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What Kinds of Content Are Users Willing to Pay For?

Recent advances in technology have shaken the video market, and it’s not yet clear how companies will monetise video content moving forward. The question on the lips of many video executive is, “what kinds of content are users willing to pay for”?


The Video Industry Is Changing

The video industry has changed, dramatically. Ten years ago YouTube made viewing short video clips online the norm. But now online long-form content providers are also seeing success.

Indeed, the success of exclusively online long-form video platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu, has led many traditional broadcasters to develop their own online platforms.

But, since many online VOD platforms offer content either for free or at a relatively low price, it’s not clear how providers will make their business models profitable. In order to do so, companies first have to find to find out which types of content consumers are willing to pay for.

What the Research Says

A market research company working on behalf of Digitalsmiths recently surveyed 3,144 consumers in the US and Canada in order to gather data for its Q1 2015 Video Trends Report. Participants were asked which cable channels they would pay to keep if they had the option to pick and choose.

Favorite TV channels for VOD subscribers

The results are fairly surprising. ESPN, for example, which is often cited as one of the reasons many consumers may not be willing to cut the cord, would only be kept by 36.7 percent of participants.

ABC came out on top, with 66.7 percent of consumers stating they would pay to keep the “Alphabet Network”.

However, after ABC, there were some more surprises, with the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the National Geographic Channel making the top ten.

So, whereas pay-per-view live sports events have long been hailed as the key to monetising video content, it now looks like viewers are much more interested in high-quality documentaries and factual content.

The upshot of this is a fresh demand for revenue from advertising and subscriptions, since factual content does not lend itself well to the pay-per-view model.

Other keepers were news channels and traditionally popular networks (such as NBC and HBO), which is not surprising.

However, traditional news has long been under threat from the internet, and it’s unclear how much brand loyalty and familiarity are responsible for the popularity of the traditional networks. The next generation may, due to increased exposure to alternatives, be less inclined to keep both these.

So, in the wake of research, it looks like some VOD providers may have to reassess what types of content they will eventually monetise.

What channels would you choose to keep? And what types of content will prove to be the most lucrative?

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