Opportunities in Streaming Industry

Back in the olden days (2007), a friend described how he was ditching his cable service.  At the time, I thought of myself as progressive and hip  I had satellite TV and it worked just fine. 

But I was intrigued as he described his new alternative: internet TV.  All I could imagine was that there was some form of YouTube or he was going to torrent pirate movies. 

The internet was patchy, streaming was something that might someday happen, but the whole concept that one would leave one’s PC to download during the day, and there would be something to watch that evening sounded dicey.  I was happy with my existing box setup.  Barring a massive storm, there would be something to watch at the end of the day.

That friend, not long after – happy with his decision – and smarting from the sub-prime mortgage crisis figured, there has got to be money in this new, internet-based entertainment business model.  About a year later, fed up with the complex nature of hooking up a separate PC, running a VPN, and the like, he began investigating into dedicated hardware.

Now, this is casting back a bit.  But just as today there are companies building custom devices such as LCR Embedded Systems but all of it was still cumbersome.  Being engineers, we talked about building our own electronic unit.  We had missed the dot com bonanza, but, if the promised higher speed internet did eventually arrive, we figured, this could be our ticket.

And, in doing our research, we find others had already stumbled on the same idea; companies thinking about how to make internet TV simpler and work along the same lines as the more traditional TV remote control

Of course, you know the rest.  2008 Roku was born, and others followed.  By 2014 Amazon Firestick was on the scene.  Today, the speed problem is, for the most part, solved.  And me?  I cannot find a buyer for my satellite dish.   But I continue to wonder, how can I cash in on the streaming industry.

Opportunities to Join the Industry

Companies like Roku are hiring.  But not in droves, and probably not in your area.  And unlike working for the cable company, today’s TV installations have become a commodity service and product.  However, there are other streaming services popping up as the barriers to entry are not as high as they once were.

The streaming services are looking for skills in:

  • Ad placement and marketing
  • Quality assurance
  • Rolling out solutions to multiple platforms
  • Managing personal data
  • Testing applications
  • Encryption services
  • Means of monetizing content
  • Licensing
  • Customer service
  • Content selection and management
  • Billing and revenue.

Another opportunity itself lies in generating content.  This side of the industry is also searching for talent as per Content Product Jobs.  While you may not have direct film-making experience, there are other jobs where one might be able to cross over:

  • Catering
  • Location scouting
  • Content scouting
  • Security
  • Being a grip
  • Negotiating permits

If you feel you have the talent to generate content why not explore that route?  The barriers to entry are falling with the advent of YouTube and Vimeo.  Creating something episodic, even if short, can create a following and catch the eye of content scouts looking for new material, voices and ideas. 

One can start with a couple of YouTube shorts.  These are suggested to YouTube subscribers, who if clicked on and watched to the end enough times, can grow one’s ranking.

Another opportunity lies in advising others on peripheral elements such as network security and VPN; writing reviews about content, and more traditionally, pitching ideas for content.  Being an expert on several devices, platforms and tools can make you the go-to guy.  While marketing yourself can be a challenge, producing helpful videos on such can help.  Alternatively, writing a blog and or answering questions on forums is another way to develop a following.

The overall industry has not reached maturity.  Barring an unforeseen further disruptor, this should continue to create demand for skills related to the streaming industry. 

But streaming shows is not the only route.  Another burgeoning industry is the growing spectatorship associated with egaming.  Part of this industry sees events staged at large venues, however, there are also live-streamed events.  Just like physical sports, these involve sponsorship deals, promotions, etc.

And finally, there is teaching.  Expanding beyond the traditional mode of frontal education, there are now platforms looking at delivering courses via the channels offered by Roku and the other streaming platforms. 

As with all disruption, the opportunities depend upon spotting the trend early on and having some skills that you can apply to get your foot in the door.  Thinking back to 2007 now, it seems the Roku unit was obvious.  The question today is, is there something now that is also a no-brainer?

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