The PwC Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook shows that after a decade or more of disruption, the entertainment and media industry has emerged to confront a new landscape, one that sees increasing competition from corporate brands that are also publishing content.
For the consumer – who is faced with information through both professional and user generated content – there is more choice than ever. Expectations have risen, too, fuelled by on-demand access that offers convenience.
This has implications for Australia’s entertainment and media industry, which is still too focused on the distinction between traditional and digital forms of media, a divide that is no longer noticed by consumers. Within this paradigm, how can media businesses offer a great user experience, ensure loyalty and continue to be successful?
Marcel Fenez, PwC Global Leader for Entertainment and Media, and David Wiadrowski, PwC Australia’s Technology, Infocoms, Communications and Entertainment Leader, discuss the blurred lines between traditional and digital media.
Listen to the podcast using the player below or for regular updates, subscribe to the Digital Pulse Podcast on iTunes. A written transcript of the audio is also included below.
Marcel Fenez: Globally, we’ve been go through almost a decade or more of digital disruption.
What that means is that for a period of time, there’s been quite a lot of confusion, a lot of, if you like, fog around what is actually happening. We believe that that fog is beginning to clear, at least insofar as it relates to us as individual consumers. Because as consumers, it’s not necessarily about digital or non-digital, we don’t think like that. What we think about as consumers is a universe of content – by the way, a universe of content that is getting bigger and bigger every day, both professional and user generated.
So the issue is how we as consumers actually access that content. What platforms do we access it on and inevitably, potentially, what we pay for it. Therefore in some ways as I say, that while that fog is lifting as consumers, that does however have some implications for the industry. It would be fair to say that for the industry it’s as confused as ever. David, how do you see it here in Australia?
David Wiadrowski: Marcel, I think Australians are very much the same. Again, I think the fog from a consumer’s perspective is clearing. In many ways the consumer holds most of the cards now and has the power and control.
But as you alluded to, the challenge is then for the corporates that are delivering that content over those platforms, it’s getting more competitive. The horizons and the industry verticals are being blurred and in some ways coming together, and so you’re seeing traditional entertainment media companies move in to technology development; you’re seeing telcos move in to content development; you’re seeing brands becoming publishers; and they’re all trying to find their place in this paradigm. But it’s not without some challenges, and that’s, I suppose, really the challenge for a lot of corporates – how do they deal with that and, often, how do they continue to be successful and how do they monetise what they’re doing?
Marcel: Certainly, globally it’s very interesting, going back to the consumer. The consumer effectively has more and more choice, but the challenge that that represents for the industry is, first of all, what is the industry? So, defining those boundaries.
The ecosystem is getting bigger and bigger as we see new players entering the space. But I think what we’re seeing is that those challenges boil down to three imperatives that the industry needs to address.
The first one of those is the need to innovate around the content experience, because while that universe content gets bigger and bigger what consumers are saying is the way that they access is actually critical not just to them but also for what they will actually pay for. So innovating around that content experience is absolutely critical.
The second element is the need for the industry to manage customer relationships across distribution channels.
Traditionally, the industry has managed along individual distribution channels and not across it. At the end of the day, if you’ve got a consumer that is kind of agnostic around platforms the industry also needs to recognise that and to gather data and information about customers, then enables them to manage that broader experience.
The third thing is, we alluded to, is obviously the whole power of mobile. So much of that consumer experience is now really based on their use of mobile devices, and so understanding mobile behaviour with all its implications is absolutely critical. Critical not only to understanding behaviour but critical in terms of what content you produce. The fact that it needs to be produced for a mobile device as well as advertising and the consequences of that. So certainly we see globally those as important areas, and I guess that would apply equally in Australia.
David: Yes, very much so Marcel. One of the challenges here is, we’re only a very small market. We’ve got a population of 22 million people, it’s an ageing population, and in some ways entertainment media companies need to look beyond Australia for a larger market to obviously drive their growth strategy.
But within the market here, building that customer loyalty and that stickiness is very important. We all lead very busy lives these days, and so if you don’t build that loyalty, you don’t create that experience, you don’t have those enhanced products – then the consumer, their loyalty is very short and they’ll move to a different platform, a different channel, a different experience. So that loyalty, and creating that experience with the consumer is becoming more and more important.
With technology now they can watch and consume content at their choice. It’s not dependent upon a schedule, it’s not dependent upon when something is put into a print publication. The consumer is really driving when they consume that content, and so that’s why it’s really important to create that experience, create that loyalty and that stickiness, that hopefully you can monetise.
Marcel: Yes, and within that obviously it’s how do you gather information around those content preferences? Inevitably that is through the use of data analytics, gathering data from multiple sources, and then analysing it to understand that behaviour.
Also very critical is to acknowledge that at different points of the day we want different things. In different circumstances we want different things, and therefore understanding the context in which we’re consuming and enjoying media and content is also critical. So the whole concept of contextual marketing, and contextual consumption of the media I think is also critical, for which data analytics really does play a very big part.
The one thing I would say is that you know what? It’s not all science. There is still room for a healthy part of intuition here. So it is that combination of the use of big data but also the use of good intuition. Let’s not get away from the fact that this is still a creative industry. It’s an industry that therefore depends on all types of innovation and one of them is good intuition about what works and what doesn’t.
David: I think that’s a really good point Marcel because in the Australian Outlook this year we’ve interviewed a number of entrepreneurs and when you stand back you might think that they’re highly intelligent people, highly driven. But when we’ve interviewed them, a number of them have openly admitted that they don’t think they’re the smartest person in the room, but they’ve just come up with an idea. And their passion and, as you say, their gut instinct, has taken them down a path, created a business mode, got some people around them to help broaden that business model in terms of funding and technology, relationship and content development, and ultimately it’s been very successful. So it’s really around using all your innate skills to make sure you look and find those opportunities that might create a very successful business model.
Marcel: So there you have it – a consumer that is basically agnostic to the platform but still believes in rich content experiences.
The PwC Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook is an annual report on consumer and business trends within 11 industry segments including film, TV, radio, interactive games and the internet. Access industry insights and forecasts by purchasing the 2015 Outlook here.