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State of the Media Industry 2018: Data-driven video is the key

Ooyala's head of content strategy Paula Minardi weighs in on the company's latest industry report

Ooyala’s new State of the Media Industry 2018 report shows that video continues to lead media organisations as they become truly digital businesses — and at the centre sits data.

Data and data-driven video have become the focal points of nearly every conversation in media these days. From consumer engagement and privacy to technological advances, content strategies and monetisation, data in its various forms is everywhere, and companies are challenged with harnessing and analysing it smartly for greater returns.

Media companies in general are getting more sophisticated when it comes to thinking about how to use data and video, innovating around new content and revenue approaches to survive and thrive, according to Paula Minardi, head of content strategy at Ooyala.

Minardi told TVBEurope that the technological tools to support them are being used more widely, and companies have been, out of necessity, thinking more out-of the box – and even throwing away the box – to determine how to go forward in a challenging industry.

“As our report notes, it’s really all about data for media companies today – being able to harness the data they have effectively throughout the entire content supply chain from production all the way to engaging audiences and monetising their content,” Minardi said. “The tools now exist for publishers to extract and enhance the data they have and use it to hone their digital strategies and connections to their consumers.

“Publishers of all sizes need to fully embrace mobile now for all video content lengths because that is where the demand is and will be going forward.”

Minardi expects to see publishers making more internal shifts to align their operations and content delivery with how younger audiences are consuming content, such as more investments in digital newsrooms to speed content production and distribution across devices, more mobile-first formats, more content partnerships with OTT platforms, and more shareable video of all sizes.

“Hybrid approaches to content continue to be smart bets in the space, balancing the reach that distribution on social platforms provides with owned destination sites where companies can have greater control of their brand, content, data and revenues,” noted Minardi. “Relying only on social platforms for survival is a perilous pursuit at this point.”

There are also regional differences in how consumers get their news, she observed, “whether through social media or direct from news sites, so a content strategy in this day and age comes down to knowing the audience you have in your markets, knowing where they consume your content and how they prefer to consume it.”

Minardi sees data being used to help publishers automate comment moderation, find and develop new stories, and personalise content, particularly using advances like AI to help facilitate those activities across geographies.

“I also see a lot of experimentation with revenue models now, particularly with hybrid approaches that mix models,” she said. “The media industry seems to be heading more toward digital subscription models in general but those are also often paired with opportunities that data may help surface such as affiliate ecommerce, brand licensing, and even micropayment transactional models, which are being used in part to help companies determine who might be prospects for full digital subscriptions and what types of content they’re gravitating toward.”

Minardi also sees relationships between social platforms and consumers continuing to evolve as consumers have more choice and awareness in how their data is collected and shared in the wake of GDPR: “I do think the younger generations are generally more willing than others to provide their data for perceived value in return, so social platforms are on the frontline to better engage with those audiences,” she said.

“Live video continues to grow, and audio formats like podcasts are hot right now. Looking at more immersive content like AR and VR, AR is taking the lead at the moment because it’s the more accessible and cost-effective of the two so companies of all sizes can participate, and it’s also easier to implement and monetise,” Minardi concluded.

“Companies are getting their feet wet in alternate content formats and using them to help augment their existing content offerings and differentiate themselves in their markets, which ultimately helps them grow and retain audiences and revenue.”

Ooyala’s State of the Media Industry 2018 report can be downloaded here.