In recent years the demand for digital content has rocketed, with no signs of a slowdown. Without question the future of your analogue content in your archive is about digitization but you might be surprised at the ways in which you can monetize archival content, adding new revenue and increase the value of archives.

Here’s a closer look at digitisation and how to achieve ROI by using archival content.

Documentaries and big screen productions

Traditionally, drama has been the big player in monetization, with big money and investments poured into this direction. However, there are signs that the climate is changing, particularly with the influence of major players such as Netflix.

In 2017 Netflix was the proud recipient of its first BAFTA and its first Oscar, but rather than being for one of its drama productions, it was for factual documentaries.

The appetite is beginning to sway towards more factual content. Although investment still lags some way behind drama, there are signs that there will be a closer balance in the future.

Increasingly, new distribution providers like Netflix and Amazon have budgets for their factual programms, and this is good news for anyone with archival content. Without being reliant on money from advertisers, streaming and subscrption providers far freer to make a diverse range of programmes to attract viewers to their package.

Geopolitical events

Archival content isn’t just suitable for documentaries and other entertainment programmes, it can also perform a valuable role in informing the public and providing context.

Recently there have been a surge of geopolitical changes even in regions of the world which were deemed as politically stable. This leaves people with questions about historical events which bear relevance to what’s happening today – and this is where archival content can be invaluable. We can all only learn from history and avoid failures and errors from the past to improve our future.

You might be surprised at the degree of interest in archival footage and the type of content which is in demand. Historical stories and events are never more relevant than they are today, providing context and information to global affairs.

When something appears in the news, there is a surge in demand for archival content which is relevant. This provides new opportunities for revenue without any real need for extensive work to be done.

This phenomenon isn’t isolated to political affairs either; the death of a well-known celebrity will inevitably create a wave of interest in their past. Archival content is the only way to access this, and provides the much-needed information, fulfilling the public demand.

Sale of stock footage

Although there appears to be a downward trend for stock stills, the same can’t be said about footage and clips. This is a market which is rapidly expanding and is expected to climb even further in value.

The ACSIL Global Survey revealed that the footage market was worth around $394 million in 2011. By 2014 it had risen to $550 million and by the end of 2017, the value had jumped further to an estimated $700 million.

There remains scope for the footage market to rise further and although it may face some of the challenges that exist in the photo stock market, it’s not expected to suffer the same oversupply.

This is due in part to the fact that archival content is not as easy to obtain as taking a stock photo. To get high quality footage requires better equipment and more expertise than taking a snap. This greatly narrows the market and provides more opportunities for the companies who have a library of archival content to monetise their asset.

Ways to monetise digital content

Having seen the rise in demand for archival footage, the next hurdle comes from the ways in which it can be monetised.

There are some challenges which must be dealt with. Although archival content doesn’t carry the same workload or expense as commissioning new footage, making it available in digital format may require some work.

There is no question that digitisation is the key to monetising archival content, providing revenue for very little investment in return. However, not everyone will be able to maximise their opportunities.

There may be times when the demand for archival content arises quickly and suddenly and to be able to take advantage, you will need to be able to rapidly locate relevant footage.

Anyone who hasn’t catalogued their archives properly, without using metadata and lots of searchable terms may well miss out. Whether it’s a sports event or a political uprising, monetising archival content requires methodical preparation in advance.

The future

Where there is news there will always be a demand for relevant information to provide depth and extra interest. If you have archival footage, you are sitting on a potential revenue stream that could add value via digitalisation. The range of potential solutions is vast and continuing to grow, so this market is one that is lucrative and well worth the effort.

Interested in exploring more for your archive, please get in touch with us and see what we can do for you.