March 29, 2017

Four Megatrends That Will Shape Your Media Technology Strategy

It almost goes without saying that staying ahead of the current trends in media technology is imperative to success. As a 25+ year media and entertainment veteran, I’ve seen a lot of industry megatrends shape our business, but at nowhere near the speed that they are evolving today. These megatrends will impact how content providers, global operators, and media technology companies look toward the future and determine unique strategies to win in the market.


The Changing Nature of Content Distribution

Ask yourself this question: Five years ago, how many choices did consumers have for media consumption? You probably don’t know the answer off the top of your head, but you would likely (and accurately) guess “a lot fewer than today.” In fact, as of today, there are over a 1,000 OTT options available worldwide.

According to a 2016 Parks & Associates report, 64 percent of U.S. broadband households subscribed to an OTT video service² and 31 percent subscribe to multiple services. This exponential growth is impacting the media industry in two significant ways: consumers have become curators of their own content and content providers have a massive variety of choices of where to distribute their content.

Though they have millions of hours of programming available to them, the average consumer watches just over five hours of content each day. Content choices are determined by accessibility, relevance, and value. So how do you differentiate yourself from the pack? Features such as search, voice, recommendations, and interface design will likely continue to drive success for content aggregators and OTT services.


Multi-platform Distribution is Here to Stay

Today, 71 percent of U.S. broadband households own four or more video-capable devices. This is a stark reminder of the rapid change in content consumption and consumer behavior from even a decade ago.

Some of the clear indicators of this evolution is that mobile consumption is rapidly rising, on-demand services are increasingly popular, social media are used more and more as media platforms, and younger generations are embracing viewing channels across the entire spectrum of options. A recent study revealed that 90 percent of 18-24 year-olds U.S. internet users are watching video via a smartphone and tablet, while the 25-34 year-old demographic is pacing at around 86 percent.

These trends – and how content providers react to them – will define the market moving forward. New devices and ways to view content add technical complexities to delivering content such as new formats in which to deliver, changes to metadata, and varying network bandwidths. Agility and speed will be key components for success within this trend.


The Dizzying Pace of Technology

You’ve probably heard the quip that a new computer is obsolete before you get home from the store and have a chance to unpack it. With the media market, entertainment and technology are evolving at such a quick pace that it is increasingly important to evolve and adapt at a faster rate.

However, there is also opportunity within this environment. New models of content distribution rely not only on breadth of content, but also on speed and channel diversity. While these changes create new challenges, evolving technologies make it possible to reach these ideals while also maintaining long-term value and satisfying business goals from a cost perspective. 


Business Elasticity is Essential

Content consumption behaviors are changing rapidly. Organizations who are trying to meet those needs would be well served to consistently seek new ways to use the available tools and technologies to stay agile and adaptable.

One such tool for business agility is leveraging cloud technologies. Early adopters are finding that the benefits of the cloud go far beyond offsetting CapEx costs — it can be used to support more elastic business models that scale up and down quickly, and provides the flexibility to test new structural ideas or process efficiencies. An example advantage of using the cloud to test new ideas is being able to building an entire workflow instantly in the cloud to only test a single part of the workflow or the entire chain.


2017: The Year of Agility

Perhaps the single theme that arches across these megatrends is that they are all shaped by the rapid and fluid nature of the media environment. From the changes in consumer behavior to the advent of multiple distribution channels, media technology organizations are faced with new challenges almost daily. I firmly believe that companies who take these trends into account throughout their business strategies, whether investing in new technology, working with partners or vendors, or looking at multiple distribution strategies, will be positioned for success.