As we come to an end of another year its time to reminiscent about the year gone by. What changed, whether good or bad, whether surprising or not and what can we expect in the future. Future is always uncertain as well as unpredictable until you look back to start connecting the dots to see a pattern where the destiny is likely to lead us. Very risky contemplation, but what the hell – it’s the end of the year.
Connecting the Dots:
Lets start with what changed in the Entertainment & Media industry in 2017. Some themes picked up are as follows:
- Based on Research reports it seems to suggest that worldwide E&M growth is slowing as a whole.
- Again based on reports, the maturer and higher paying markets seems to have reached a saturation level while newer markets continue to grow.
- Two clear elements have shaped the E&M industry i.e, the Content Strategy & the Distribution. There is now a third element of ‘User Experience’ largely bought on by technological advances.
- Content strategy moving from ‘One size fits all’ to consider content fitment for different markets due to cultural as well as demographic differences.
- Distribution strategy also being changed to encompass digital access in addition to fixed viewing experience either through theatre or fixed cable networks.
- While the higher paying audiences are saturating, the newer audiences, though while they are consuming content, the per Capita spend is down.
Clearly some of the things we had spoken about earlier as possible are now coming true. All the markets may not feel the same intensity specially market in India, since India remains far behind on the digitalization infrastructure front. Therefore there is tendency to scoff at the inevitable due to the still prevalent growth in the subscription as well as advertisement revenues in TV as well as print. Fact is that it is a matter of time, as is already evident, that growth in digital is imminent, ever since Reliance Jio introduced its benign data rates.
Possible Future :
Having plotted the ‘Dots’ we do get an inkling where the E&M markets are headed. However, as we sit to look at possible insights into the Indian E&M market a few considerations need to be kept in mind.
- India is still one of the rapidly growing E&M market in the world.
- It is one of the most populous countries in the world though far behind in the per capita E&M spend
- Its fixed as well as digital infrastructure is far below the large E&M markets. Its broadband usage is largely mobile led.
- TV and print networks still garner a lion’s share of the subscription as well as the advertisement spend largely due to the lag in infrastructure for internet access.
Looking at the state of E&M market as a whole and particular exception for India the following could shape the E&M industry in India;
- Content Strategy:
‘Content is King’. It is true here as it is elsewhere in the world. India is a diverse country and Content Strategy has to be taken into account any contents acceptability to its vast populace or appropriate interpretations of the same. It will have to fit the multiscreen mould such that its monitizable value goes up. Since TV screens still control the bulk of the monetization the TV content needs essentially to travel to other screens to build a community such that there is an easy shift as digitization increases. Content partnership with players with large digital footprint and deep pockets would likely be value accretive.
Technological advances have made distribution both a nightmare as well as a hugely accretive for the audience reach. Large online players along with Social Media giants are likely to play huge role in the access game. The strategy has to be to reach all screens and adoption of ‘technology’ as well as ‘partnerships’ are the new game.
- User Experience:
As per PWC report, ‘User Experience’ is key for future strategies and that is being borne out more and more by the ground facts. That is why development of communities and use of social media is paramount even though our infrastructure still is behind time. Use of AI or Artificial Intelligence will play a huge role in the ‘User Experience’. Our ability to understand and then use the same will be paramount. The change can be rapid and disastrous if not prepared for.
I think the trend is obvious and will follow the world though a little delayed. However what is interesting is the recent news of the likely Disney/ 21st Century Fox mergers. It seems to be a move to consolidate Content and control the ‘Streaming’ market. It has the ability to reshape the Entertainment & Media market both across the world as well as in India.
Interesting times! We will have to wait and see how it unfolds, Won’t we!
Welcome to 2018!