning at 7.00 am local time, the phone at the microphone to the report of the BBC of the rugby match Ireland-Wales to be heard to 500 deadly British working in Sillicon Valley.

For 100, 000 euros you have a theme channel on TV. Online costs 10, 000 euros and you already earn fun with a thousand simultaneous viewers. That's what those involved claimed during the Cross Media Café of Immovator.

In an Irish pub in San Francisco in the morning at 7.00 am local time, the phone at the microphone to the report of the BBC of the rugby match Ireland-Wales to be heard to 500 deadly British working in Sillicon Valley.

That was the moment when Iolo Jones ( photo ), himself Welshman, wondered why that match, in 2002, could not simply be seen all over the world. And with that the seed was laid for Narrowstep, a company that offers interested parties from London and New York ready-to-use webtv channels, including exploitation, on a software platform.

Recently, the Spanish PTT, Telefonica, joined forces with Narrowstep for the use of this platform and with this the name is definitely established. Even though the 150 channels that are currently running are already a respectable number.

Making money from global 'clans'

"TV was called a 'license to print money' in 1935. Competition started in 1955, which has become murderous, but TV has also become more specialized and can serve cross-border target groups. forms for small channels ", says Jones.

He compares the exploitation of thematic channels on the web with the publication of specialist journals by companies such as Reed Elsevier and VNU. "You have to dare to think in small target groups: the aggregation of winnings in channels for many small target groups, which you constantly have to offer new content."

Revenue for the Narrowstep channels averages about 85 percent of advertising, according to Jones. He made the following sum: "Ten simultaneous viewers equates to 3, 000 impressions per day." With webtv you can get much higher revenues for target groups, up to 50 dollars per thousand impressions, click-through ratios are much higher, up to 8 percent. per day with 1, 000 simultaneous viewers, the distribution costs about $ 2, 000 per day. "

Whether this is the average practice for 150 channels or a beautiful white raven theory between the plodding majority Jones could not say. He did have a nice example of a specific advertiser: "The British army recruits soldiers throughout the Common Wealth, but no regular TV channel reaches those countries, and we found them to be very effective."

'Half of turnover from merchandise'

The exploitation must always be cross-media: "On a channel like Hightv, 50 percent comes from advertising and 50 percent from merchandising, especially from DVDs, and do not forget sms and gambling on sports channels."

The broadcast of sporting events through themed channels against pay by viewers was a few times a failure: "Before you start, you have to be able to offer a constant stream of attractive programs, with one temporary event you do not. Pay per view It is difficult to get started, and you can look for sponsors that are looking for good-quality, suitable content on the web, such as Fiat and Landrover. "

Too few hard figures

The biggest bump for themed channels, Jones said, is marketing: "Once you're on the TV cable, you have a place in an electronic program guide, you do not have anything on the web, but you can make smart use of Adwords, RSS and so on. . "

You must be able to measure and know for marketing. It is precisely with IPTV that you should be able to identify viewing times as well as specific numbers, or at least from target groups, in addition to specific numbers. But yesterday, during the Cross Media Café of Immovator, there was a shortage of thematic channels.

To her surprise, the ever-pervasive presenter Monique van Dusseldorp usually received no answers to questions about numbers and business models of the speakers.

That problem also affects the Public Broadcasting. It put 17 theme channels on the market for the sweet somma of 13 million euros. Manager Digital Theme Channels Bernadette Slotboom, however, released few results from a 'baseline measurement' yesterday. She attributes this to the cable operators who have to be able to measure well on digital platforms what image is on the TV's, but do not provide data to the public broadcaster. But the Public Broadcaster did not know anything about viewing figures for the web either.

So Slotboom came with results from a survey that was held in February 2007, a weak tool when it comes to collecting facts. At the time, 6 percent of digital cable subscribers with a plus package said that they were looking digitally at Journaal 24, 5 percent for Humor TV and 4 percent for Consumer TV. When it comes to looking at sometimes, the same percentages are 43, 35 and 38 percent. For a longer time watching is mainly on History TV, Sterren.nl and Humor TV.

"Completely for one's own account" Slotboom trumps 10 percent of the numbers for digital cable TV as an internet viewer. But exactly how that is is unknown, because measurements of web video still have to be created.

The setup of a webtv channel costs around 10, 000 euros according to Jones. Jeroen Wilmes, commercial director of NOB, called an amount of 100, 000 euros for a digital TV channel in the Netherlands. But then the content, unless of course you have unlimited access to the public brochure. Although many rights are not well arranged for this, according to Slotboom, and technical processing is necessary.