UK Super Indie Producers All3Media to Sell Shows Direct to Fans via Connected TV Apps

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Who owns the direct relationship with fans?

In the past, the gatekeepers of the living room have been broadcasters, pay TV operators and more recently telcos. But perhaps that's all about to change since CE manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sharp, Philips, Apple, Google and others have decided to kick the gates wide open with Over the Top (OTT) opportunities which push through new opportunities via SDKs and APIs that allow for open standards and third party development. 

All3Media, with technology partners and Paywizard, have created the first producer-to-fan direct VOD application, called A3M - Best of British TV - which will be launched this week in the UK and in the United States in April and it's the first UK indie to create such a platform, which will enable viewers to bypass services such as LoveFilm and Netflix as well as broadcasters. The app will unleash 230 hours of its catalogue TV shows including Skins, The Only Way Is Essex, Midsomer Murders, Derren Brown and Peep Show on internet-ready Samsung and LG televisions from its over 20 independent production houses.

"The new All3Media app will allow us to experiment with different payment models, to continue to get closer to our viewers and to experiment offering our content in a range of territories. It is estimated that there will be 500m connected TVs in the world in 2015 so now seems like a good time to experiment and learn about consumer behaviour,” said Andy Taylor, All3Media’s commercial director in a press release.

From Andrew Mcdonald at C21:

All content will be available on a pay-per-view basis, though All3 commercial director Andy Taylor said the firm planned to experiment with pricing options over time. Per-episode costs were yet to be confirmed.

Taylor said that depending on how well the apps performed, it may also look to expand in more countries and on different connected TV, mobile and games system platforms in the future.

However, he said that the development was all about “experimentation and innovation” and the firm had “no revenue target” in mind.

“If we think there’s something interesting happening, we will look at other territories and we’ll also look at other platforms like iPad and iPhone. Platforms and devices where we can develop an app and once we’ve developed for that platform, it is global, and you can go live in as many territories as you want,” said Taylor.

In the music industry direct-to-fan relationships have played a huge role in it's evolution since the enormous impact that scarcity reduction has had on recorded music caused by the Internet.

From Wikipedia:

The Direct-to-Fan model bypasses the major record label model that historically controlled radio, venue, and distribution channels, and lets the artist (or the team that supports that musician) create interest in their music directly with their fans, identify those fans, market directly to and develop relationships with those fans, sell directly to and monetize those relationships, and use those relationships to expand their fan base.

Look familiar?

The main problem with this model moving to the TV realm - is the fact that most 'Fans' have no idea who write and produce what they watch. They know who delivers it... what channel it comes on. But in TV land - brand recognition for the creatives who drive forward the vision and write the scripts are usually lost in a blaze of closing credits, while the living room gatekeepers have traditionally been the brand front for consumers.

Endemol and Freemantle are moving towards creating new formats that integrate and 'own' the second screen as a way to create more engagement directly with viewers. Perhaps we will see more production companies testing the VOD waters when it comes to offering up content direct and building new levels of brand recognition with the fans themselves.

When it comes down to who deserves to own the relationship with fans. I say those who create the entertainment certainly do - and it's been a long time in coming.

What's next? 

Will see direct relationships between production companies with brands and agencies in this new realm?


About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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