It shouldn’t surprise anyone that everyone is getting into video. More publications are transitioning (ahem, pivoting) to video, while Facebook and Twitter have long supported this media. LinkedIn became one of the last social networks and services to embrace video, but appears to be moving fast to integrate the technology. Last week, CEO Jeff Weiner disclosed to The Information that his company is open to developing or buying original video programs, potentially thrusting LinkedIn into a marketplace already occupied by Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Snap, and others.
LinkedIn has certainly followed a pattern similar to many companies. It began letting its 500 million-plus members post video status updates before extending the capability to advertisers. Now it’s feasible that original content is the next phase of the master plan to capitalize on video, and it could create a business-related network opportunity that’ll rival traditional cable offerings.
“We’re certainly open to the idea of original content and at some point would be very interested in exploring that with various publishers,” Weiner said on stage at The Information‘s Subscriber Summit. He hinted that shows like “Shark Tank” could find a place on the professional social network. Weiner wouldn’t be wrong because that type of content would certainly resonate with members. In fact, LinkedIn could turn itself into a Bloomberg-like channel, offering not only shows around business, but entrepreneurship, sales, professional development, and more. Basically, anything around the Economic Graph.
Simply speculating, it would seem that there are some good options for shows that would tie into LinkedIn. One choice would be the online broadcast network Cheddar, which not only talks about business and technology, but also entertainment. Vox Media could also be an asset or maybe BuzzFeed. But another possibility rests with resources LinkedIn already has in-house: LinkedIn Learning, powered by the company’s acquisition of Lynda.com.
It’s possible that LinkedIn could examine the data behind all of its courses to determine which ones stand out, and which presenters/teachers have a good rapport with students. From there, some could be transformed into actual broadcasts that air exclusively on LinkedIn.
Shows that air on LinkedIn will likely have a business focus to them, which might be different from what you’d see on Apple TV, Facebook Watch, YouTube Red, and even on Twitter. Broadcasting NFL games wouldn’t make sense, but shows like “Shark Tank”, a competition show like “Planet of the Apps”, or anything else that appeals to the working person may work.
With original video content comes more advertisers interested in targeting professional-minded viewers who will sit through 30 minute or longer shows. This increases revenue for the Microsoft-owned company and furthers Weiner’s ambitions of improving the Economic Graph. Content creators might be intrigued by the opportunity too, seeing a better chance their shows will reach a greater number of professional workers versus if they sold to Facebook, YouTube, or Apple. But nothing is a sure thing and LinkedIn has a lot to do to market its social network and assure both creators and advertisers that it can produce what it promises and also show that it can generate the results.