As the digital revolution continues to reshape the industry, a number of trends in particular will drive key developments.
So, what changes are expected in the year ahead and beyond?
Here are the 4 forecasted trends that will shape the future of the media and entertainment industry.
THE NEED FOR SCALE WILL DRIVE CONSOLIDATION
Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix have been revolutionizing media and entertainment, offering a wealth of creative opportunities to an industry historically driven by ratings and advertising dollars. Unfettered by antiquated systems based on decades of corporate legacy, the tech giants have a different approach to filmmaking that is born out of the Internet age. The way they create and source their content is holistically different. Moreover, they have the ability to pour large sums of money into original television and movie production due to less overhead costs. In order to compete with these all-powerful on-demand players, large content studios and networks are being forced to look for ways to bulk up in market share and reach.
Mergers and acquisitions are customary among large corporations, most often occurring as a means to avoid irrelevancy while also satisfying ever-evolving consumer demands. And it’s no surprise that the media and entertainment industry is following suit. Discovery recently acquired Scripps. And then there’s the impending $52.4B Disney/Fox acquisition. Both of these point to the major shift toward digitalization. In order to exist in a world of cord-cutting and new technologies that make traditional distribution channels much less powerful, every major player in the industry will be forced to evolve into a digital studio –– or cease to exist.
Further consolidation of other major studios and networks is on the horizon.
It’s simply a matter of time.
BLOCKCHAIN WILL CHANGE THE WAY COMPANIES HANDLE DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT
Blockchain is one of the biggest buzzwords in media and entertainment right now. And there’s a legitimate reason for all the hype: it has the potential to ease the complexities surrounding rights management.
With digitalization rapidly changing the way content is created and delivered, M&E businesses need to be able to safely manage their intellectual property. This is where blockchain comes into play. The beauty of its technology is that it offers a unique approach to storing content and related assets, making transactions, and establishing trust.
Here are several ways blockchain technology can be used as a potential solution to the problems posed in the digital rights management space:
NETWORK LOYALTY WILL OFFICIALLY BECOME A THING OF THE PAST
Back in the day, there were only a small handful of networks and local stations to choose from when it came to content consumption. This meant that consumers had to wait expectantly for the magic time slot when they could watch their favorite shows –– unless you had a DVR, of course.
Today, the TV landscape is increasingly fragmented. In a world of endlessly streaming content, consumers are completely untethered from linear distribution models based on set schedules. More and more, it doesn't matter when you watch nor where you watch it. In fact, consumers are so accustomed to watching content on smartphones or laptops or streaming platforms that many of them can’t easily identify which broadcast and cable networks produced them in the first place. Needless to say, brand loyalty no longer exists in the same context that it used to.
Clearly, we’re already seeing this trend in effect right now. But as time goes on –– and digitalization continues to evolve the media & entertainment landscape –– we’re guaranteed to see even greater disparity.
EXPLOITING EXISTING LIBRARIES WILL BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
Let’s face it, the media and entertainment marketplace is only going to get more and more competitive. As the war for consumer attention carries on, exclusive original content will continue to be the primary weapon used on the VOD battlefront. Considering that new media companies have an ample amount of cash to spend on original programming, it begs the question: how do traditional networks and studios compete?
By knowing how to exploit their content to the fullest extent. Here a few simple things to keep in mind that can help squeeze some additional ROI out of existing content libraries:
Given the increased competition in the marketplace, it’s going to be more important than ever to ensure that businesses are not only fully exploiting their existing libraries, but also have a proper handle on rights management as a whole.
The industry transition to OTT & VOD has forced businesses into handling millions if not billions of lines of data on a regular basis. And systems of the past were not designed to manage this level of complexity. To stay ahead of the curve, media and entertainment companies will be forced to reevaluate their internal systems in order to maximize efficiency across the entire content lifecycle.
In the world of business, partnerships are often the best recipe for success. Whether your business is looking to get off the ground, looking for new streams of revenue, or has hit a plateau and is looking to break through to that next level, teaming up with someone else who’s trying to do the same thing can be a win-win. One common way this is done is through brand and product licensing.
In the 2020 Winter edition of the MESA Journal, FilmTrack's current COO Michael McGuire explains how the pandemic has impacted the entertainment industry and how that impact may have fundamentally changed the industry moving forward. Most notably the halt of production and the shutdown of theaters has put tremendous value on existing libraries. Utilizing software such as FilmTrack to fully understand what is currently available for sale or distribution, as well as what will be coming available and when, has become imperative to not only conduct business as usual but thrive in the current economy.