What viewing statistic is most important?

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In today’s viewing world what is the measuring stick for popularity? Is it TV audience viewing statistics? Youtube views? Social Media engagement? Streams? Downloads? Number of saves on to a DVR? Or is it a combination of some or all?

Camouflage

I think it is much easier in today’s world, for media companies to camouflage poor performing programmes by using different statistics to the old fashioned TV audience statistics or by using a combination of statistics.

If you ask most companies that produce programmes the figure that will be most important internally is the TV audience figure, as that is what can make them the most money, if those figures are high they can sell their programme for a higher value to a TV station, without it they have little chance of making good money.

Profitable

When companies find ways to make putting content on Youtube more profitable and ways to make more money out of social media engagement then these will be very important areas to grow but I don’t think we are quite there yet.

TV production companies want to make the most money they can per viewer to their programming so this is where Youtube and Social Media can help in an indirect way. By boasting big numbers in these areas, they can use these to help in negotiations with TV companies to squeeze more revenue from the channels and networks.

Streaming

Nowadays programmes are licensed to the big providers like Netflix and Amazon on a revenue per stream deal, so if no one watches your programme you don’t make anything. This is why I love the streaming market as although the revenue per stream should possibly be higher at least then a programme gets a fair revenue based on its viewership. Some TV stations have been stung in the past by paying big bucks from programming, for it to not to deliver the numbers that they expected for their outlay.

The problem with media is that in a lot of instances you have to speculate to accumulate and although you can have great research to back up a theory on why a programme is going to be successful, until the numbers are in you can’t take anything for granted. Thankfully all sides of the media have to do this from the Production Companies that fund programme creation to the channels that acquire it.

There are a lot of shows on TV but few runaway successes and I think everyone in the media game has to remember that.

Raising Money

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As many of you know I am currently running a Crowdfunder campaign to crowdfund the print version of my book ‘Unbreakable Bond.’ You can find out more about it and donate to the cause by going here:

http://www.gofundme.com/unbreakablebond

Through this experience it has shown me how the internet has helped so many people with good causes and ideas raise money, that they wouldn’t have been able to do 10 years ago. Securing funding for projects used to be about filling out funding application forms, pitching ideas to panels of investors and standing behind a stall in a street or at an event. Now in the space of five minutes you can set up a crowdfunder page for free, where people can donate online and the money gets dropped straight to your account.

As easy as online shopping

There are lots of people out there who have money, who are generous and who are willing to give. People are becoming more aware of crowdfunding everyday and everyday it is being seen as a normal and successful way of raising money, with more people donating to crowdfunder campaigns. The other beauty of crowdfunder sites is that it is as easy to donate money to something as it is to buy something off Amazon, so there is nothing putting people off. With more and more people shopping online, more and more people will give to crowdfunder campaigns.

Media, Social Media and YouTube have made it so easy now to let people know about your project and to encourage people to support it. On social media I think people share statuses and links a lot more with other people now, so by putting something online it can quickly be spread and be seen by 1000s of people who you don’t know or will never meet. I have had so many people donate to my crowdfunder that I have never met, which I think is amazing. It touches me when my story touches people that have never met me and they feel so supportive of the project that they feel led to give. This is when crowdfunding is at its best, as it shouldn’t be just friend funding.

Media is a powerful tool

Regardless of what you are raising money for, media is such a powerful tool. Media has the ability to shape our opinions and can encourage us in to action. Well-worded statuses and well-created media can be the difference most of the time between people giving and not giving. Even though I passionately believe in my cause, sometimes media is that powerful that if done well it doesn’t matter what the cause is.

With social media everyone is watching and can watch what you do, so when you start a campaign like a crowdfunder, organisations like news companies, magazines, blogs etc. can pick up on your campaign as they are actively scouring the internet for stories. By this happening you can get coverage for your project and have it exposed to wider audiences.

I am so happy I got in to the crowdfunding game and I hope this project is the start of many more in the future. Crowdfunding is something which is evolving and an industry where there is lots to learn and I would love to experiment further with it.

Are businesses ruining the name of crowdfunding?

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Over the last year I have grown quite tired of seeing companies and businesses asking their fans to bail them out of bad financial positions and using crowdfunding as their vehicle to do this.

Crowd funding websites and services, like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder, have led this growth market, that sees people pledging money to support projects and ideas that they are passionate about:

https://www.kickstarter.com/

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/

I think these services are great for people or organisations that don’t have the resources to accept their own donations and have no other way of raising money. I love going on these sites and seeing people trying to gain support for ideas they are passionate about, people that are trying to make something happen and aren’t letting their dreams or ideas go to waste.

Crowdfunding to save a business

The one thing I detest though, is when I see established businesses who have fallen on hard times who use crowdfunding just to stay afloat. These organisations ask their customers, supporters and fans who have paid in to their organisation for years by consuming their products or services, to then hand over even more money, just for the privilege to continue paying for their products or services.

These businesses, when they ask to be bailed out by supporters are normally ran and owned by people, who have a better quality of life and are in more privileged positions than the people they are asking to put their hands in their pockets. In these situations they are asking for more loyalty from their supporters, but yet these supporters haven’t been treated with any loyalty by the business.

It would be one thing if the business asking for money were offering you the chance to fund something tangible, like a new building or a new scheme but to simply say we have run our organization badly, have got ourselves in to debt and now want you to pay it off is staggeringly poor. If I were to get myself in to debt, I couldn’t set up a crowdfunding page asking members of the public to pay off my debt that I incurred through poorly managing my finances.

Abusing loyalty

I also take a dislike to when social media campaigns start up saying something along the lines of save our organisation, club or company. The way to have save it would have been to run it better in the first place, the horse has already bolted on the easiest way to save it.

If you are a for profit company, you should live or die on the strength of your business and your plans. As a business you shouldn’t let yourself get in to a position where the only thing that can save you is the public’s generosity.

Charities – the original crowdfunders

If you are looking for the public’s generosity to survive, you should be running a charity not a business. Charities are the original crowdfunding platform and have been doing crowdfunding even before anyone had the term crowdfunding. That’s why I love charities and happily donate to them, as by donating you are supporting a cause that you feel passionately about and are doing something to help that cause. You give, knowing that your money is going to fight a battle that can’t be supported in any other way and that the organisation aren’t just using your investment to generate profits for people.

I would implore crowdfunding services to stop businesses using this source of moneymaking to get them out of financial problems. I would also like to implore the businesses themselves to look at other ways of raising capital to get themselves out of trouble, rather than take money away from projects and ideas that could really do with the support.

Support

If you have the spare money and you feel the urge to crowdfund something, please go on to one of the many crowdfunding sites that are out there and find something that inspires you to support. By doing this you can make sure your money is going to help make someone’s dreams come true and that you are investing in something new that you want to see happen, done by someone that couldn’t make it happen in any other way.