Content Providers Establish Niches to Reach Consumers

When it comes to content, startups all want to offer what their competitors lack. But the big question that looms over them all is, "What do consumers want?" Some recent news stories provide great examples of diversity in the market and a look into a possible answer for that question.

The most outstanding reference this week is the example of Xbox One, the platform most people seek for gaming. Microsoft, however, has recently begun working with Mohu and Hauppauge to stream over-the-air content on the Xbox through peripheral devices. This gives viewers access to live sporting events and primetime shows on broadcast television -- a large jump in content with only one set of partnerships.

What we get from the Wall Street Journal, in contrast, shows us that streaming media is not lost on high-profile news reports. Even though the WSJ sits primarily behind a paywall, it has a team of 40 full-time employees who work to produce up to 40 videos every day for access outside that paywall. The videos only run a few minutes in length, and the head of the WSJ video distribution team, Andy Regal, admits, "You can't conduct Wall Street Journal journalism in 15 to 20 seconds." Yet there is an advantage of exposing viewers to the treasure that sits behind the paywall. Long-form stories may not find development in videos, but their teaser trailers of sorts can help bring viewers into a paid subscription.

Finally, take a look at the ambition of Facebook which wants to begin producing its own content. Its Anthology project will join the social media giant with "Facebook Marketing Partners" such as Vox Media, Funny or Die, and The Onion. Partners will have their content play on the Facebook site in return for a share of revenue. Fictional news, humorous shorts, and global news could initially reach consumers. The growth potential could extend it far beyond just those categories.

What do consumers want? A little bit of everything. We can also find out how providers will get them that content. It won't come from a single, monolithic provider. When you want local content, you can go to Xbox. For news, you make it to Wall Street Journal website. For a little bit of humor, step on over to Facebook.

No single destination will have everything for everyone. Instead, many niche providers will remain relevant because they can offer a quality service to a specific genre. We could be entering a time -- if it isn't already here -- when there is truly something for everyone, yet without the bloat of hundred-channel cable packages. That is something to look forward to.

Header image courtesy of hi-tech via Wikimedia Commons.

Inline images courtesy of Tarek Guez-Guez, Dow Jones, and RomanLier via Wikimedia commons here, here, and here.