The M&E sector has cottoned on to the digitization and the SMAC stack. That’s evident from a move towards what is popularly known as over-the-top offerings or OTT. Simply put, it’s the delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content. Running on the cloud, it’s already being termed as the future of the media and entertainment sector. That’s because it makes it easily shareable on social media and readily accessible on mobiles.
“Social media is very important to the M&E sector. It’s a good way to reach a large customer base. People like to read bits of news on social media sites and then come to our sites to get in-depth reports. It’s a different way of reaching customers,” says Colin Bodell, EVP and CIO, Time Inc.
While that’s a great way to reach customers, it’s also important to note that going digital creates a lot of data that needs to be put to good use. That’s where analytics steps in. Bodell believes that analytics is really important. Over the years, Time has accumulated a vast store of customer data with magazine and online subscriptions. Using this data to predict the types of content that its subscribers are interested in allows its advertising partners to predict targeted ads. Gathering all this data together and running ‘what if’ scenarios on them helps grow Time’s business, says Bodell.
He gives an example of how analytics can help publishing companies to increase revenue. “We can determine, for example, that people who subscribe to Time magazine are also people who lease cars from Ford, the automobile company. We know that x number of people who have subscribed to Time will be finishing their lease in the next three months. Ford has the opportunity to advertise to this targeted audience,” he says. In fact, the company falls in the bunch of a few who employ a data scientist to analyze all this data.
That’s just one of the many ways in which analytics has helped grow a company’s business. And that’s one of the biggest differences between the digital and print media. “The ability for us to experiment and get rapid feedback in what our audience is interested in is a big differentiator. You couldn’t do that in print. You lose a lot of visibility with how many people are reading your stuff in print. But online, you can see what someone is interested in,” says Bodell.
That’s just one of the many ways that SMAC is creating a revolution in these organizations.
Sayed Peerzade, group CIO, Reliance Entertainment Group says that in 2016, post the launch of 4G, he expects to see a huge difference in customer experience in terms of online content, be it movies, games or consumer apps. The SMAC stack will make business flexible and enable expansion, he says.“
Adopt the SMAC stack, expand its online footprint to include IoT, use the available resources to the core and provide good and reliable services, these are key to survive in 2016, says Sayed Peerzade, group CIO, Reliance Entertainment Group.
That’s the real power of leveraging SMAC. But FCB Ulka’s SVP-IT Ritu Madbhavi feels that the M&E sector hasn’t really capitalized on or acknowledged the true potential of digitization.
“So far, we’ve just been scratching the surface on what is possible with digitization and technology. It’s only in the last couple of years that people have realized its potential. For example, simple things like Google Cardboard can change the way we work. Going digital no longer means replicating print to online,” she says.
That, says CIOs, will change in 2016.
The M&E sector will start a new episode in 2016. It will be the year that witnesses digital growth, consolidation and the dawn of a sector that’s steeped in revolutionizing the future.
As it gets more and more consumer-centric, and audiences get more and more demanding, content quality and distribution will be of paramount importance. “Content and user experience will be a major challenge in 2016. With the emergence of IoT and 4G, we will be on our toes to provide good content, and keep users entertained,” says Peerzade.
According to PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2015-2019, organizations in the M&E sector need to do three things to succeed: Innovate around their product and user experience, develop seamless consumer relationships across distribution channels, and put mobile and video at the center of their consumer offerings.
This means organizations have to gear up for these changes and create systems that can handle and support these new technologies. That requires organizations in the M&E sector to change the way they think, work and hire.
Madbhavi says there’s a need to change mindsets, in terms of hiring people with the right skill sets. “TV and print are still dominant but digitization is going to play an important role. So, you need to hire people with different skillsets. The most creative minds are not going to be people who understand consumers well but those that also understand technology. They need to know which technology to use in a creative and engaging way for consumers,” she says.
That’s true. According to PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2015-2019, organizations in the M&E sector need to do three things to succeed: Innovate around their product and user experience, develop seamless consumer relationships across distribution channels, and put mobile and video at the center of their consumer offerings.
In order to achieve that, Peerzade says, the sector will have to lean on technology. “Adopt the SMAC stack, expand its online footprint to include IoT, use the available resources to the core and provide good and reliable services, these are key to survive in 2016,” says Peerzade.
Like it or not, the digital revolution is here and it’s going to redefine your sector. In 2016, those who realize this will prosper, those who don’t will have to sign off like Charlie Chaplin’s movies did, with a banner and an exclamation that reads: The End!