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Top 5 Media and Entertainment Trends: Update on Consolidation, Video

Over the next month, I’ll be revisiting some of my earlier blog posts to see how media and entertainment trends have developed. One of 2013’s major themes in the media and entertainment industry is consolidation. Back in September, I highlighted $6.78 billion dollars in 2013 mergers and acquisitions in just one media segment: companies that own local TV station affiliates. This segment seems to be the most heavily affected by consolidation this year, and the result is companies like Gannett, Sinclair and many others face complex CMS integrations or replatforming to new CMS systems.

Consolidation is hitting all segments of media this year, including Acquia customers. Alpha Media Group, parent of Maxim Magazine, was bought by Darden Media Group in September. Hubbard Broadcasting bought Sandusky Radio, another Acquia customer, for $88.5 million dollars. Through industry consolidation, Acquia faces the same potential disruption facing media companies.

Recent consolidation also includes some international expansion: U.S. cable network AMC Networks (home of Breaking Bad and Mad Men) bought UK based cable networks owner Chellomedia from Liberty Global for $1 billion. The deal allows AMC to expand its cable brands to Europe.

Another place media consolidation is starting to happen is in an emerging space I previously deemed as highly important media segment: companies that are building their business by creating and aggregating video content, primarily on the YouTube platform.You can revisit my post on the YouTube multi channel network players here.

Two major digital video players – Break Media and Alloy Digital – agreed to merge and create Defy Media this fall. Will the merger slow down these two giants of YouTube? Recently one of Defy Media’s YouTube channels, Screen Junkies, netted a hit with Robert DeNiro and Morgan Freeman reading aloud lyrics to today’s viral pop hits including Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and Ylvis’ “What Does The Fox Say”.
Adweek and their partner VidIQ now tracks top YouTube video viewership on a weekly basis. Their chart revealed the Screen Junkies clip of Freeman and DeNiro netted 2.39 million hits in just one week. If you measure the comedy clip’s viewership against the weekly viewership of most major prime time network TV shows, it’s a comparable audience.

So while it doesn’t seem like the merger will slow down Defy’s presence in the video space, Defy as a company has CMS needs. While Defy Media uses YouTube as a distribution channel, the company also creates unique digital experiences for their channels, for instance ScreenJunkies.com and Smosh.com. The former runs Wordpress.com and the latter, Drupal. So just like the TV station holding companies face defining their CMS roadmap post industry consolidation, these digital video players do as well.

Which raises again the question: Why does a major player on YouTube even need a web site with CMS?

At Acquia and Brightcove’s New York City Digital Disruption panel discussion this fall, Producers’ Guild of America New Media Chairman Chris Pfaff asked Acquia Chief Marketing Officer Tom Wentworth a very similar question:

Meanwhile, Adweek asked Defy Media executive Barry Blumberg if there is an effort by their Smosh brand to deemphasize their YouTube channel:

“We’ve been at this for seven-plus years. And we’ve always had a website. It’s been part of our Web strategy to have a balance … what we did from the beginning. That gives us a more in depth, instant relationship with our audience on our website, as well as on social platforms: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr.”

A follow up question from Adweek was more pointed:

Do you think you’re going to see lots of other companies follow suit, and try and move more of their business off YouTube?

“I bet most folks are. It allows us to create some revenue balance, and a brand that is not one-dimensional.”

Adweek also recently discussed how Maker Studios, the number #3 YouTube network, with almost 30 million unique video views a month, might move away from YouTube. Reporter Mike Shields writes:

“Maker’s move to launch its own site, if accurate, is the latest in a quiet revolution among YouTube creators and partners. Get as much of your audience off YouTube so you don’t have to share half of your ad revenue. The most prominent example of that is RocketJump, started by the guys behind the huge YouTube channel FreddieW. VevoTV is another example. As big as it is on YouTube, Smosh has its own site.”

Maker Studios already has unique sites for some of their YouTube channels. For instance the Maker owned video game focused channel, The Yogscast, has it’s own URL - http://www.yogscast.com/ built on Drupal.

Maker Studios also recently got larger via the acquisition of another major web video player – Blip.tv. Blip for many years served as an alternative to YouTube as a video portal. While the acquisition of Blip will most likely put Maker Studios ahead of other video companies in the Comscore Online Video Rankings in terms of viewers, Maker says they will also use Blip’s technology as a platform for their video content. In essence, Blip can become a platform for Maker to create their own branded digital experiences apart from YouTube.

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