The Open Television Network, which was born this week, is a sneaky little behind-the-scenes platform that lets small media publishers sell content that’s distributed through RSS. It represents an entirely fresh approach to creating an unmediated online video marketplace between content owners/creators and consumers. Big publishers will continue to sell content through major stores like iTunes, but OTN allows publishers to distribute content that, if fairly priced, might make a few bucks.
It works via a technology the company previously built, called KlickTab. Users first set up an account, and then whenever they want to buy content from an OTN publisher, that account is debited when the item is downloaded. OTN lets the user subscribe to an RSS feed with audio or video content, permitting the viewing of headlines of new articles in media players such as iTunes or the Zune player.
Publishers are given instructions to publish their content to the OTN servers so the technology can track downloads and credit their account. The site is self-service, and there are no content gatekeepers. Pornographic content is removed. Downloaded files are not secure as once they hit a user’s machine, they can be copied.
According to OTN CEO, Philip Hodgetts:
“I think it’s really egregious that people would not be willing to pay a few pennies a minute for content.” Television content monetizes at roughly a penny a minute per viewer, taking advertising and cable subscription revenues into account.”
OTN’s fee is 15 percent for the money it collects. The service starts out new users with a $5.00 credit.