The war for audiences is on. Producing and acquiring the most compelling content is the primary battlefield. Yet, technology innovation is enabling disruptive competition and unique user experiences that media companies must respond to and stay ahead of.
Keeping up with the latest technology developments and building an organisation to handle them can be obstacles to growth and innovation. Can outsourcing and business transformation help media companies to overcome these obstacles and enable business growth?
Chief marketing officers (CMO) are being challenged to deliver top-line growth. Revenue growth comes either from being disruptive in traditional markets or by entering new markets. However, most CMOs operate within organisations which may not be resourced to meet these new challenges.
Many media companies, although possessing valuable content, struggle to realise their ambition to be agile or disruptive. They are tied to a traditional infrastructure that has been amortising over many years with legacy workflows. Existing organisations and technology are not enabling growth.
It’s start-ups, not weighed down by their legacy business, who are succeeding in growing their revenues. They are better placed financially and organisationally to embrace innovation, demonstrate agility, and develop highly monetised products and services.
Outsourcing and transforming areas that have hindered growth can be a solution. Apart from optimising processes and reducing cost, outsourcing brings further benefits – access to innovative technology and creative operational models to compete with new market players. It allows media companies to quickly scale up or down to respond to fluctuations in audience numbers and preferences.
As competition for audience share is becoming more intense, a way to grow is to make content available whenever, wherever, and on whatever platform or device viewers want. But can current operations meet unexpected increase in demand across various platforms? What happens if social media creates a buzz for a video on demand or a live event? Traditional hardware and siloed workflows will not provide the flexibility to address sudden surges of interest or they will require considerable technology investment that will remain underutilised after a one-off event.
Addressing new viewer service and experience requirements is another challenge. New types of user experiences pop up all the time – service personalisation and micro-segmentation, augmented reality, virtual reality, 8K, to name just a few. How can a broadcaster take advantage of these trends and enter potential new markets? What if some of these new opportunities fail? How can media companies minimise the exit risk?
Investing in innovative services on their own might prove strenuous for some media companies, considering the associated cost and risk when targeting new or immature business opportunities. Outsourcing can be a way to gain access to the considerable investments in R&D already made by a service company. For example, taking advantage of innovative services already deployed for other customers around the world. In addition, relying on someone else’s technology and operational flexibility makes entering and exiting new markets quick and easy and doesn’t incur the associated levels of risk and investment.
Traditionally, many growth opportunities can be pursued by broadcasters on their own, but it’s difficult to estimate the investment and amount of time needed to successfully execute a growth opportunity. A simple thematic channel, utilising pre-recorded library content, would take a broadcaster a few months from conception to launch - capacity must be bought, media workflows designed, rights management put in place and people hired and trained. On the other hand, by relying on a partner who already has the capacity, competence, capabilities and technology, new linear channels can be launched within weeks and OTT services within days.
As competition is increasing, CMOs should also consider their own organisation and identify the obstacles and technology limitations that they need to overcome in order to achieve growth and identify the areas of growth. The CMO should be the main driver behind turning broadcasters into agile and fast-moving organisations, willing to challenge the established ways of working to stand out in the market and attract viewers.
By Richard Tomlinson, business transformation consultant, Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services