But how does said great content get to the consumer, how does a great video ‘fit’ the myriad of devices where it will be shown?
IOS and Android phones, Tablets, Gaming Consoles, PCs and TVs all come in such a wide variety of screen-sizes that making each frame compatible with every conceivable variation is time and cost prohibitive for a content creator. The solution lies with Steve Hardman, Founder of AIRBEEM.
‘In the early days it was relatively simple,’ says Steve. ‘Content providers could broadcast from a website and consumers could watch the clip on their pc. But these days, this same content is accessible via so many different endpoints it is becoming financially impossible for the 2nd or 3rd tier channels, (niche broadcasters with much smaller target audiences than a 1st tier channel like ITV), because of the enormous costs required to deliver these videos in the multiple formats needed for different consoles’. The complexity surrounding this market grows almost daily. ‘Content providers need to develop applications with both iOS and Android versions and now, with the explosive arrival of TV based ecosystems, the smaller channels are priced out by the vast cost of this highly specialised technology’.
Behold AIRBEEM. ‘We partner with premium video providers to publish and monetise their content through dedicated mobile media channels at no upfront cost. Our scalable technology enables us to build a vast portfolio of highly trafficked mobile media properties from these partnerships. Video consumption on mobile is exploding – the anticipated growth by 2019 is 1,300% – and demand from advertisers to buy mobile video advertising is far outstripping supply’.
Steve is a seasoned entrepreneur whose previous successes include SocialGO, a community website building platform that created 400,000 websites in 5 years (at one stage building a mindboggling 1,000 a day), which was successfully floated on the AIM. Prior to that he founded the MSD Ltd automotive group with 250 sta running works for Hyundai, Vauxhall, Honda, Peugeot and Opel teams in the World Rally Championship British, German and South African Touring Car Championships. With this impeccable track record, Steve saw the opportunity in the online video market.
‘Content owners know that the mobile is now the primary channel for broadcasting their programming and very much want direct-to-consumer relationships. But picking the correct format is risky and monetising this programming is the new frontier. Our vision is to allow any professional content owner to also be a channel owner, thus eliminating costly middlemen. After four years of research and development, we have re-imagined the technology so that the complete package can be sold as an off-the-shelf product. This, in turn, gives the enormous middle market the key to unlock the vital direct-to-consumer arena’.
AIRBEEM is powered by a high-quality team from a range of blue chip companies including Barry Llewelyn (formerly head of video at Microsoft). All have vast, proven knowledge of online video delivery, traditional TV, media advertising, content production & technology start-ups. The team also has significant experience in founding and growing technology companies: between them they have started, grown and successfully exited nine different start-ups over the past ten years.
AIRBEEM garners revenue from multiple sources: recurring licence fees, streaming usage fees, ad revenue share, custom development and audience enhancement services. The industry is forecast to surge to $50bn fuelled by a new generation of consumers under the age of 25 whose preferred entertainment consumption has fundamentally changed from the generation before, migrating almost exclusively from big to small screen. This is confirmed by AIRBEEM’s recent contracts with some global giants; partnerships already in place include 3 year deals with SONY, DREAMWORKS and LIVE NATION, and they are signing five others a week. With revenues of £100,000 in the last year, the business is on track to scale to their target income of £1m over the next 12 months.
‘They need us because we essentially future-proof their content business’, says Steve. ‘Each channel is customised to brand and all client content is aggregated and presented for easy discovery. The user experience is therefore vastly enhanced, and the provider is monetising their output in a far more efficient way’.