Home > Media, Venture Capital / Private Equity > Monetizing content in emerging markets

Monetizing content in emerging markets

(I’ve got a slew of thoughts sitting in my drafts folder that I need to get out today.)

Money-spinning content engines in the West may have to think hard about their emerging market strategy; especially markets like India.

One case in point: HBO which is a premium commercial-free channel in the west (I used to pay $10/mo to receive it) is FREE in India and competes with 200 other channels. And the excellent Hollywood fare it belts out is interrupted every few minutes by commercials.  Turns out there isn’t much else you can do in a market where ARPUs are $3-$4/month.

And a second: A couple of nights ago, I had dinner with the chief strategist for one of the largest media brands in the world.  The company has done well to monetize its content in almost every major developed market, primarily through paid subscriptions and ad-supported services.   However, their India entry efforts are in a bind.  Their content is well suited to broadcast, print, online and mobile media.  There are regulatory hurdles which prevent them from owning media outlets directly so they have to work with existing distribution engines.  Unfortunately these folks aren’t used to sharing revenues with content owners: the typical content revenue share in any value created is between 5% and 20%.  And yes, the brand does not go very far in these discussions.

So how do mediacos monetize their content in a market where nobody is willing to pay for their content and ad-revenues are likely to be usurped by their channel?

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