One would have to have been living under a rock for the last five years to have missed the monumental land-slide changes occurring in the media and entertainment space.
Now, change in the media industry is nothing new: we’ve moved from black and white, to colour, to high definition, and more recently to the heights of 4k; from giant-corner-hogging-boxes to ultra-thin wall-hanging screens; from limited channels to a seemingly infinite amount of specialty networks.
But until more recently, these changes were evolutionary, moving the industry forward a step at a time, rather the revolutionary change that digital and online viewing has sparked.
The rise of online video, short-format content, and streaming services has shaken up the industry, encouraging consumers to watch what they want when they want it, and warning that the standard fixed and mediated linear programming model could be obsolete.
Many incumbent brands are already showing their hand and making strides to evolve, and we have discussed previously how many newer tech brands and services are also beginning to ‘test the waters’ of original content.
What does this mean for the old school players? Streaming video services completely bypass the traditional video-aggregation and distribution models that free-to-air broadcast networks, cable providers, and satellite systems use, completely disrupting and disregarding the value chains and dedicated infrastructure that have historically been critical to the television industry.
So, what are some of the key barriers that incumbents in the industry are now facing, and how can they innovate their offering and distribution models to keep ahead, keep afloat and keep relevant in this evolved landscape?
- SECOND SCREENING
Second-screening is usually seen as a distraction, rather than an opportunity. But if we view it as a positive disruption to the consumer’s experience, embracing the symbiosis between multiple screens this could open up a number of new concepts and strategies.
Truly understanding and optimising this modern phenomenon, requires media producers of today to invest and innovate, to measure engagement and attention across both multiple platforms and multiple screens.
- THE BINGING TREND
A bigger back catalogue means more opportunities for binging. Whilst consumers don’t necessarily demand new content, they want a lot of it in one go. This could be beneficial for many of the larger entertainment providers who are finding themselves under attack from the newer services and studios.
Binging will drive innovation, but it will be integral for media companies to understand consumer behavior. Until producers truly grasp what is behind the mindset of sitting on a sofa for an entire weekend consuming content, and why particular shows truly sate this thirst, they won’t be able to innovate and create a distribution model and content ‘formula’ that caters to the different types of binge-watchers out there.
Streamed content creates an opportunity for personalisation that many traditional media channels have missed out on. Content discovery optimisation and targeted suggestions allow both new and old content to be provided to the right consumer, at the right time, maximising ratings and experience.
Netflix’s ‘suggested for you’ selection may seem fairly standard but it has already gone many steps further than just side-stepping to a similar show. With suggestions such as “Blockbusters with a strong female lead”, the algorithm is far more advanced than many of us will ever understand. Considering 75% of user activity on the service is based on these suggestions, and they have 117 million plus subscribers globally, this system seems to work pretty well for many.
It is clear that the industry, the consumer and the brands that play in this space are all changing. From encouraging viewers to pay subscriptions, to creating a perfect experience where adverts can enhance the viewing, industry players will need to adapt their offering, innovate around customer experience, and embed strategies that better utilize the analytics available.
In short, like winter, change is coming. If not already here.