The media and entertainment industry is in the midst of a transformation. Digitization has obviously been the biggest harbinger of change which has led to a perceptible change in how people consume entertainment. Unlike the older millennials, who grew up watching their favorite shows on the family television as per broadcast schedules, the new normal today is on-demand, screen-agnostic entertainment.
Media consumption has become far more personal, and with the explosion of data availability, it has made streaming content over the internet affordable and accessible. These changes have had noticeable impact on the media industry at large. Television and AGV segments are expected to lead industry growth and offer immense growth opportunities in digital technologies as well. Here are some trends that we can foresee over the next few years:
Moving beyond mass content generation. Media companies now need to focus not only on the amount of content that they produce, but also need to think far more strategically about who and how they are consuming their content. To succeed in this industry, media companies now must go in with a combination of superior content, the right technology layer to deliver this to the right audience, as well as an attractive and cost-efficient channel to deliver it.
Consolidation in media ecosystem. Consolidation in the media ecosystem was inevitable and the trend is not surprising. From buying studios and commissioning original content, media organizations are now looking at getting a handle on the technology that drives discovery and engagement on their environment. The lines between content production and distribution are blurring because today customer experience is paramount. People who want to watch video content are spoilt for choice. In the past, we saw a sort of reverse integration globally, where TV companies bought studios to have better control on the content. Now, the focus has moved to the last mile.
Last-mile customer connect. Media companies in India are fast realizing that the current last-mile connectivity vehicles, whether DTH providers or syndicating to social media channels or third-party streaming companies might be too generic. They may not be the best modes to connect to specific Indian audiences, especially those outside of top urban centers. While multi distribution is not being replaced, to get your audiences to choose to watch your content is in the ease of discovery. This can happen only if you are front and center in their lives. Most OTT companies within large broadcasters are resonating this theme in the way their organizations are structured with a strong product and technology mission, indicative of their future plans.
True demand. As content distribution channels evolve, we are seeing a shift from having a bunch of entertainment options bundled-in, to a scenario where a consumer can pick and pay for only the options that they want. We have a strong argument for how rural India could very well be OTT-first, given the proliferation of mobile phone connectivity and the lack of cable and satellite reach, let alone basic electricity.
Regulations, such as the recent ruling on TRAI’s tariff order on individual pricing and packaging of TV channels offered to subscribers, will lead to highly customized packages led by consumer choice. For media companies, this also means using data analytics intelligently to influence consumers more effectively, such that they are able to drive demand for their individual offerings without being bullied out by pricing-driven bundling.
Over the next few years, we could see an M&E revolution that will have a far-reaching impact on how news and entertainment content is created, marketed, and distributed. The most nimble and dynamic organizations will survive and even flourish. Those who do not will have a hard time catching up. Content is still king, but the customer’s experience of how they consume it will what will make or break it.