In Media and Entertainment, Digital Tells a Positive Story About Change
by Michael Grier
posted on 06-22-2020
The media and entertainment industry has long embraced the growing ecosystem of digital devices and online channels. Businesses have spent the last decade experimenting with creating new content, adopting new distribution methods, and finding new avenues for marketing — taking every challenge in stride.
The COVID-19 challenge is a historic challenge that the industry is facing. Cinemas, arts venues, and live sports and music events are on pause. Film and TV production has slowed, impacting the supply chain of many video and streaming services. Meanwhile, news outlets and online media platforms are retooling their ads to distribute vital information.
As a result, ad revenues are decreasing across out of home (OOH), online, and on broadcast channels. This, in turn, means publishers are struggling to fund content creation and meet demand as people spend more time streaming, reading, and gaming — but at the same time, increased media consumption presents new opportunities for brands to connect and engage with customers.
Creativity and empathy come naturally to an industry where people tell stories, solve problems, and communicate with others every day. Those traits are also valuable when weathering volatility, and brands must continue to act in character. Media and entertainment advertising needs to engage people and mitigate revenue losses, which companies can achieve by leveling up their digital platforms and tactics.
Matters of taste
Music and screen genres, device and channel preferences, and online behaviors are among the many factors that distinguish one person from the next. To understand every viewer, listener, or reader, media and entertainment brands must make sense of their unique tastes:
- Views and plays indicate what content people are consuming, but searches tell brands what they’re curious about — and perhaps the content they wish a platform had.
- Drop-offs also reveal preferences. Note the songs on an album that a listener skips, the shows a viewer stops watching, and the last paragraph an audience reads.
- Frequently watched episodes and played songs have more unique properties than the parent show or artist, and so they give way to more specific recommendations.
- Authenticated and anonymous users leave distinct behavioral clues. Less frequent activity from an account holder could suggest their interest is waning, while the right offer might tempt a curious browser to subscribe.
Analyzing this data will help brands create personalized content, journeys, and experiences with greater sophistication.
Changing the channel
We’re all consuming more media these days. According to GlobalWebIndex, people across generations are more frequently searching for news updates (68%), listening to music (58%), streaming films and shows (49%), watching funny videos (42%), and playing mobile games (40%).
The difficulty lies in turning this into revenue. Due to economic hardship and the cancellation of major advertising drawcards — the Olympics, Coachella, Glastonbury — 70% of buyers have paused or scaled down their ad spend. Revenue loss has become a challenge for many different industry players as ad spend decreases across both digital (33%) and traditional media (39%).
Refined audience targeting is now crucial — ad placements must focus on the platform and audience at hand to justify the expense. At the same time, media and entertainment brands need to come up with new ways to connect with people.
- TV networks are filling programming gaps with reruns of series and sports matches. Meanwhile, NASCAR and the NFL have pivoted to esports leagues — a move that’s given way to more direct fan engagement on social media and allowed both companies to uphold sponsorships.
- Video game sales are rising as people stay indoors, proving to be a promising strategic avenue. Twitch viewership grew by 31% in March, according to data from StreamElements. Amazon has since capitalized on this by creating “watch parties” — communities where creators and fans get closer by streaming Prime content together.
- Performers and spatially dependent organizations are collaborating with game publishers and using virtual platforms to circumvent the closure of venues. Travis Scott’s virtual “Fortnite” concert drew over 12 million players, breaking the record for the largest streaming event and resulting in additional performances. The Getty Museum is making its open-access art collection accessible for “Animal Crossing” players to use in the game.
Striking up partnerships and experimenting with different platforms allow media and entertainment brands to reach audiences in fresh, daring ways.
Keeping people switched on
We turn to media and entertainment for comfort, whether to make sense of the world through news updates or to withdraw with fiction. And when sensitivities are high, industry players must get the right message to the right audience.
New media is always emerging, and people’s interests are evolving with the times. Predictive and prescriptive analytics help brands keep on the pulse of changing tastes.
- Machine learning allows companies to achieve more refined analytics modeling by segmenting audiences with specificity. Media and entertainment businesses can then test, adapt, and iterate messaging and recommendations with each segment’s preferences close to heart.
- Journey management technologies let brands tie together disparate data points and get a well-rounded view of each customer. First-party data is just one piece of the puzzle, and marketers can make their targeting efforts more successful when accounting for factors like age, location, and sentiment expressed on social media.
- Prescriptive analytics can help companies follow each subscriber through their consumption journey and make smart, fresh suggestions for the next watch, read, or listen.
When media and entertainment companies use technologies like these, they gain an intelligent understanding of their customers — one that allows them to act at a faster pace. With those capabilities, they get savvier at keeping people interested.
The show goes on
The future of media and entertainment favors the bold. And as the current situation speeds up industry movements like the decline of paid TV, companies need to think beyond the present.
Streaming services like Netflix have seen considerable subscriber growth because of COVID-19. The biggest challenge for them will be sustaining it — ambitious content acquisition may be the way to entice current and potential subscribers.
Arts and cultural organizations, on the other hand, need to balance hosting virtual events and curating media recommendations with sharing road maps to reopening. Sports teams and leagues must similarly engage fans with loyalty initiatives. For example, the NHL is offering fans exclusive video and gaming content on its website, app, and social channels.
Companies should also keep one eye forward on emerging channels and technologies. Quibi’s recent launch suggests a new path for short-form video content, and telco brands are introducing AI chatbots to address the increase in customer service queries.
Making these efforts tells people a more exciting story about change. When theaters, cinemas, and stadiums are closed, the loudest applause comes from home.
Learn how we’re helping media and entertainment companies enhance their digital experiences.
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Topics: Media & Entertainment, Campaign Management
Products: Experience Cloud