Video is everywhere online. And it made its foothold with low-quality, user generated content. Over the years, however, mid-tier content made its presence felt. Facebook Pages were built on the backs of mid-tier content. Platforms courted publishers to create web-only content exclusive to their platforms. Facebook’s Watch property started with this premise.
Now, mid-tier content’s being squeezed out. It doesn’t carry the weight it used to, and even publishers struggle to fully monetize their investments in content for services like Watch. The new bet isn’t in the middle. The new bet is in premium.
Snapchat, the web’s most informal social platform, is going all in on premium content with a new line-up of serialized, scripted shows that would not be out of place on television. Facebook Watch is looking to do the same same thing with a lineup of its own.
Then let’s not forget Disney and AT&T each planning to launch their own streaming services that will be stocked with premium content. Disney will be hosting its breadth of content that includes the Star Wars and Marvel properties. AT&T will be able to put its recent acquisition of Time Warner to work by leveraging its portfolio of content.
It seems premium is where the focus is shifting, and there’s good reason for it. That’s where people are going as well. A recent Piper Jaffray study found that Netflix made up 38% of teenagers video consumption, more than any other service. People care about quality. Even teens.
Pushing Out the Middle
Low-quality content will always have a place online. It’s where we discover new content creators, how we pass along moments that we just happened to capture with our phones and where we discover all those helpful how-to videos. But mid-tier content is going to have a hard time finding its place.
People are gravitating toward the premium and the low-tier, and publishers are following their leads. The mid-tier video content experiment has mostly led to a collective shrug from platforms, content creators and users alike. Premium’s moment is here.