By Alpha Networks
We are living in an era of nearly infinite content. So much so that John Landgraf, FX Networks Chief, has said, “There is simply too much television.” In the history of media, there has never been more opportunities to create and consume content.
And yet, the economic model of media and its supporting infrastructure remains fundamentally broken.
Cord-cutters are abandoning cable TV in droves. Over-the-Top (OTT) media providers like Netflix have made cable packages an archaic relic of the past. The idea that someone should pay $100 a month for a 200-channel cable package when they only watch 15 channels is anathema to today’s media consumer.
Cable providers lost 1.6 million subscribers in 2016, and the pace is accelerating, with more than 2.6 million cutting the cord through September 2017. The top US cable provider, Comcast, lost 125,000 customers in Q3 of 2017, after losing only 34,000 the previous quarter. AT&T’s DIRECTV lost 134,000 that same quarter.
So it should come as no surprise that Netflix now has more paying US subscribers than all of the top cable TV providers combined.
But even though OTT media providers like Netflix and Hulu have emerged to disrupt cable providers and democratize distribution, the economic model for rights holders, distributors, advertisers, and creators remains unchanged.
For rights holders and distributors, large swaths of content are tied up in a maze of deals that turns finding content into a treasure hunt for consumers.
The broadband era was supposed to bring greater transparency and accountability for advertisers, but the opposite has been true. From outright click-through fraud, click-bait content, and continually shifting SEO algorithms, digital media platforms haven’t made it easy for advertisers to confidently shift their media buys from traditional to digital platforms.
Unfortunately, John Wannamaker’s famous quote is true as it’s ever been: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
We are still dealing with Big Media’s antiquated infrastructure that was built in 1980s, which allows issues like piracy, underpaid talent, bloated studio budgets, and gatekeepers to fester.
What if you could take the best components of Netflix, YouTube, and cable TV, and replace our archaic media infrastructure with the blockchain?
This is Alpha Networks’ mission.
Much like the railroads changed the economic infrastructure of America, Alpha Networks is creating the “rails” for a new generation of content. One that makes transparent economics, fair and efficient payment to creators, reduced piracy, decentralized news, and new voices a reality.
Advertising Infrastructure for the 21st Century
Forecasters project that there will be $10.9 billion in display ad waste alone by 2021. 85% of marketers say the lack of data is the problem. 67% believe that the audience data they do get isn’t good enough, with 75% reporting a lack of visibility into the data they do actually get.
Imagine a media landscape where ad buys are based on transparent metrics, replacing intrusive ads with relevant, data-driven targeting.
Powered by IBM Watson, Alpha Networks will be the first platform to feature AI-enabled, targeted advertising, meaning relevant ads with less waste.
The End of “Nobody Knows Anything” Programming
Screenwriter William Goldman once famously said of the movie business, “Nobody knows anything.” At best, the decisions made at studies were educated guesses of what audiences wanted to see.
While Netflix has been a boon for content creators (they’re spending between $7 and $8 billion on content in 2018), creators have no idea who’s watching their content on Netflix. That’s because Netflix has kept their data strictly proprietary, a black box that gives them an incredible advantage when negotiating deals with content creators.
Traditional methods of measuring audiences, like Nielsen ratings, are seriously flawed, and have only become more so with the fracturing of the digital media landscape. For example, Nielsen may know what channel a cable customer is tuned to, but they don’t know if a television set is actually on or off.
Imagine a media landscape where content creators are not only paid fairly and transparently, but also have the data to optimize their content to grow their audience, instead of relying on “gut” instinct. Imagine if content producers and creators were able to make decisions based on nuanced, actionable data models, from which they can make informed programming decisions instead of relying what’s worked in the past.
Alpha Networks’ partnership with Watson media AI will bring an unparalleled level of insight to video platforms, allowing content creators to have fully transparent audience analytics, allowing them to create more content that their fans will love.
Closed-End Architecture to Curtail Piracy
Netflix, Amazon, and their streaming peers alone will lose over $50 billion in subscription and ad revenue to piracy. The losses to piracy via DVDs and other fixed media may be even higher.
The Alpha Networks platform is built on IBM cloud, which utilizes the largest dark fiber network on earth. Its closed-end means that video files are inaccessible and cannot be copied.
