As bandwidth availability continues to increase, Internet TV (iTV or IPTV) popularity has taken off. Many sites offer on-demand-only video (such as U-Tube); however, on-demand is not Internet TV. Internet TV streams content to viewers 24 hours per day. There are tens of thousands of TV “stations” available on almost every topic you can imagine. Whether running a TV station using an in-house video server, or through a vendor (such as Live Stream or blip.tv), the process is simple: set up an account and upload a bunch of videos. With a strong marketing plan, you can reach customers in this expanding new medium.
The Multimedia Research Group forecasts the number of Internet TV subscribers will grow from 26.7 million in 2009 to 81 million in 2013. They further forecast that service revenue will increase from $6.7 billion in 2009 to $19.9 billion in 2013. 1 “The Internet is becoming consumers’ primary entertainment source,” explains Saul Berman, who leads IBM’s media and entertainment strategies business. “The TV is increasingly taking a back seat to the cell phone and personal computer,” especially among consumers ages 18 to 34. 2
While Internet TV has a bigger footprint in Europe and Asia (which lacks a strong cable-TV infrastructure) 3, it also has wide acceptance in the states. Walmart’s purchase of IPTV company Vudu in February 2010 4 has signaled that Internet-TV is here to stay.
Television viewers watch television for a variety of reasons. The traditional purpose of watching TV seems to be seeking entertainment. A Thinkbox survey showed that 68% of respondents watch television to stay informed. Thinkbox research shows product information and education are a valid use of Internet TV.
Vacation destinations are catching on:
Myrtle Beach: http://www.tripsmarter.com/myrtlebeach/multimedia/tv.htm
New Orleans: http://www.tripsmarter.com/neworleans/multimedia/tv.htm
Key West: http://www.tripsmarter.com/keywest/multimedia/tv.htm
Vacation destinations run a continual stream of information for potential vacation goers. Chambers of Commerce and tourism consortiums already have stacks of videos to encourage people to visit their areas. Creating a vacation destination TV station can be as easy as digitizing the video and uploading it.
There are many examples of companies using Internet TV:
VMWARE hosts an ELearning station on blip.tv. Customers can learn everything from how to install the product to information about various products.
CNN offers a special version of its news channel for Internet TV viewers.
Mercedes-Benz has a station that shows high quality, entertaining commercials along with information about their vehicles.
Michael Sommer, an author at IP Television Magazine, explains how to build a successful Internet TV Channel:
- Program Strategy – Develop the marketing strategy. Decide what will be shown on the channel.
- Create the Media – Produce the content and select a transmission medium. Perhaps you’ll use a vendor to host the channel or perhaps you’ll run a video server in-house.
- Encourage Viewership – This can be done through press releases, web site links, email announcements, and blog posts.
- Analyze and Build Success – Watch utilization statistics to determine what content displayed at what time has the best impact. If your station is tied to social networks, determine what content is getting the best feedback.
Internet TV can be an excellent way reach customers in new ways. It allows for an unlimited number of narrowly focused television channels. Internet TV’s growing acceptance means an increasing number of viewers will be turning to the Internet for their television, providing an opportunity for businesses to inform viewers about their products and services.
About the Author:
Kevin Gilbert is the Technology Manager at SIGMA Marketing Group. Kevin headed the data center virtualization project for four years and is a VMWare Certified Professional (VCP). Connect with Kevin on .
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