The Evolution of Marketing Channels for Digital Media

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Caleb hangs his back-pack up everyday when he comes home from middle school. He kicks off his shoes, uses the bathroom, maybe fixes himself something to eat. The remote control gets grabbed, but mainstream TV is not what comes on the screen. Through the Sony Google Net Box, Caleb dials up a list of YouTube videos. He is absorbed as he watches one video after another and then another and another. By time his parents tell him to shut it off and get to his homework, not one single network program has been viewed. The sixth grader can’t tell you what’s on Nickelodeon. Cartoon Network has no influence. YouTube’s immense collection of videos about video games and random funny stuff are his poison.

Caleb’s parents are beginning to wonder about the benefits of keeping cable. Besides the diminishing cable TV interest of their son, the cable company recently decided to take away a few more channels and make them exclusive on the premium package. This came only too soon after another hike in their monthly rate. The combination of cable, Netflix and occasional Red Box now has the parents paying more on home entertainment than ever before. If the family can become more dependent on their Sony Box, then all they’ll have to pay for is the internet service (and possibly Netflix.) Ether way, the impact of YouTube and other video hosting platforms will probably serve as the tipping point in their decision.

Recent advantages in technology have added fuel to this video watching revolution. New video hosting platform websites have been popping up all over. HTML 5 and its built-in video player make it easy for anyone with server space to show off videos. Digital media distributors can provide and package the means for anyone to create their own video hosting platform website. Sites that used to just let you showcase photos are now bursting with video.

Because of all of this, marketing through digital channels now takes on a whole new look. Hundreds of thousands of businesses and other organizations now use video to increase results; and they do it by providing their content to video hosting platform sites like YouTube, Daily Motion, Metacafe and Vimeo. In turn, they share the content through the platform to other sites, apps and blogs, giving the good content out there legendary status. Internet celebrities are discovered overnight. Going viral is now a worthy quest.

The challenge for marketers is how to stand-out when sharing content. Successful ways have included the ever-present list making and interactive ranking. Through the convenient application of embed-able mark-up offered at these hosting platforms, website owners all around the WWW are listing and ranking their top video picks. Even the larger media outlets have joined in the game (see Fox News, Billboard, and USA Today.) Some of the sites doing a consistently good job at listing the best online videos are: mashable.com, Wikipedia and Huffington Post (now operating their own platform – aol.com.) For those not entertained by a mere list, there are ranking/rating sites that get viewers involved. In addition to the video platform hosts offering their own ways for visitors to interact, some of the more relevant high brow social media sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and Digg use the power of collective judgment to filter up the best quality viral video. Other fun video watching sites like Funny or Die and Blip tv let their audiences select winners and losers of popular online videos.

The landscape of entertainment is changing. Soon the myopic conduits of television content will be replaced with the fluid and dynamic content channels that stem from the World Wide Web. With the influx of new devices and brilliantly easy HTML coding, the ability to provide better-than-ever variety and quality will become the standard norm.

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