Wednesday, December 07, 2005

How to make money from streaming media content

Pick-A-Mix is the part of the site that has streaming dance music mixes. It's always been one of our most popular sections but it has run into trouble. Firstly it's a loss making exercise. We don't charge clubbers to listen and we don't charge DJs to upload their mixes. Second, we have had to take it offline while we work out the legality of the service. We applied for an licence and were legal while the application was being sorted out, but the application got rejected for complex and boring reasons. So no more Pick-A-Mix until we redesign it.

Until then we have time to work out how to monetise the service. which made me think this might be a good excuse to come up with a few suggestions on how to make streaming media services profitable:
  • Subscription. Although very difficult, this could work with a 2 tier system with some free mixes. This would have to be at a suitable price point, which might be hard to find especially as most people are used to free stuff on the internet and there is loads of free mixes around. For this to work the quality would have to be very high to stimulate demand.

  • Sponsorship. There should be plenty of companies wanting to expose themselves to clubbers, it's a niche market and a half. Easy to setup and maintain, text and pre-mix audio clips would be unobstrusive but noticed.

  • Adverts. Normal radio shows have adverts in them so why not streaming mixes? This would upset the flow of a mix so would not be ideal, but if someone wanted to insert a 30 second ad in 100 mixes across a range of genres then a one off payment or per-play arrangement would work well.

  • Affiliates. When a track plays, have a link in the player through to buying it. A simple idea yes, if a little tough to implement well. It's a good way to add value to members as well as profit.

  • Donations. Asking for money is the most moral way of getting the section profitable, and at least one blogger lives off his donations, so it's possible. It requires a very faithful fan base and some good positioning of the request.

  • Hosting Fees. The DJ could be charged a fee for mix hosting. Other sites do this already but there are always plenty of DJs wanting exposure. Again it could be adapted into a 2 teir model where the first mix is free and additional space costs £x per megabyte.

  • Peripheral Services. DJs need stuff. Tips on improving their technique, access to the lastest cuts, studio time. There is a raft of ancillery add in services that can be offered in the spirit of being a solution provider rather than a one off sale.

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