By MICHAEL ERLEWINE
Just when you think there are no more new opportunities, one pops up, in this case a demographic not yet exploited by big advertising: the entire world of hotel and college dorm rooms. Hotels all over the U.S. and the world are jettisoning some of the standard cable channels and simply building their own networks, their own golf and fishing channels, and in this case their own photography channel, “Photography NOW!”
The big-money folks missed this one, but perhaps not for long. Independent photographers like me just happen to be in the right place at the right time, and we have a five-year exclusive contract to build our own channel for video and still photography, and just in time.
Professional photography has been in a world of hurt these last years and scores of independent videographers are all dressed up with few places to go. “Photography NOW!” will be a channel with 12 on-demand half-hour shows, each show consisting of three eight-minute segments, so, a total of 108 segments in all. And yes, we are looking for talent to host those segments.
I have been an entrepreneur almost all of my life, so there must be some younger photographers out there who want to communicate what you know. This would include creating your own 8-minute video segments in HD, even though in some instances they will be delivered in 720p and MPEG-2.
Our audience will be the general public, although one that is upscale enough to be staying at some of the finest hotels in the country. I have had one channel online since last winter and the stats are good. People are watching.
That channel is Spirit Grooves, and is an alternative to more traditional spiritual approaches. The byline is “Alternative Awareness” and we cover all kinds of topics, everything from the effect of solar flares on the mind, eclipses on the psyche, and rites of passage. Basically the show is where science meets the mystery traditions. You can see how it is a little bit alternative.
And the search for new and different content is just now surfacing. In the months to come more and more alternative content will be in demand. I am told that the big cable companies are finally getting the message that there are all kinds of niche markets to be serviced.
So the hunt is on of content. Our Spirit Grooves channel already reaches over two million viewers and that number is climbing fast. As mentioned, this is an untapped market that is being tapped right now. In a way, hotels offer us a captive audience that is looking for entertainment or at least diversion.
Advertisers are already sniffing this out and lining up, so I am told. And we share in that ad revenue. I will split the ad income 50/50 with any of my segment hosts, as well as encourage them to push (tastefully, of course) their own websites and products. In six months this will be history, so now is a good time to ask yourself if you want to host some segments, get in front of a camera, and create some shows. Opportunity is knocking.
As an independent photographer who is producing this show, I am looking for still and video photographers who are ready, willing, and able to make their own video segments for the new show. It could be a new technique, camera or lens, or a tutorial on how to use photo equipment or software. Interest in cameras is taking off and everyone is taking photographs, if only on smart phones.
“Photography NOW!” will cover a wide variety of topics, so this is an opportunity for those who are looking for opportunities to show their skills and seize the day.
Michael can be reached at [email protected].