There was a comedian by the name of Sam Kinison who used to write about starving people who lived in the desert. “You can’t grow food in the desert,” he would shout, “so move to where the food is!” Without question, we all know that broadcast is a huge entity on which billions of dollars are spent every year, and billions of people watch broadcast. But billions of people are also watching and consuming content on other screens. It’s time we start bringing content to the people who are using mobile phones, laptops, tablets, desktops and other portable devices.
One of the most powerful (and wealthy) demographics among those consuming content on the go are executives in the “C-Suite.” (The term refers to a corporation’s most important senior executives, whose titles tend to start with the letter C, as in chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief information officer.) So I created C-Suite TV, an on-demand OTT network with programming designed for the C-Suite crowd and delivered entirely online. We first previewed it at the National Association of Broadcasters show, got a great response, and officially launched it in July.
C-Suite TV is an IP-based on-demand business channel featuring interviews and shows with business executives, thought leaders, authors and celebrities that also provides news and information for business leaders. This online channel is now home to such shows as C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett, MYOB—Mind Your Own Business and Bestseller TV, with more shows to come.
Jeffrey Hayzlett, founder of C-Suite TV
When the idea first came to mind, broadcast and cable dominated content delivery and a company called Netflix was just gaining ground. The biggest challenge we’ve faced building C-Suite TV was finding the people who have already been doing it, and doing it well. The other challenge we faced was getting people to think differently about the way video content is delivered. We’re so used to broadcast and cable, or the idea that we have to build a YouTube channel. But the fact of the matter is you can build whatever you want.
To overcome the technical challenges, we partnered with a company called Piksel (headquartered in New York City) that provides content delivery services to hundreds of media organizations that create content. They’ve been at this for a long time, so it was natural for us to go to them for the technology. We are great at creating the content, knowing where it needs to go and monetizing it, but we needed someone to help us run the back end. Piksel offers technology called Piksel Video Platform that sits behind the scenes and runs everything for us. Piksel’s software is allowing me to offer many shows to people whenever they want to watch them, something I couldn’t do before.
This type of over-the-top technology is going to change the way television is delivered. Really, it already has. Now consumers get to be the king of their own content, summoning it whenever they want.
The audience we are targeting is unique and has really influenced how we went about building C-Suite TV. The people in the C-Suite are always on the go, and for them to be able to summon content at their demand is an incredible opportunity. There are over 8 million businesses in North America; 7.5 million of them are very, very small. Less than 10 percent of the total number of businesses control 90 percent of the B2B spend. We only want to talk to them. Using an OTT strategy, we are bringing the content they want and need directly to them in the ways they want to have it. There is an incredible amount of value in that.
Other companies are already seeing this. The first to jump in have been Netflix and Hulu, both arguably leading the way for OTT to become a main way to deliver content. In April, AT&T and the Chernin Group announced plans to invest $500 million to create a new venture whose sole purpose is to acquire, invest and launch OTT video services. Slowly but surely, networks like HBO, NBC and Bloomberg are building apps to live alongside others in app stores across streaming devices.
Now that we have launched C-Suite TV, I’m sure there will be things that we adapt and change because that’s the mode we are in. But building and launching C-Suite TV with Piksel has been relatively seamless. For anyone looking to build his or her own network, the best way to do it is by doing it the best way for you. YouTube will tell you to do it one way, networks will tell you to go another way. The key is to do what works for you, and that’s what we were able to do with C-Suite TV.
Based in New York, Jeffrey Hayzlett is a global business celebrity and speaker, bestselling author, contributing editor and host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett on Bloomberg Television. He is also the CEO of The Hayzlett Group, an international strategic business consulting company focused on leading change and developing high growth companies.