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Streaming Media East: Monetizing New Distribution Models

Executives from AOL, ESPN, Scripps, and Discovery Communications gathered for a session at Streaming Media East called "Online Distribution and Monetizations Strategies for the TV Industry" and one thing was clear: The media landscape has changed, and television companies have taken note. Moderator Ray Harnevo, SVP, Video AOL, asked his panelists how their TV native companies regard digital video. Lisa Waks, VP, Video, Scripps Networks Interactive, says digital video is "disruption from within."

"The world has changed. There's room for many players," says Lisa Valentino, SVP, Multimedia Sales at ESPN. Gabe Sauerhoff, VP, Digital Media Distribution, Discovery Communications says that he thinks the digital video market creates a more vibrant overall market.

Waks adds that "there is a different appetite when it comes to digitally native content." Sauerhoff agrees, saying Discovery focuses on creating unique content for its online audience. He also says that the company uses digital video to stretch the life of broadcast TV shows that are limited to a 12-20 week season.

"Media behaviors have fundamentally changed," Valentino says. Television companies need to adapt, whether by creating multi-screen experiences, or striking up content distribution deals. But with video content becoming easier to create and distribute, talk also turned to how the companies deal with digital native competitors, and the rise of aggregators.

"We spend a lot of time focused on controlling what we can control...We can control the value and the experience we create for sports fans," Valentino says of ESPN's strategy. And as Harnevo pointed out early in the session, ESPN has a history of being the first to any new screens. Valentino also said that ESPN can have any content it owns on television ready for distribution on the web within seven seconds—which has huge implications in the world of sports and instant replays.

"We don't want traditional business to be a barrier," Valentino says, giving a fascinating bit of insight into what has made ESPN's digital strategy so successful. Unlike many legacy media companies, it hasn't allowed the old ways to get in the way of moving forward.

View the full panel discussion below:

 

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