While broadcast TV, independent filmmaking and corporate work take the spotlight most of the time, there are hundreds, if not thousands of special interest video markets that don’t have their own tiny cable TV channel. The impact of these markets is often overlooked, but they often have big budgets and big productions. Let’s look at one example:
Drum Corps International is the organization that oversees numerous marching groups that go back many, many decades. If you haven’t heard of DCI, that’s okay. Some may call marching bands a “niche” market, but here are some facts that help to illustrate how many people DCI affects.
Drum Corps International delivers the message of “excellence in performance and in life” to more than 7.2 million young people, ages 13-22 involved in performing arts in the United States. Active participants in U.S.-based drum and bugle corps hail from more than 15 countries and the Summer Music Games Tour includes more than 130 events throughout North America. Total attendance at tour events exceeds 365,000 people.
Each year, more than 8,000 students audition for the fewer than 3,500 positions available in top-tier DCI member corps. More than 5,000 members directly participate annually. 72% of these are full-time college students and 59.6% of the current college students are pursuing music education degrees, while 65% of those that indicated they are high school students that intend to major in music education.
While an exclusive number of students participate on the field with a DCI drum corps, millions follow the corps of DCI by attending competitions, participating in DCI-sponsored educational programs and events, purchasing merchandise, and simply by being fans–following the exploits of their favorite corps in ways reminiscent of the Grateful Dead’s Deadheads, or the Boston’s Red Sox Nation. More than 25,000 high school students attended at least one of 10 major DCI events in 2006 as part of a group, while thousands more attended these events individually, and tens of thousands attended tour stops throughout the country.
Internationally, more than 14 million adults and family members associated with targeted performing arts students. This is a highly loyal participant base of nearly 250,000. There was more than 365,000 paid event attendees at 135 events during the 2006 Summer Music Games Tour. If you looked at just the World Championship alone, combined World Championship event audiences near 60,000.
What would you give to have a dedicated and enthusiastic following like that?
DCI recently produced a video to show off the 2007 season. It not only does a good job showing the power and majesty of what the kids on the field make, it also goes a long way to demonstrating the high quality of the video produced for DCI. It may be “special interest” but it uses the same tools we use for everything else, and has same high quality of any national network sporting event.
Yahoo itself lists 57 different special interest video categories. Guess how many categories have videos there for sale… just seven.
When you come to think of it, almost any television is a “special interest video.” Go beyond the Golf channel or NFL network on cable. Most anything that can be produced is targeted at a particular market. That’s how ads are sold.
Let’s consider the Superbowl.
Yea, that American showdown that marks the culmination of hundreds of football games across the country, countless hours of analysis and pontification… it supposedly reaches more eyeballs than any other television program in the US. Yet, you don’t see laxative commercials. No Time-Life music CD collection, or Gazelle exercise machines.
This is because the Superbowl audience typically isn’t one who would have any interest in buying those products. Demographics show that the target (i.e. limited) audience for the Superbowl is young men. This is probably why there aren’t many tampon commercials during the Superbowl.
It may be a “big” TV event, however, the advertisers know the specific audience who has a special interest in the Superbowl video. It’s not everybody. It attracts a certain group of people. For the advertisers looking to reach those people, it is worth advertising during the game. The game becomes, in essence, one of the largest “special interest video” productions.
The same thing can be said for basketball.
It attracts only a certain group of people. (but not me.)
Let’s skip sports altogether.
What of CNBC. An entire network for news and financial information. As universal a issue as money may be, there are still targeted ads because there is a huge portion of the population who doesn’t care to, or doesn’t have the time to delve into the nitty-gritty of what CNBC offers. To those that don’t watch, CNBC is “special interest.”
Yet, despite all this “limitation” on the video produced, we all use the same tools and end up producing high-quality productions. You can make a video that is about what you are most interested in. Your genuine interest will force you to make a better, more interesting video. Then what you need to think about is using the new direct distribution models to allow you to reach those who are especially interested in your video.
If you search Special Interest Video, you’ll find hundreds of links to videos themselves, and to companies trying to sell you the tips to making special interest videos. The advantage you have is you already know how to make the videos. You may not have made them because you didn’t see a market. Well, from creating beautiful HDR still images, executing the perfect masterkickflip, coiling a bandsaw blade, to building a realistic river for your HO-scale train track or putting up an HF dipole on a treeless mountain top in less than 2 minutes.
There is video available for any interest.
So, more than producing that cool feature film you have in you head, but can’t get anyone to believe in, how about some other interest you have, something you enjoy, and know many other people enjoy. How about taking time to put that on video and see where that takes you.