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CrowdSource for Life: Timing is Everything

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 We can boil the excitement about the recent seismic shifts in the streaming business down to one idea for Crowdsource for Life: The more you hear the words "free-with-ads," the better the prospects for our film.

So, why is that? A good place to start is the news you've seen recently about Netflix introducing a lower subscription fee for content with ads later this year. Disney+ has a similar storyline (Read the Variety article here), and Amazon has a free-with ads section, too.This change affects the brand position of all the premium streamers.This shift will have a huge impact on the marketplace over the next year and a half (just as we are forecasting CrowdSource for Life hitting streaming services).The big premium streamers (Netflix, Amazon, HBOMAX, Disney) which seem to anoint a project when they sign it, are suddenly facing a familiar broadcasting fork in the road.And this problem for them creates an enormous advantage for CrowdSource for Life.

A few months ago, I released a video explaining CrowdSource for Life's distribution strategy.You can see it here.Simply stated, releasing the film on multiple streaming services at once, powered by the distribution capabilities of FilmHub gets CrowdSource for Life the biggest audience.As the video explains, CrowdSource for Life's wide combination of "cross topic appeals" means it will match up with multiple streaming services' programming needs.FilmHub connects with those many streamers and CrowdSource for Life will be placed on numerous streamers as a result.

Now, the general consumer who knows the big brands may ask who is "FreeVee" or "PlutoTV?"Who watches them instead of all the great premium movies and shows on Netflix or HBO or Disney?The free-with-ads streamers may not have the brand identity of a Netflix yet, but they do have an audience… and it's growing. This recent LA Times article explains that model is raring to go with growth potential.All it needs is a tipping point… and that tipping point is Netflix introducing a "with-ads" subscription.When that happens, it puts the question out there for consumers: If I am going to watch with ads, why not use free streamers?Why pay for it?"This shift will result in accelerated audience growth for these very specifically programmed free streaming services.Many of these streamers will carry CrowdSource for Life as they have relationships with FilmHub. At the same time, the truly premium streamers/networks will see their numbers pared back down.The landscape will look a lot like cable did in the 80s, with your choices being premium cable, regular cable (which came with ads) or TV over the air for free… with ads.

This anticipated move by Netflix changes everything and it was completely predictable by industry experts.Without getting into how television distribution works, the bottom line is the streaming model is falling in line with the three previous phases of television distribution: viewing with ads (like over the air broadcasting, cable and satellite).With the ground leveled by a greater adoption of Discounted Fee or free-with-ads streaming, consumers need only choose the quality of their distributor (cable/satellite vs. over the air, streamer vs. cable/satellite).Historically, the completion of this cycle always results in an increased expansion of niche channels (or in this case streamers).As I already alluded, this event is like the explosion of channels when cable took hold in the 80s and the even further explosion of channels when satellite distribution was introduced.

So, back to the new excitement for CrowdSource for Life...Right now, FilmHub has more than 100 streamers connected to their service.That number of streamers will increase between now and when we debut CrowdSource for Life.The easiest model for these smaller streamers to program is free with Ads.That model is the most stable for programming, financially speaking.And, as the LA Times article points out, many of these streaming channels are simply more inventory for the industry giants.The only thing that is really happening here is that it is easy to get more content, so they can sell more ad inventory.

So, think ahead about a year from now.CrowdSource for Life will attract numerous streamers through FilmHub because of our ability to hashtag so many concepts in the show in the FilmHub database.Many of those streamers will be free with ads.And the public will have a clear choice among streaming services… an affordable Netflix subscription that is free with ads or a subscription fee-free streamer that is free with ads.It is at this point, when the wide number of streamers carrying CrowdSource for Life will meet the growing loyalty from an audience not wanting to pay premium fees for with-ads programming.This culmination of factors all points at a bigger, wider audience potential for CrowdSource for Life.The variety of concepts built into our production is becoming an even stronger advantage with each passing week.As we head into production, it is very exciting to know we are ahead of this curve!

So, keep your eye on the entertainment business news over the next six months.This change is coming, and it has real world implications for CrowdSource for Life.There has never been a better time to make and distribute this film.Timing really is everything.

Laurie Lee joins Abundant team as a producer.

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