Moving Forward with Enterprise TV – Blocks and Files

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NetApp was the first company we cover to launch its own in-house TV channel to market its products and strategy. Now HPE has gone one better, in a creative sense, and is producing its own FinTech TV sitcom.

NetApp TV started in 2021 as a full-fledged streaming TV service. The company chose to do so rather than using YouTube as a distribution medium, which was Intel’s way of getting potential customers to watch the company’s content.

Intel’s presence on YouTube is subdivided into seven channels and each contains uploaded content. This is the Newsroom channel home screen:

Consult subscriber numbers; it is a measure of the success of television channels. Many of the videos are short, talking, one to two minutes long, and a bit corny. An example: Happy Customer Appreciation Day has CEO Pat Gelsinger thanking customers for their loyalty.

NetApp Television

NetApp is altogether more professional on its TV output. It has its own video website with four channels: Insight, Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Data ONTAP.

NetApp TV compared to HPE

Programs (videos) are usually two to five minutes long and can form a series, such as the five-episode Data Protection Dojo. Think of them as mini-tutorials with a talking head, a NetApp person, introducing a topic, and using a few PowerPoint slides as reference points:

NetApp TV compared to HPE
NetApp Data Protection Dojo video screenshot

They don’t use professional presenters, but instead focus on product managers and product line managers talking about their portfolio areas.

HPE fintech sitcom

But HPE, along with Nvidia, presented its own sitcom. “Get Ahead” is a streaming TV production that follows the lives of your business people involved in applying AI technology to a financial services business; a customer knowledge manager, a data scientist and an IT manager.

They are played by professional actors and each of the series’ four episodes is professionally produced, directed and scripted. Each episode is five to nine minutes long, and each is linked to downloadable HPE documentation, such as “An IT Manager’s Guide to Moving Forward”; PDF brochures to help viewers decide whether to follow by contacting HPE.

This seems to us to be a very inventive way of using television content to convey the message of a provider to an audience. No talking heads; rather fictional real people in real roles encountering real problems in a humorous setting. It was launched, we believe, by Microsoft in 2017 with a Windows 95 video billed as “the world’s first cyber sitcom,” featuring Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston.

Why did HPE do this?

HPE told us, “The ambition was to break the conformity with traditional AI marketing and challenge the market. The team aimed to convey familiar characteristics and traits of AI team dynamics by highlighting the realities of implementing AI. »

How was the concept born?

“The idea for the sitcom was based on qualitative research on the challenges of AI projects within financial services organizations that our team conducted. The goal was to create content that conveys the realities of implementing work of AI and the contextual challenges that AI teams face.”

Why three main characters?

“A common theme apparent in all the interviews was the ‘trifecta’ of the roles involved. Participants said that product/line of business managers, data scientists, and IT (computer/data engineers) play a key role in technology selection and AI project delivery. Research suggests that these roles often have different priorities, leading to friction that can often delay or derail projects. This friction is believed to be the result of different job characteristics, work methodologies, and knowledge of AI in the broader business context.

Pure video content

Pure Storage, in partnership with Cisco, produced a cartoon about a character called Francois – who works with the FlashStack converged infrastructure product – and overcomes legacy infrastructure:

Pure's TV compared to HPE

It’s 1:20, available on YouTube, and best seen only once. A second episode covers professional services. There is a separate “FlashBlade//S Unboxing” video with (apparently) real people installing a FlashArray//S system. The Pure Storage YouTube channel has 7,780 subscribers. It’s a start, but there’s still a long way to go to catch up with Intel’s 534,000 YouTube channel subscribers.

Switch from YouTube

Having a supplier-focused YouTube channel is not at all unusual. The Dell EMC channel has 47,900 subscribers. There is one HPE Technology channel with 53,600 subscribers. Infinidat also has a YouTube channel, with 585 subscribers. But these YouTube videos are standard fare.

The Wasabi Cloud YouTube channel features “Migrate with Nate” videos with fictional business characters singing their lines about issues that drive them to use the Wasabi Cloud. This use of “singing reads” is different from the standard output of the talking-head provider YouTube, but not that different.

We have come a long way since them and this can be seen as another step on the way to providers controlling their own media content. In 2006, former FT journalist Tim Foremski wrote a famous blog titled “Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die!” in which he said that traditional journalism based on press releases was ineffective. He followed up with a 2009 article saying “Every company must become a media company” using Cisco as an example of a company that was also a content producer on its own offerings.

Static company-produced content about a company’s products and services has again evolved and become dynamic with streaming television. Today, many companies are their own YouTube video channel producers. Companies like Intel produce talking head videos for YouTube viewers. Pure streams cartoon videos on YouTube. NetApp advanced the art by producing videos with itself as the destination site for viewers, not YouTube. And HPE, along with Nvidia, is now launching its own sitcom. What is the next step ? Characters interacting in a metaverse with online GreenLake subscription options?

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