Never ever have we seen a greater number of TV channels and TV content available for distribution than in our current times. There are thousands of TV channels to choose from and there is literally content for every bit of interest. The Golden Era of TV seems to be the proverbal Land of Milk and Honey when it comes to variety and abundance of content choices.
This overbearing supply of content makes it nevertheless necessary to choose. To choose which content is right for which platform and which audience. To bring the right content in front of the right audience, so that everyone is satisfied, is the art of curation. Curation will become one of the most critical elements of any TV strategy in regard to TV distribution platforms and TV channel – and in a wider context and digital thematic service. Those services that master the art of curation will likely attract more customers and can monetize content in various ways. Curated content will help them to build loyal clients and to establish their brand in their relevant market segment. Content again is King and can be used as the main tool to deepen client relationship.
Why we need to curate TV content?
The diversity of available content and at the same time the proliferation of distribution mechanism and devices created a more and more complex industry environment. It is impossible these days to have a complete overview of the content universe and at the same time master all distribution channels. One will need to specialize to be really on top of things. Some will focus on the way content is being distributed and which audiences it should address in which mechanism. Others will focus on scouting the content word, identifying proper assets and bringing them to the right distribution platform. The diversity creates abundance but requires people who can see the individual plants in the jungle – and who can also see how this plant is pleasing certain audiences.
In this new distribution and content environment the audience has grown to be more selective. Knowing that there is a offer for every taste, they demand that their individual need is being met. We deal with much more eclectic, individualized and diverse viewers who might still like some mass product, but also want their tailored services and individual benefit.
Technology enables us to distribute and watch TV content anywhere and when we like it. The same is true for the production site. Everyone can be a producer nowadays. This all contributes to the vast amount of content that is available and can be made available. There seems no end to what people consume; and as more they consume the more selective and distinguished they become in their taste.
What curation means to the industry?
This is now a key opportunity for each TV service, platform and TV channel. One can add value to its product by being the most trusted curator of TV content for the given target audience and subscribers. This will be a key USP for cable, IPTV, OTT etc services and Tv channels alike over the years to come. Whoever has the best content for a selected audience or subscriber group, will be the main player in that segment and hence is well positioned to monetize this position.
Curated TV content will change the TV industry in the same way that is did it with the music business. When everyone thought music cannot be monetized any longer in a digital world, new services emerged. MTV did it on TV by curating music clips; and Spotify does it more dramatically in they way audio is now delivered. We will soon witness the “spotifying” of TV; OTT Tv service have already changed the audience-content relationship and new TV services such as MolotovTV are the next natural development.
While we see fragmentation all about and everywhere, the curation of TV content is just the contrary: bringing content again together in a meaningful, sensible and attractive format. This format is defined by the audience: we curate the content along the needs of a special market segment that our TV service wants to address; be it a niche OTT TV service or a thematic TV channel. The curator is the programme director who completes the puzzle on behalf of his audience. The curator is the trusted manager of the preferred content type, of scouting relevant sources and bringing it all into context. Like a Chef who masters the creation of a well balanced, nourishing and enchanting set of meals, the Curator is becoming the artful, experienced master of content selection and presentation.
How content can be curated?
There is a multitude of ways that a curator can select and combine content for the relevant audience. Naturally, it is all driven by the type of market segment that one plans to address. There are however a few generic ideas along which content can be curated:
- Thematic and niche: this is the most useful and prominent method of content curation. Content can be grouped around a certain topic. Sports are the most well-known themes, but also other themes such as science, religion, current affairs, hobbies and interests etc are relevant curation scenarios. It is also more common these days to address more niche topics and market segments.
- Ethnic segments: This is a strong trend since recently. The technology makes distribution of content around the world a more easy undertaking. Smaller ethnic groups in a given market can now be addressed and relevant content delivered to them.
- Geography/ Demography: naturally, the classic segmentation along geographic and demographic lines is a relevant curation theme. Content that is available to a certain locale only can be aggregated; or content for a certain age group, demography etc.
- Seasonal: the flexibility of systems and services allows for quicker reaction to any seasonal or current affair topics. Not only can holiday seasons being addressed but also can sports events being covered, anniversaries celebrated in all depth, political or common interest issues being highlighted.
While this list is not complete it serves as a rough guideline on what works in curation. The ways to cut the market into segment is endless and is only limited in the end by the size of the target audience and available content for that segment and how this all plays out commercially.
What is required for good content curation?
Let me stress that good curation is an art: and that requires skill, experience, knowledge and talent. This is not something done by a computer (albeit artificial intelligence will play a role in good curation). You need humans for that. It will require platforms and channels to invest on good talent, in hiring and nurturing curators. Curators are none less than the product managers – more though: product owners. They should feel responsible for the content segment that they manage, they should breath, live and love that content. Such people are available and can be developed. It is important for any TV service to recognize this and make it a priority to have such talent in their team.
Furthermore, data becomes a valuable asset: the service that has the best and richest data about the relevant market/ target segment has already made a major step in winning this segment. Data helps to understand what the audience wants, needs, looks for and how they react to the content on offer. Hence, such services must invest in proper data collection, warehousing and mining. Here is where artificial intelligence can kick in and take over part of the job.
It is also important to have data on the content itself. What is available out there and how can I get it? The jungle is diverse and needs to be sorted, categorized and identified etc. This is an opportunity for new curation services, too, and for curators who can help like guides the relevant services to understand the content environment, and who help to select the best products for the service.
The abundance of content is a huge opportunity for TV services of all kinds. It will need good guides, gardeners and chefs to make the best produce available to the consumer. But it also ensures that we have rich tables and many diverse meals to cherish.
If you need help with content curation for your TV service, do contact us. We are experts in scouting, identifying and sourcing TV Channels and content for TV platforms and channels.