The media and entertainment sector saw quite a few changes with respect to content development, aggregation, and delivery as major players in the business adopted new strategies and agile approaches to leverage the changing consumer demands. Everything evolved in the M&E industry; mainstream movies battled with the growing popularity of digital OTT content while music records and CDs were replaced by music streaming apps and Apple iTunes. Then there was the pandemic which despite posing several challenges also offered an impetus to the M&E industry.
As Deloitte’s global TMT industry leader Ariane Bucaille explains, “There have been five years of change in five months due to the pandemic. Covid-19 has been a catalyst – an unwelcome one, but still a catalyst – for needed changes across the TMT landscape.”
The fast-evolving OTT landscape
The global OTT market size that stood at $171B in 2020 is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 29.4% to touch $1,039B by 2027. Ad-supported VoD platforms are doing increasingly well amidst the pandemic with ad revenue of the five major ad-supported streaming platforms namely Hulu, Peacock, Roku, Pluto TV, and Tubi touching 31% year-over-year.
47% of households have increased their use of content streaming services, 60% of respondents have signed up for free trials of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services due to the pandemic and a good 15% are ready to become paying members once the free trial concludes. The United States, which is also one of the largest OTT markets in the world, tops the national average at 8.55 hours of viewing time spent on OTT video content as compared to the global average of 6.8 hours per week.
As the market continues to see growth in the number of M&E studios and OTT service providers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to win this race. It is certainly challenging to create your own niche in this overly crowded market, though there’s a lot you can do to stay ahead and rise above the noise.
We believe M&E companies can get a competitive advantage if they meet the new demands of consumers by concentrating their efforts on 3 fronts – Experience, Technology, and Marketing.
Here are our top recommendations for you to consider to underpin the M&E domain like a pro:
- Tailor-made viewing experience to retain customers
Consumers are in demand as they continue to grab free trials, seek original content, and balance costs between paid, premium, and ad-supported services. They are quick to choose, sign up and cancel as well, as research indicates that 62% signed up to watch a particular show and cut the service once they were done while 43% canceled the same day once they realized they did not want it anymore.
This gives little or no time for providers to level up and respond. Besides, viewers are jumping from one platform to another as more immersive platforms see the light of the day. From live to connected TV, desktops to mobile, and new immersive platforms driven by Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) – the transition is for all to see. Advertising models are being revised too in order to factor in this paradigm shift making way for native, vertical, 360-degree, and programmatic ads. Ad-supported video streaming services (AVOD) are also being well-received.
M&E companies must study and monitor consumer behavior closely to understand whether certain behaviors are temporary or are pointing towards a permanent shift in preference. For instance, ‘watch party’ became quite a trend wherein groups of people watched movies and other video content together using popular social media platforms, but whether the trend will continue even after the pandemic is something that needs to be seen.
- Technologies to spur growth
The media and entertainment ecosystem can benefit a great deal if companies rest their strategies on technology foundations to navigate their infrastructures to next-generation architectures. The ones that play pivotal roles include:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI is the key to personalization as consumers continue to look for personalized content recommendations from service providers. Recommendations apply to both contents as well as ads that users may be inclined to watch. AI in tandem with machine learning will also offer insights into the payment preferences of consumers. In fact, 66% of respondents had in fact opined in favor of having an AI-powered digital assistant too.
Augmented /Virtual Reality (AR/VR) – We’re now seeing increasing adoption of digital technologies like AR/VR as the wave of innovation sweeps over M&E. With continuous advances in AR/VR, both will play an important role in offering rich, deeply engaging, multisensory experience. While cloud, edge computing, and 5G will move VR forward, AI technology will continue to push AR into the realm of mainstream. AR market value is predicted to go up to USD 200 billion by 2025 from just USD 5.9 billion in 2018.
Digital transformation – As technology continues to prove its worth, M&E companies are now making more investments in the development of intelligent enterprises. Higher efficiencies and lower operational costs while staying aligned to business objectives have become their forever goals. The focus is now on digital transformation. As Jennifer Cooper, Global Head of Media and Communications Industry Strategy & Solutions, Microsoft points out, “The disruption created by COVID-19 has agitated the industry into accelerating innovation and digital transformation in areas that were previously only in planning stages of cloud migration. The stage is set for an industry-wide metamorphosis.”
Stringent data privacy measures – As instances of a data breach and misuse of consumer data continue to plague the minds of viewers, M&E companies should invest in disruptive technologies such as AI and Blockchain to protect their identity and also detect and block deepfakes. When leveraged correctly, blockchain offers transparency, immutability, and decentralization to help distinguish between a real and a fake video and verify the legitimacy of content.
- Marketing mantras to strike a chord with customers
The way you promote your content can make a world of difference to your M&E business. Here’s what you can do:
Grab their attention – There’s a lot to see when it comes to digital content but consumers will almost always remember how they feel when they engage with the content. For instance, ‘live’ content never disappoints viewers because it gives them the feeling of witnessing everything firsthand. Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries for instance asks viewers to share their opinions & findings on episodes aired making the whole experience more engaging and personal.
Go multi-platform – Often overlooked, yet very important for your entertainment app success is to ensure that you meet your customers on different platforms. For instance, non-subscribers will not have access to trailers of upcoming shows and seasons unless you promote them through targeted advertisements and postings on different social media platforms.
Advocate ethical practices – It is important that topical issues are handled with sensitivity. It is becoming increasingly common to participate in societal revolutions one believes in. Make sure that you have content fact-checking policies in place to ensure that you adhere to ethics and transparency and imbibe them well in your brand culture.
Leverage the power of personalization – You can maintain a good rapport with your followers by engaging with them through social media advertisements, push notification strategies, and emailers announcing a new season launch, etc. Without being intrusive, you can connect with them and stay on top of their mind through these simple but effective gestures.
Sharpen your competitive edge with Trigent
It’s easy to reimagine your M&E business growth with a specialist by your side. We can help you chart your digital journey successfully with robust apps designed to succeed while delivering value and experience to consumers consistently. Together, we can study consumer behavior to come up with a more nuanced approach to empower you to lead in this overly crowded market. Our agile technologies at the helm of strategies are just what you need to stay ahead.