By Evan DeSimone
Miguel Santos is the General Manager of Myx TV, the only English-language, multicultural Asian American entertainment network in the United States. Myx is in the process of rolling out its new slate of programming, including a new original series, “The Doll Life,” which it will distribute on both digital and linear channels. For this week’s 5Qs, we spoke with Santos about the interplay between digital and linear television and how to create content that plays well on both.
Prior to Myx TV you were with Viacom, so you have experience on the linear side. What lessons are you taking from that experience as Myx TV moves into digital programming?
The same principles in TV programming apply to digital programming. It’s still ultimately about content creation, curation, and monetization but applied in a non-linear fashion. In fact, the things I’m learning from digital programming is actually helping me become more creative with how we program the linear channel. The lines between both worlds have been blurred for quite some time now.
“The Doll Life” is premiering on your linear and digital channels. What drove the decision to utilize the digital medium?
When we produce original TV shows like “The Doll Life”, we never intended for it to be seen only on our linear channel because we would automatically limit the potential audience as more and more people in our target market cut the cord and flock to digital platforms to consume video content. For me, a TV is a screen you choose to watch your content on regardless of platform, so it wasn’t difficult to decide to stream shows online.
What role does digital distribution play in your overall strategy at Myx TV?
Digital distribution is absolutely critical to our overall strategy. The cable industry is dominated by the major media conglomerates which makes it very difficult for new and independent cable networks like Myx TV to compete and get attention. Digital distribution somehow levels the playing field because it gives us more opportunities to be discovered by anyone interested in the type of entertainment we provide as multicultural Asian American programmers. If new fans who discover us online decide to watch our cable channel, great. But if they choose to only watch shows on our digital platforms, that’s fine too. It’s always good to give viewers options.
YouTube just announced its new SVOD service, YouTube Red. Is that more or less appealing to you for Myx TV content than YouTube’s current ad-supported monetization structure?
I always believed the launch of a YouTube SVOD service was inevitable since it is the world’s largest digital video platform. Offhand, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad development because if YouTube can successfully convert enough existing users into paid subscribers, the payoff for creators from subscription revenue is potentially much bigger than ad revenue earnings. However, this all hinges on how effectively YouTube evolves its image from a free video sharing platform to a premium video service like Netflix for YouTube Red to benefit all of its partners. It’s not easy changing user perceptions and habits when everyone is so used to watching videos on YouTube for free for over a decade.
How much new Myx TV content will be available through digital platforms? Are you holding anything back as linear exclusive?
All of our original content will be available on our digital platforms. We are also looking at producing more digital exclusive content, building on what we started with the launch of our YouTube originals a few months ago. The only thing we’re holding back as linear exclusives are the movies we acquired which comprises a big chunk of our TV schedule… but you never know!