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Media Mashup: Reimagining TV in an OTT World

Updated: Mar 2

An Opportunity to Innovate the Future...

*THIS STORY IS SHARED BY VANESSA MANAGO AS SHE TOOK ON THE ROLE OF TV STATION MANAGER AT CSMTV. IT DOES NOT REFLECT OR REPRESENT CSMTV AS A CLIENT OR CUSTOMER OF VMI ENTERTAINMENT OR MEDIUS, LLC.


As I turned the key and opened the heavy wood door, the dank, stale air welcomed me like a hostage that had just been released to freedom.

I walked through the doors of our local Public Access Channel last month, I felt the weight of the challenge that I had joyfully accepted. As I took the first official tour as TV Station Manager, I realized that I'd inherited a station with all of the right trimmings. Big, bulky HD cameras on pedestals with Comms that allow the floor to talk back to the Control Room. A robust video board with bright lights, streamlined inputs and a pilot's throttle. There was a small lounge with standard conference chairs hugging the wall. The steel bookshelf just outside of the editing suite was lined with DVD libraries of all kinds - motion graphic backgrounds, royalty free music, After Effects plugins, training videos and the like. The rolled XLR cables that lay behind the studio cameras and the audio snake that lay on the floor were all too familiar- the snake's tail disappearing into the tunnel in the wall.

I inherited the perfect pre-pandemic, high definition, TV Station, but the entire world has put on 4K lenses and gone virtual. This station has been off the air for more than two years. No programming, no signal. Only a listing in the Channel 98 slot that reads CSMTV.

My challenge is building a viable Channel that has fallen flat while most networks are going Over-The-Top (OTT). In short, I have to reimagine TV.

Things to think about...

There are several trends that I am considering as we move forward:

1. Television is a great format for live events and information / news

2. OTT is preferred by many because the format provides content on-demand

3. One of the current trends is building communities of audiences that enjoy

specific content

One advantage that TV has over OTT is that it is a great format for live sports, news and other events. Since OTT is primarily on-demand content, television is a great channel for covering events. This content-oriented advantage leaves television channels as a primary source for live entertainment - even if they stream live events to their OTT channels. This secures the advantage of TV channels over big streaming brands like Netflix and Paramount+. One consideration going forward will be innovating a solution that allows broadcasting events and news in real-time.

On the other hand, the flexibility of OTT programming formats is what is causing many TV subscribers to cut the cord and make the jump to streaming. On-demand means that audiences can view what they want, when they want to. OTT introduced new terms like binge-watching and watch parties - terms that describe the flexibility and social advantages of OTT over television. I am looking for ways to cross platforms so that tv programming pushes audiences to at least one additional hybrid, online channel. This will allow audiences the flexibility of connecting online around content that they love.

Finally, with Meta on the horizon and the recent success of platforms like Facebook Watch and YouTube, I want to develop a model that encourages audiences to connect around the content. To pull this off, I will have to work with Marketing to launch and sustain integrated marketing campaigns. That means that video and graphic promotions will need to be added to the social channels to drive viewers either to the TV Channel, or the hybrid OTT solution that I described. In addition, it will be necessary to host exclusive content, behind the scenes looks, and live streams with Cast Members and Show Creators on our online channels.


Innovating Change

The future of television lies in Network Executives' ability to reimagine the format. The days of a thriving, standalone platform is slowly fading to black. By innovating hybrid programming solutions, I am hopeful that I will be able to build a thriving channel that serves our community and viewers.

Which format do you prefer and why? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.

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