Last time I mentioned the "problems" with the shopping channels mainly
- High prices and postage
- Narrow Range of Crafts
- Demonstrations and demonstrators continually interrupted
- Continual Hard Selling
- Low quality goods
Historically television has been a remarkably expensive medium. On terestrial channel even a 30 seconds advert can cost an arm and a leg. Digital broadcasting helped to bring down the costs a little and meant dedicated shopping channels could actually start in the UK. Even so the cost of broadcasting remained high, especially if you wanted to appear on Freeview, either with your own channel or by buying airtime off other channels.
The reality is these broadcasting costs put huge pressure on the shopping channels. They HAVE to make x thousands of pounds per hour in order to cover these costs. They continually monitor how much is coming in, minute by minute and if it isn't enough then bang they are on to the next item, no ifs or buts. They also spend their time watching each others channels which can just adds to the pressure.
But now there is a golden opportunity to solve all these issues, for at least some crafters.
Well it's the internet which could make all the difference. Video on the internet has been around for a while but has certainly become a lot more popular over the last couple of year as most people have moved across to broadband. Now people are starting to watch more and more programmes through their internet connection IPlayer, ITV CatchUp, TV CatchUp, Seesaw.com are just some of the avenues available. Just as important are the number of people access these services though their TVs rather than through the computer, via a Wii, PS3, a media centre or other compatible devises.
And here's the BIG DIFFERENCE... the companies only have to pay per viewer rather than pay a huge upfront charge for air time. This charge can be as little as 5p per visitor hour so the whole pressure for bringing in the money is decreased as the overheads are so much less. Only get 100 views and you only have to pay £5....marry this up with the ability to show these programmes "On Demand" or live and this could revolutionise shopping television.
In addition to the above there ways of reducing the cost of actually producing the "programmes" (which I wont go into here) so we have a service with substantially lower overheads.
1. Shows which are about a craft rather than a product.
2. Shows on demand.
3. Real Bargains.
4. Increased "interactiveness" with the shows.
1. Reduction of overheads.
2. Opportunities for selling during pre-roll, mid-roll and post roll (ad slots). Extra text, image and flash based advertising can be made available through a clickable "L" not embedded in the video.
3. The opportunity for "one click" purchases.
4. As the shows aren't tied to a particular product they would have a much longer shelf life. The return on per-hour recording would be much higher. Products can be added and removed in relation to stock.
5. The ability to test / develop new lines / crafts which could, when ready, be moved over to the traditional TV shopping outlet.
5. Potential to sell direct advertising (and obviously bring in an income making those adverts!)
6. Access to a Library of Crafts and Techniques which could be called upon quickly as relevant products become available..
So the viewer ends up with quality demonstrations and access to real bargains. The shopping channels end up with happier viewers / customers and larger profit margins. Who wouldn't want to watch a good demonstration several time even if you have to watch a pre-roll or mid show advert. This obviously wouldn't suit all craft products and the shows would have to be carefully scripted to ensure they weren't too closely associated with a particular item,
The really interesting question is, Who is going to move into this new higher quality of telly shopping first? Will it be one of the existing shopping channels or are they too suck in their ways. They already have the facilities and the infrastructure to do it but have so far suck to duplicating their old TV model online. Will it be one of the large existing internet shops or will they see the cost of setting up this system as being unrealistic at this moment in time. Or maybe it will be someone completely new although with no existing customer base they will definitely be starting with a disadvantage.
We await developments!