Consumers now expect, and demand, content—whether it be movies, TV shows, podcasts, you name it—to be available anytime, anywhere and on any device. You have to deliver.
This is not lost on sponsors and advertisers, either. Consider the fact that already, 55% of revenues within the media and entertainment industry now come from digital sources, like mobile—a percentage that will increase to 62% within the next four years. At the same moment, worldwide digital ad spending has reached the point at which it is surpassing traditional ad spending, and by 2023, will encompass 61% of the global ad market.
In isolation these headwinds are challenging, but accelerating this shift are a rapidly increasing mix of major new disruptors, genre-specific aggregators and niche content owners—all building direct-to-viewer plays. As a media executive, you are seeing firsthand how the digital revolution is turning your industry upside down and spawning this wealth of new competitors. You understand the enormous opportunities that new modes of content delivery—such as video on demand, OTT delivery and streaming media—present to your company, and the rich, personalized experiences they offer to your audiences.
To capture new audiences and outpace change, your organization can’t sit still. It’s time to rethink your culture, your processes and the way you do business. It’s time to transform from the inside out.
Digital transformation isn’t easy. In fact, a Forbes Insights survey of 700 executives found that only 25% of enterprises have made any meaningful progress in digital transformation efforts, and 57% are just starting on the journey.
Media and entertainment executives must move faster. Not sure how to do that?
Here are five steps you can take to digitally transform and better compete today.
To excel as a truly connected, digital media business, you should understand one thing: It’s all about the data. A data strategy is the brains and nervous system of an intelligent digital media enterprise that enables you to better understand and engage with your audiences, make better business decisions, and create new value to build growth.
Data is the key to moving forward with greater confidence, no matter what sector of the industry you represent:
- If you are a broadcaster or network executive, along with building audiences, you are under pressure to keep advertisers happy, deliver compelling content and attract and retain top producers who now have many alternatives for delivering their shows to audiences.
- If you are a pay TV executive, you need to build seamless content experiences across a variety of devices, identify new revenue streams and keep growing subscriptions along with the average revenue per user.
- If you are a sponsor or advertiser, you need real-time metrics to understand where your advertising dollars get the best bang for your buck.
With the right data, a media organization can look at viewing trends, log files, clickstreams and social media comments, and then tailor offerings, advertising and recommendations to each customer.
This in turn will improve their overall experience, increase engagement, and drive brand loyalty and the likelihood of continued subscriptions. One major content provider threw out the tired approach of relying on executive intuition and relies entirely on data throughout its show-planning process, enhanced by data science and machine learning, to predict what its audience wants.
What’s more, with real viewing and engagement data, sponsors and advertisers will have increased confidence in their investments, as they have today with digital platforms. Many media organizations are looking to build addressable TV capabilities that match digital for ROI metrics, and outpace digital with the brand trust and scale of television.
Media companies inherently have an abundance of creative and engineering talent. What is needed is agile technology and a culture of innovation that enables enterprises to act faster, think bigger and promote innovation. However, most of today’s media and entertainment companies are held back by legacy technology and overcautious attitudes from competing with digital-native businesses.
As you embrace digital transformation and data-driven decision making, you will need to identify and leverage the right skills, ranging from technology to leadership. “Digital organizations will have the perfect balance of art and science, with a mixture of creative roles (such as designers and editors) and data-oriented roles (such as engineers and data scientists),” according to a report from the World Economic Forum.
While it may be tempting to hire only those people with data or purely technological skills, it takes a team with a broader set of skills to compete in today’s digital media environment. Video content creators need domain expertise related to their content (such as science or law enforcement); producers need support; sponsors and advertisers need assurance; and audiences need enticement. Such skills do not come out of computer science programs. A media company led by teams of people with both technical and creative backgrounds can deliver proposals and projects with high-quality content that will attract viewers.
No media company can survive on its own in this emerging disruptive digital era. Content designers and producers need to collaborate and share pertinent data and processes. This digital media supply chain links media and entertainment operations, digital advertising, product development, marketing, fulfillment and distribution into an ecosystem of industry partners and contributors.
A 2017 survey of more than 300 executives by Forbes Insights finds that an open-thinking approach—where employees, partners, suppliers and customers have access to your company’s content and data within an open, well-architected platform—increases innovation. In fact, organizations that take this open-thinking approach are six times more likely to see significant increases in the flow of ideas through their organizations.
For media companies, this means looking to partners such as content producers, digital technology providers, advertisers and even competitors to help build digital platforms and share data. This requires a transition from internal, siloed legacy systems to cloud-based platforms. By doing so, you’ll have a network that will help you speed the delivery of digital-based resources and products to your audiences. A platform approach and open thinking also creates a multiplier effect—with partners’ and participants’ enhanced value ultimately contributing to your company’s value—that leads to an environment that is continually growing and expanding.
Just as importantly, this partnership needs to extend to consumers as well. “To engage new audiences, media businesses will need to partner with consumers to co-create and crowdsource material,” according to the World Economic Forum. “With improved connectivity, data collection and analytics, content creators are now able to take advantage of this to harness their audience’s ideas when creating shows. Enabling audiences to interact with content creators has the potential to build more loyalty and engagement with the content, particularly if seamless second-screen support for an interactive, community-based experience can be designed.”
Everyone, including the largest and most well-known media and entertainment companies, is still experimenting and learning to adapt to this fast-changing industry. It’s part of the race to create intellectual property, keep the attention of audiences and adopt cutting-edge technology, all while maintaining a very high broadcast pedigree—to maintain and build the brand. Encourage executives, employees and partners to employ data resources to conduct rapid, ongoing experiments to understand where value can be delivered.
The ability to innovate and “fail fast” comes from a forward-looking corporate culture.
A culture of innovation bears more similarity to a startup than an established company, meaning greater experimentation is encouraged at all levels.
When experimentation is encouraged, you may uncover new ways to monetize content (such as your archives, for example) or new products to consider launching.
The digital disruptors that have been surging across the media and entertainment landscape all start with an advantage over established players—they likely are running their operations in the cloud, and thus are unencumbered by legacy systems. For traditional media companies, the mandate is clear: They must recognize that they are technology companies. This means being capable of exploiting the latest capabilities available to them—such as 5G networking and advanced cloud services—to accelerate opportunities.
Many media and entertainment companies have legacy systems in which processes and data are locked away in siloed environments. It’s time for a change in mindset. Moving to newer platforms such as cloud, even incrementally, should be a key piece of your digital transformation strategy.
Online resources are available to access next-generation functionality, from high-end processing to storage. The 2017 Forbes Insights survey shows that 78% of enterprises expect to increase their usage of outside IT capabilities to enhance their internal systems. These capabilities may be extended to external parties through APIs, cloud services, self-service portals, open data or other means.
Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are delivering greater capabilities to facilitate targeted advertising, forecast market trends, optimize production resources and streamline digital supply chains. For example, a leading broadcaster realized enhanced planning capabilities and greater efficiencies when it added production analytics and forecasting tools to its creative and production workflows.
Adopting the latest technology will increase your organization’s agility and responsiveness to change in your markets, and allow you to more efficiently serve your audiences.
Our audiences, partners, sponsors and advertisers expect you to be a part of the digital revolution that has redefined the way content is created and delivered.
Succeeding in today’s growing digital markets requires bold thinking, and putting the viewer at the center of their activities. Chances are, you already have the resources and raw materials to make this happen—your people, your data and your spirit of innovation. It’s time to bring this all together and reevaluate your rate of change. Are you only doing enough to survive today? Or are you being bold and setting your organization up to thrive?
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