are spending billions of dollars on content; they
offer a very compelling proposition in terms of
pricing; they’re available on all the devices. To
think that we will be able to compete with those
services, with what I’ll call content behind a
paywall, is probably fooling ourselves a little
bit. The ones that I have seen work very well,
that are essentially content behind-a-paywall
services, are the ones where they have, essentially, a monopoly on the content for a particular audience.
Examples of that would be things like
Crunchyroll, WWE, Glenn Beck, Acorn TV.
Things where you are kind of the only source
of a certain kind of content. The ones that I
think are more challenging are the ones that
are trying to hit a certain genre. The ones
that were going to be the Netflix of comedy or
of outdoor sports, or something of that sort.
There’s so much content of any given genre.
I don’t know that you can really gain a huge
enough audience to be successful with just acquiring content behind a paywall. Especially
when the Netflix and Amazons and Hulus are
buying the same content.
We have to differentiate ourselves from that.
If that is a world of lots of content and a passive
experience, we’re trying to create more niche
content with a more interactive experience.
Streaming Media: You don’t feel like what you’re
offering is available for free through other
Adam Rymer: Not the level of interactivity that
we’re putting together. We’re really trying to do
new things, like choose-your-own-adventure
type shows, where the audience can have a say
in what’s happening on next week’s show, or
on that show. Live improv comedy type things.
We’re trying to make these shows much more
premium than what you find available elsewhere
for free or on an advertising-supported basis.
Streaming Media: You’re really emphasizing community. Is that something people want, or is TV
still a passive medium?
Adam Rymer: My feeling is we’re not really trying to become TV. My thought on this is, TV
does a really good job making TV. Amazon and
Netflix are doing a very good job of making TV.
I’ve seen a lot of people pushing into what I’ll
call TV on the internet, which to me just feels
like cheap TV.
If you’re spending a million dollars on a
series instead of a million dollars on an episode or more, what is that? It just feels like it’s
lower quality, or lower price-point television,
and you’re still competing against things like
Westworld and Game of Thrones and House of
Cards. What’s the next medium? What’s the
When television came out, the first shows
that you saw were radio shows. People sitting
around a desk and performing radio shows.
Over time, people figured out how to use television to actually create a new medium, eventually evolving into what television is today.
How come when we’re watching content on
our phones and our tablets and devices that
have other connection experiences, keyboards,
and cameras and GPS, we’re still creating TV
There’s nothing wrong with TV content,
but that’s an industry that’s well established
and has been in existence for years and years
and years. It’s incumbent upon us, I think, to
try to push the envelope of what’s next and experiment with new kinds of formats, new kinds
We’ll see if that works, but I think there’s
a need, a demand. You look at the success of
something like Twitch, which is entirely built
around community experiences, and the hundreds of thousands of people that are broadcasting on there, primarily with a gaming focus, [and] it feels like there’s an opportunity in
this live community-based experience.
Troy Dreier ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior associate editor
of Streaming Media and Onlinevideo.net.
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