Entertainment and media bosses are battling with a range of aggressive digital rivals for ownership of the world’s eyeballs.
Broadcast media owners, program makers and ad agency bosses face a dizzying array of up and coming competitors. There are the Over the Top TV platforms from Netflix and Amazon Prime to Hulu and Apple TV. Social networks are muscling in on broadcast TV, with Facebook launching its Watch tab and TV producers queuing up to feature their content on Snapchat Shows. There has been an explosion of stunning new devices from smartphones, phablets and tablets to screens great and small for watching high definition video.
The new technology and new platforms are shattering the relationships entertainment and media brands have with their audiences. Their ability to make money from their audiences through advertising and sponsorship is being weakened by the day.
Keeping up with your audiences
No wonder industry bosses worry that they are losing touch with their consumers. A 2017 survey of entertainment and media bosses by PwC showed that CEOs in this field are getting increasingly concerned about changing consumer behavior. The survey showed it as their top concern, voiced by 82% of the CEOs interviewed compared to 76% last year.
Media industry executives need to rewrite the future. They must stop chasing after fragmenting audiences that are bleeding away to multifarious rivals. They need to take back ownership of their audiences rather than surrendering them to the upstart technology brands.
To address the crisis, entertainment and media brands are grasping the nettle and launching their own cross-platform media apps. Media app audiences download these onto their smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. The apps fulfill a range of functions - users can watch shows but also interact with the content and engage with sponsors and advertisers.
This is helping entertainment brands take back the initiative with their audiences and find new ways of monetizing their content.;
The role of media apps
Media apps are being adopted by entire TV networks such as the UK’s Channel 4 and by single shows, by specialist TV stations and media properties such as sports clubs. Some of the most successful shows build interactivity with audiences through their media apps, such as The X Factor smartphone app which allows users to cast votes for their favored contestants.
The new media apps are industry disruptors, ushering in a new relationship between entertainment brands and their audiences.
The idea of “viewers” switching on the TV to watch their favorite shows is becoming outdated. Today, media owners are cultivating fans, a loyal band of followers who want a deeper interaction with a media property than merely watching a show at a given time. Media apps are revolutionizing the way entertainment brands view audiences. Getting likes and shares for their content on social media is no longer enough. Entertainment brands need to create more insightful metrics to understand their audiences.;When audiences bleed away to YouTube or a connected TV player, it is those platforms that benefit from gathering data about the viewers - that is what makes them such powerful players today.
Understanding the value of data
By launching new media apps, entertainment and media brands not only stand to win back their audiences, they get to own the data about them. Data opens huge opportunities for intensifying relationships with consumers. Armed with a piece of software known as a Data Management Platform, brands can gather a huge selection of data points, such as how long people watch a show for, how often they come back for more or watch repeats, what they click on or watch before or after a show, when they watch, their location. Are they viewing via mobile on the way to work or on the TV screen with the family at home?
Data helps entertainment bosses target wider audiences that behave and look like their existing viewers, bringing on board more potential fans. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence technology, the work of extracting insights from data will become ever more sophisticated. AI will be vital for getting the most out of the data from media apps.;In this new technology, 4G-enabled, high definition and superfast broadband world, consumers expect nothing less than the highest quality user experience from an entertainment property. Media apps must provide this quality across the range of devices and platforms. Watching a top sports match through a broadcaster’s online app needs to be just as good as TV with no loss of quality. Mobile app interactions must be fast, intuitive and high quality.
Retake your audience
Once entertainment and media brands retake ownership of audiences through media apps, they will find more effective ways to monetize them. Advertisers will pay a premium to reach audiences who are engaged and dedicated to the content they are consuming. Those audiences will be willing to pay more for premium content, and will upgrade to better experiences, such as cross-device offerings and in-depth editorial coverage.
Entertainment and media brands have everything to gain from reconnecting with their audiences. Content is king. But ownership of audiences is the kingdom.