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Industry must focus on innovation to reignite growth in core services and fuel future investment

Gavin Mann, Broadcast Lead, Accenture
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As big tech companies move into content creation and distribution, media and entertainment businesses face an unprecedented array of challenges from new competition to the growing purchasing power of the digital native generation. As technology continually evolves, there is no finish line and service providers must get used to continual change.

At IBC, disruption in the industry will be the main topic driving conversations. Accenture believes that there are several ways the industry can embrace technology to unlock innovation and equip businesses for future success, which will be major points of focus at the RAI. Here are more details about each:


Advanced TV Advertising – Making it easier for advertising buyers

Audiences continue to become more fragmented around a growing number of video offerings and the media industry is having a tough time keeping up with measuring viewership and charging for it. While media companies typically try to sell their own ad inventory with proprietary methods, coming together with a single methodology for tracking content and creating niche data sets in a manner similar to what is being done in the online space, may prove crucial to the industry’s future.

Consortiums like Open AP in North America allow advertisers to use a standard group of data sets to define valuable segments of consumers, which could be anything from expectant mums to first-time house buyers. Each company within the Open AP consortium continues to sell its own commercial time and space, but the wider technology offering means advertisers will be able to access specific segments at greater scale.

We expect many execs will be meeting counterparts at IBC to discuss starting or expanding similar data co-operatives in Europe and around the world.


Creating a culture of innovation

Television understands innovation: from revolutions in display (black & white to colour, screen formats), to step changes in choice with the entry of non-terrestrial media (satellite and cable), through to the relative explosion of variety as countries transition from analogue to digital. This drive for creative transformation has been a constant. The recent, rapid growth of platform players offering IP-based video consumption has created a new urgency for innovation, driven both by investor perceptions – and reality on the ground.

Investors have bought into the huge future valuations of platform players, who have created scaled global footprints based on new technologies, value chains and business models. For video to avoid the fates of so many music and newspaper companies, investors expect a strong digital narrative which sets out steps to survive and thrive in this new context. They want to see real, sustained innovation along this journey, differentiation and energetic competitiveness.

Companies without an innovation story, who don’t change their culture to be able to innovate, will see shareholders lose confidence that they can deliver future value. Established players need to move decisively to apply the full force of digital innovation across their entire business, decoupling decision making and operational processes from legacy ways of working, therefore removing silos from the operating model and workforce.


Will Voice Assistants disintermediate established brands?

The smart home continues to mature significantly as the digital giants, telcos, cable operators, retailers use Voice Assistants as a license to experiment and bring to market new hardware and services.

Increasingly, algorithms are performing the role of gatekeeper between consumers and brands, and they are indifferent to the branding efforts that influence buying decisions people make for themselves. This poses a potential problem for brands looking to connect with consumers.

Media and Entertainment companies must quickly get a grip on these new algorithm gatekeepers and learn to navigate and engage with them. Many should consider creating collaborative services on an existing platform to find new ways to prompt their brand. All will need to consider carefully where a product or service can be designed to make it past the gatekeeper, and how to earn customer loyalty once it does.


Why the media industry should embrace blockchain

As media companies grapple with disruptive market conditions and increasingly demanding customers, blockchain can redefine how they can engage with their customers, partners and broader ecosystems. These ecosystems offer digital trust models ideal for securing rights, remediating financial transactions, sharing the right data, and optimizing the value chain.

One blockchain opportunity in media is to secure data. Media and platform companies have nothing if they cannot protect data and grant access only to those who need it. Blockchain technology is poised to be a game-changer in data security. It creates an auditable trail of an asset whether it is a device, access rights or content. No one owns this history, which creates a new level of visibility and transparency.

Blockchain can also reduce piracy by enabling digital rights management and make content provenance more transparent by validating authors. Imagine the value of this in a world where “fake news” is part of the cultural and political lexicon. And as companies provide customers with their personal data to meet regulatory requirements, blockchain can capture and store a tamper-evident, up-to-date history of personal usage data for better data portability.


Artificial Intelligence Adoption in Media & Entertainment

There is no doubt that AI will be a hot topic at this year’s show. Yet although it’s gathering pace rapidly, it’s still a new technology and many media companies are still grappling with what is possible.

There are many use cases in the industry that we’ll be hearing about, spanning from basic automation of back office processes, to automating compliance checks, automated creation/optimization of programming schedules, or even using AI to ingest and interpret complicated royalties’ contracts to assess payments required.

One story we’ll be hearing about at IBC is the topic of content curation. We all know just how important content has become – Disney starting its own streaming service is just one example of media businesses putting content at the heart of their strategies. AI allows businesses to tailor what they send to individual customers, which would be impossible to do manually because of the sheer volume of content and customers.


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