The End of Arbitrary Censorship
While platforms like Facebook and YouTube have give content creators the ability to build huge audiences, they have effectively built them on someone else’s land. Thus, creators livelihoods live and die at the whim of every platform policy change. For example, in the last quarter of 2017, YouTube removed over 8.3 million videos from the platform.
Even worse, YouTube has started what creators are calling the “Adpocalypse,” the beginnings of which can be traced to YouTube removing one of their most popular creators, PewDiePie, from their platform. To appease advertisers, YouTube began demonetizing channels seemingly at random, cutting revenue for some channels by up to 80%.
Because Facebook and YouTube are public companies, they have to consider the appropriateness of content for the general public, an audience of billions. With increasing pressure from advertisers, these open platforms are increasingly prone to censorship, and content that isn’t deemed “advertiser friendly” is being demonetized or deleted — significantly impacting small content creators that make their living off ad revenue.
Unlike YouTube or Facebook, Alpha Networks is an 18-and-older platform not available to the general public. With closed-end system architecture and blockchain security protocol, a creator’s content will not be taken down, copied, or redistributed.
One Platform, One Code Base, Distributed Everywhere
Finding a specific piece of content today is a maze of time-consuming searches. Is it on Netflix or FX? Do I have to buy the episodes or is part of my subscription? How long is it on a certain platform? Oh, and what’s my password?
Alpha Networks creates one seamless user experience across all devices and services types using IBM’s UX API.
This means existing media companies, who spend millions managing hundreds of platforms and file formats to deliver content across devices simply won’t have to anymore on Alpha Networks. Media companies will benefit from IBM and Alpha Networks’ “create once, deploy everywhere” architecture, which will provide massive costs savings and easily allow content creators to reach a global audience.
Alpha Networks takes the idea of one-platform to another level. Today’s content creator has to be everywhere at once, creating live content on Periscope, a show on Netflix, episodes on iTunes, and quick clips for YouTube.
Our platform will support delivery of all these types of content from one codebase, which means no matter what kind of content you are creating it will play the right way, on the right platforms, so your audience will have the ideal content experience no matter how they watch.
Alpha Networks is also the first platform to offer AVOD (advertising video on demand), SVOD (subscription VOD) and TVOD (pay per view single purchase) services from within the same platform, at any price point.
This means customers can choose what they want to watch and how they want to watch it in one, seamless, easy-to-use viewer experience. For creators, this means the ability to create multiple products and packages, with no fixed pricing rules that rule other platforms.
Rightsholders and Distributors Finally Aligned
All of your favorite movies and TV shows are deficit financed, with media companies putting up a lot of cash upfront in hopes for a big payoff after the content is released. This carries a lot of risk, causing studios to play it safe, which is why there’s seemingly a new superhero movie released every month.
It’s also why studios use Hollywood accounting tricks to keep a lion’s share of the revenues they generate. This explains how Return of the Jedi made $475 million on a $32 million dollar budget, yet didn’t turn a profit.
This model also causes media rightsholders and distributors to be adversarial, jockeying for the best terms for licensing content, hoping to milk every last dollar out of their assets. So each party withholds valuable data that would be beneficial to each party.
The Alpha Networks platform aligns creators and distribution, who both profit proportionally from success. Because Alpha networks provides a transparent ledger of all relevant media consumption, content creators are paid proportionally to how much viewership they accrue, know via our Proof of Engagement algorithm.
Parties on each side of the transaction only pay and get paid for what is consumed. This greatly increases the network effect for Alpha Networks and the TV Token.
This is all possible with cryptocurrency-based micro transactions, paid out in TV tokens. Alpha Networks’ Proof of Engagement algorithm monitors all customers interactions with content and dictates payouts to content providers. The payout is proportional to the amount of viewership time users have aggregated against the toal network-wide viewership.
The Next Evolution in Media
Every era of television is defined by the major tech innovation by which it thrived. First with over the air broadcast television, then coaxial cable, and now broadband internet.
This led first to the creation of the big three networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), then the dominant cable networks (CNN, ESPN, etc.), and now Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
Today we are again at a historic inflection point in story of media. And for the first time, Alpha Networks has developed the technology to some the fundamental problems that previous technologies couldn’t.
We are building a new infrastructure for the next era of media, a platform that offers creators, consumers, media companies, and advertisers the “rails” for the monetization, management, and scaling of truly efficient and transparent video networks.
Join the next evolution of media at Alpha Networks.