On Wednesday, World Wrestling Entertainment announced the launch of WWE Network. The network will be the first high profile live 24/7 television network eschewing traditional delivery methods, only being available via streaming devices.
With the company’s existing television rights deals about to expire, WWE has increased their potential rights fees by creating an internal option for their programming.
We’re starting to see some of the larger radio groups make similar moves. Clear Channel uses its Premiere Radio Networks and Premium Choice to distribute programming to its stations as well as having IHeartRadio to distribute the programming online. Cumulus is doing the same with its recent addition of Westwood One to its Cumulus Media Networks and investment in Rdio. But so many radio operators are missing out on additional ways to own their content.
Instead of producing online content on the station’s website, most are content with publishing on Facebook or Twitter where the station is at the whim of those sites for distribution. Make your station’s site a destination worth seeking out and reap the rewards directly. Use the social media sites to drive traffic to your station and its site. The purpose of a station being online is not to have a meme get shared by people who will never connect with your station or show, its to get people to listen.
By owning your content and distribution systems only you are responsible for its success or failure. Reliance on other people’s content (whether it be a station that plugs in syndication 24/7 or other forms) will lead to decreased opportunities for revenue. A station, program, or website needs to have someone invested in its success to actually be successful. Does Mark Zuckerberg care if your show gets listeners and revenue? He only cares that Facebook does.