The Drums of Change Roll in Media Distribution
The current spat between CBS and Time Warner Cable is just one more reminder why people are finding ways to “cut the cable” and save hundreds on their entertainment expenses each month. Online streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu and even YouTube aren’t just cost-effective alternatives for consumers, they offer non-profits and other organizations with small budgets a way to reach larger audiences without breaking the bank. Here’s how one cash-crunched organization is using streaming to their advantage.
Each year, thousands of students ages 14-22 make their way across the country performing live musical shows that can only be described as “marching band on steroids.” Drum and bugle corps competitions appeal to a niche audience. Most shows draw a few thousand fans, peaking at around 20,000 at a select few major shows. Because drum corps lacks wide general appeal and groups are funded primarily through educational sponsorships and partnerships, the governing body, Drum Corps International (DCI), must be frugal and creative with its spending.
In years past, DCI was able to afford a partnership with PBS and eventually ESPN. The network was to broadcast the DCI World Finals – the “Super Bowl of marching bands” – at the end of each season, and DCI hoped the investment would help grow its fan base. Unfortunately, 2008 derailed that plan as DCI was forced to cut the broadcast budget.
Instead, DCI built a direct streaming service called the Fan Network. Fans are now able to subscribe to the service annually and have the ability to watch select shows live as well as go back into the archives and watch past performances. Most participating corps also provide a wealth of behind-the-scenes bonus footage for fans to enjoy.
The Fan Network suits all of DCI’s media distribution needs:
- It is run in-house and does not require an expensive contract with a network.
- Fans get to watch all of the content from the cable broadcast and now have access to the entire DCI library without ever having to purchase a DVD.
- DCI is able to tease their content for free on a public YouTube Channel that promotes their content to a broader audience.
Just over one week ago, DCI also announced that they are adding the World Championships to their annual streaming lineup, effectively replacing the television broadcast with something more affordable and flexible. DCI recognized an opportunity to save a lot of money while still providing a high-quality experience, all thanks to simply cutting the cable.
Just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean you can’t reach your fans around the world with broadcast-quality content. Whether you’re live-streaming or delivering pre-packaged content, consider taking your unique “show” on the road, directly to your customer and fan base.
Image courtesy of Andrew Szypula.