From a leased-access weekend program on a local broadcast-TV station, to an online channel that’s also on Roku and Comcast’s free video-on-demand platform, to additional VOD rollouts and placement on Amazon Fire TV — Chris Pati’s IndiMusic TV is boxing the electronic media compass.
The Long Island, N.Y.- based music-industry veteran (as a performer and producer) said his channel has progressed to the point where he doesn’t have to pay for TV time, as he did when he debuted a show playing music videos on WLNY in 2004. He says that show, when it aired at 10 p.m. on Saturdays, would draw an 0.8 or 0.9 rating, on par with Judge Judy. He sold enough local commercials to make the arrangement work.
Now his IndiMusic TV free-on-demand channel on Comcast (in about six states) operates on an advertising revenue-share basis. That will be the case when the service launches this month on Verizon FiOS TV’s free VOD platform, too, though he said Verizon initially pitched him a linear channel that would cost $60,000 per month. His service also is slated to launch on Dish Network this month as a VOD channel. Pati figures the distribution collectively will be about 30 million pay-TV homes.
But the VOD channel is really more about brand extension (and some ad cash) and another step in the evolution of what he hopes will ultimately be a hybrid of TV, electronic commerce and social media.
The formula is there now on website indimusic.tv. Launched in 2012, it offers musicians the opportunity to upload one video per month for free, or pay up to $199 per year to upload an unlimited number of videos. Most artists (about 80%) take the free option.
While the video plays, a dropdown menu appears that offers viewers the option of buying CDs, merchandise or tickets. All the money goes to the artists, Pati said. “You can buy and you never leave the broadcast.” That interactive feature, developed with Linkstorm, is what Pati would like to bring to television, and said he’s in talks with distributors about potentially making that happen. One of them, he said, is a cable provider that previously pitched him a leased channel.
This relatively new entrant to the pay-TV world — though he has had an Indi- Music TV channel on Roku since 2009 (with 21,000 subscribers) — sees cable and satellite television evolving into a “pipe” model where the distributor passes along third-party-owned content. That’s similar to how music labels have evolved to become mostly distributors, Pati said. “They can’t afford to be in both businesses,” he said of cable companies, a tune some of those firms have sung, as well.
Piling on Pylons: CBS Brings New Views to NFL, Too
The Wire (Aug. 31 edition) had no sooner finished telling the tale of ESPN’s expanded experiment with the Pylon Cam during National Football League contests when CBS said that it, too, will have high-definition cameras embedded into the custom-molded goal-line markers this season. They will feature during selected Thursday Night Football broadcasts on CBS and NFL Network and during NFL On CBS games to capture views from the goal lines and sidelines — and they might be used during the playoffs and Super Bowl 50.
Like ESPN, CBS said its Pylon Cams — developed independently and in consultation with the league — were part of a legacy of TV innovations, such as instant replay, the Telestrator and John Madden’s “CBS Chalkboard.”
CBS also released a short reel on Vimeo of Pylon Cam moments during the Detroit Lions-Jacksonville Jaguars preseason game on Aug. 28. “I love that camera,” play-by-play man Kevin Harlan declares after seeing a Jaguar player step out of bounds, up close and personal.
The NFL told The Wire that only CBS and ESPN are developing their own proprietary Pylon Cams.