Media companies have always needed a diverse revenue mix. Lately, U.K. media companies have been building out a balanced revenue diet in short-form content through merchandise, gifting and content windowing, as traditional sources, like broadcaster production fees, get squeezed.
For short-form content, less than the 10-minute mark, the economics are tight: Budgets are small, often between £1,000 ($1,277) and £2,000 ($2,554) a minute, but tough to monetize through ads. In the U.K., platforms like Facebook and Snapchat have opened up ways to monetize non-exclusive short-form content in recent months, giving content owners another revenue stream.
“For our original short-form, we’ve had to find different ways of spreading risk and ensuring maximum return on investment,” said Sam Barcroft, founder and CEO of programmer Barcroft Media. “Forward-thinking companies have to have multiple revenue streams.”
Ideally, short-form content can be used as an incubator for testing out concepts that will go on to be made into longer-form shows and sold to TV with ready-made audiences, opening up new revenue sources through global distribution. Netflix commissioned interior design show “Amazing Interiors” after seeing the success of Barcroft’s “Making Mad” series.
Barcroft has five other revenue sources like branded content, windowing deals with broadcasters like the BBC, and ad revenue from platforms like Facebook and Snapchat. For this, Barcroft benefits from a lot of scale, and since February, revenue from platforms has grown fivefold. And there’s headroom for growth, data from WARC predicts global advertising video on demand spend is expected to double by 2023, reaching $46.6 billion (£36.5 billion), up from $23.8 billion (£18.6 billion) currently.