Bootstrapping Your Content

In the post “Is Content King?” I posited that content is in fact king, citing the ultimate “content-monetization” example of the very rich NFL and NBA broadcast licensing deals. But what about content with less demand? Surely there are diminishing returns, at least from the networks and distributors’ perspective, right? Let’s look at some smaller fish…

The NCAA of course has the pro leagues’ play book (eg: the ACC’s $1.9 billion 12 year deal), but it’s hard to get the attention of even ESPN 17 or Fox Sports South-SouthWest (I made up both of those networks) for the left-handed, red-haired women’s softmoor curling team’s pre-season games (also made up). Even so, media-savvy minds know that content is king and they will find a way to monetize it, with some even “self-broadcasting” their assets.

Oklahoma University’s DIY attitude has them recently completing a $5 million high def video production and broadcasting upgrade that lets them broadcast from any venue on campus, leveraging 60 production personnel (mostly students who need to master the gear anyway, plus some freelance pros). OU has already produced and broadcasted 60+ sporting events (baseball, softball and even track & field) on Cox Cable’s CST network in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. They’re smart to bootstrap the monetization of their content, and we know big media comes calling sooner or later.

In this case, it makes sense that the production costs are covered by the school’s investment, so ‘for-profit’ media companies can easily pick up the feed for sporting events they might otherwise qualify as not worth the investment. In OU’s model, students learn, freelancers get work, audiences see content they wouldn’t otherwise see, and the school and the media company makes money (both of which in turn employ people, keeping the economy moving). And, that’s how America is supposed to work, right?

PS. To see the ultimate in monetizing content, read “Is Content King?”


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