The upward trajectory of over-the-top content doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon. According to a report from PR firm Edelman, average OTT TV viewing in the U.S. rose from 3.6 in 2014 to 12.1 in 2017 and is projected to bump up to 18.9 in 2020.
But it’s not enough for some companies to just fold their content under streaming giants like Netflix or Amazon–creating bespoke platforms and apps has become a priority for some. Disney’s headline grabbing announcement in August that it would be pulling its movies and shows from Netflix to start its own platform in 2019 was a reminder of how important original content is, as well as forcing companies to consider if their IP is unique enough to survive in an increasingly fragmented market.
Noticing the foothold OTT has been gaining, agency WME-IMG launched Made to Measure in 2015, a free, ad-supported fashion network featuring runway shows, documentaries like The September Issue, and fashion adjacent films including American Gigolo. And it seems as if M2M has settled into its niche quite nicely. According to the company, there are now more than 700 pieces of content, traffic has increased 30% year-over-year, and users watch an average of 12 videos per visit. With that solid base, M2M is digger deeper into original content in the hopes that users will have even more of an incentive to visit the site, as opposed to having a catalogue of acquired films that may be on other streaming platforms.
“As we grow, that’s where our focus is on because even in the course of a year and half, acquisitions are becoming increasingly more expensive and the amount of licensing time is much less for what you’re spending,” says Susan Hootstein, executive producer of M2M. “So where we found that to be cost effective in the beginning and to pull an audience, as with HBO or Netflix or anybody else in that space, everyone has to lean towards original content.”
M2M’s fall slate of original content includes the documentary Iron Curtain, which takes a look at the rise of post-Soviet fashion, What Lies Beneath, vignettes about what people wear that no one sees, and Interior/Exterior, a series that explores who objects and environments influence who we are.
“With the original programming we have a triangle: The first piece being does it have our voice? Secondly is it relevant now in popular culture? And then the third piece of it is are we able to monetize on it?” Hootstein says.
Part of M2M’s monetization strategy has also extended to branded content. Although specific details weren’t given, Hootstein did mention her team is working on a series in partnership with Facebook and Cartier, and that they’ve collaborated with Marc Jacbos and Valentino in the past.
M2M initial proof of concept has been proven–the focus for Hootstein now is to make a name for the company with original content. The lane, for now, seems pretty clear–Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu don’t appear to have any major original fashion-centric programming coming up. However, just because you make something someone else isn’t, doesn’t mean anyone is going to watch.
“When M2M launched, the focus was on creating the best stories through the lens of fashion,” Hootstein says. “Now that we’ve accomplished a large part of that goal, we can expand our focus to product and audience growth.”