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Niche content ‘now economically viable’

The content market is polarising with niches “now economically viable,” according to former Amazon executive Daniel Winner.

Speaking at the Future of Media Distribution conference in London yesterday, Winner, who was until recently head of UK business development for Amazon’s Appstore, said that he believes there are potential innovation opportunities around niche content.

“We’ve been in a world where customers have been served by pay and multi-channel TV. The economics of pay and multi-channel TV being such that it’s only been worthwhile serving audiences that have a certain sort of size. But now we’re in a different world and niches are now economically viable,” said Winner.

As an example, he named Qello Concerts, a pay service that gives users access to music concerts across connected devices like Apple TV, Playstation, Xbox, Roku, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV, which he claimed “does very well”.

In the app space, he also cited the Headspace guided meditation app, which is available on monthly subscription basis. “They make very good money serving niches that have a very strong need for certain types of content,” said Winner.

“In terms of that market polarisation, I think you’re going to see the people at the top of the tree – they’ve got that great, must-have content – doing really well. [Then] you’re going to see people who can serve niches build new businesses around them.

“But if you’re not in those two groups, I think you’re going to be squeezed – you’re going to be in the squeezed middle and you’re going to have to really potentially re-think your business.”

Before taking his Amazon Appstore role at the beginning of 2013, Winner led business development at Lovefilm in the period immediatelyafter Amazon’s acquisition of the business. Prior to this, he worked for companies including Vodafone, Sky and the BBC.