In Saturated Markets, How Much Is Enough?

In the ever-growing saturation of the online video player market, TumTiki has just entered the fray and its future is not entirely clear.  While they seem to be aggregating full TV episodes, movies and short-form content from other sites like Hulu and Amazon.com – with a reported 700,000 free videos at launch – their business model is a little unclear.  They are running ads from the serving sites and don’t plan on selling their own advertising for a while.  The site is backed by rural communications company, Frontier Communications, and they will have to do quite a bit of marketing and promotional programming to drive users to this new site amongst many.

Before looking at the possible upside, its important to look at the issues:

  • The video quality is quite jerky at the beginning of each episode.  They are certainly not of the quality of Hulu or the ABC App.
  • For a media planner, will it be even more confusing as to who they would go to for an ad buy?  Currently, just the ownership of Hulu and questions of which team to buy through is challenging enough.  With added resources, TumTiki’s ad sales team will seemingly have even more issues.
  • While they did just launch yesterday, it seems they need to do a bit more work on the UI to make the site more compelling than other video aggregators.  I would argue that they truly need an editorial staff to strengthen the offering and attempt to make it stick out from the pack.
  • On a nit-picky side, I watched a ONCE UPON A TIME episode and it quickly moved on to play an episode of GRIMM’S.  I would have preferred a setup like youtube that shows video options after a video plays rather than going directly into another episode or one from another series. Also, once the other series begins, the browser chrome should change to the new series (but that’ just being really picky…)

There are some good possibilities that are still too early to tell whether they will work or not. 

  • There is the seeming promise that you will be able to comment while watching the show, but it does not say whether that comment will appear at the same time in the episode.  The technology for that has been available for more than a year, so it should be included.
  • They intro video also promises a loyalty rewards program based on how much content you watch.  Depending on what the mechanics are and what the payoff could be, that piece could be integral to the site’s success.
  • In some markets, they will be offering local content mixed in with the rest of the content.  This could be good for finding items, but I’ve got to imagine that if someone is really searching for local content, they will find the originating source as this site is just an aggregator.

 All in, it begs the question of launch strategy for new sites in any of the saturated markets.  Do you launch just to get out there with promises of things to come?  Do you tinker until it truly does set itself apart?  In the case of TumTiki, it seems like they might be getting buzz too early and those early samplers will not get the full value that they might have if there were a soft launch first.  Again, only time will tell if what they’ve done is enough to clear a big enough market share to be a big player.

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