Changing media landscape in rapidly evolving digital world: Deepak Lamba, Worldwide Media
Guest Column: The CEO of Worldwide Media takes us through the notable trends and exciting developments in the media & entertainment space
The media landscape as we know it today would have been unfathomable and unimaginable only a decade ago. To establish a sense of timeline, it was only around 2004-2005 that some of today’s prominent digital platforms came into being. It was less than 10 years ago that streaming services, apps and a more evolved digital world emerged. While multiple digital trends picked up over the past few years, web search has been an indispensable part of the internet since it was introduced in 1995. In that respect, Google search continues to dominate the digital space with evolved features and detailed information in various formats that is specific to the search pattern of the user on different devices and platforms. Today, the comprehensive digital evolution, inclusive of the advancements in web search, has brought about a paradigm shift in the way the media and entertainment industry operates.
The unprecedented scale of digital evolution can be put in perspective through the number of internet users in the country, which was estimated to reach 500 million in June 2018 from 481 million in December 2017, as per the IAMAI-Kantar IMRB 2017 Report. The unparalleled growth comes at the back of extensive broadband penetration, affordable smartphones and data costs, higher purchasing power of the people as well as cohesive technological advancements, among other factors. What continue to propel the domain are notable trends, and the coming year will bear host to some of the most exciting developments in the space.
Video Content Marketing
The growing prominence of videos, with a platform such as YouTube, has given rise to an alternative era of sorts. Today, no promotional activity or media plan for any business is complete without content distribution through videos. Brands and businesses have begun to deliver short-form videos encapsulating high-quality original content to captivate their audiences.
The trend can be attributed to the millennials’ preference for videos, and its strength can be estimated by the fact that social media giant Facebook is also slowly and steadily transforming to promote video consumption on its platform. It has also given birth to branded video content by production houses and content creation for the purpose of providing effective visibility to the stakeholders while enhancing their reach on the digital medium.
However, a single platform becoming a hub of content and a single conglomerate influencing and controlling the optimisation of content online is a cause of concern. Whether it is for films, serials or short-form specialised content in India, there is a need to ensure that consolidation of the distribution channels doesn’t come at a cost of an uneven playing field for content creators.
Changing Face of Television
With more and more audience turning to the digital medium, broadcasters have also taken the necessary measures to adapt to the evolving content consumption pattern. Many leading broadcasters in the country have their own apps, where anyone with a smartphone can view content that was otherwise primarily only telecast. Alternately, there are apps that offer the whole range of channels akin to the television. I anticipate the coming year bringing more of similar TV apps with a host of features from varied players in the broadcasting space.
However, as a country with over 1.3 billion people, there is still a significant amount of population relying on traditional media. As also, the digital-first audience is also known to turn to print, television and other traditional mediums. So, the media and entertainment (M&E) industry has to cut a fine balance in redefining its presence in the sector.
Ecommerce has also largely contributed to the digital boom. With the competitive nature of the industry, a level playing field has been created which benefits the consumers at large. Ecommerce further serves as a comprehensive platform for advertisers to gather in-depth knowledge of consumer preferences. It enables them to feature relevant advertisements on the web and reach out to the target set from the large pool of consumers. Ecommerce has impacted the way sales and marketing activities are carried out; case-in-point being the recent possible Flipkart and Hotstar tie-up. Consumers are being made aware about products or even services through captivating branded content. So, a symbiotic relationship has emerged between media houses producing good content and mammoth online marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart. With swift technological advancements, we see ecommerce portals, marketers and content producers at large, giving a good look at how consumer interactions also evolve within the digital framework.
Augmented Reality (AR)
We have already witnessed AR being quite popular with photo-based social media platforms/apps, and I believe, in the coming year, the use of AR technology will only be amplified. With branded content came in the method of seamlessly integrating the advertiser’s service or product into the content, ensuring higher brand-recall while making it entertaining to watch. So, AR could easily be an extension of that, wherein a viewer’s reality is augmented with a certain product or service on-screen. While digital has expanded the M&E sector as a whole, it has naturally transformed the advertising industry as well. AR will be yet another element that will significantly impact the way content is both delivered and consumed in the future.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There are a number of misconceptions surrounding AI. However, the M&E industry is successfully employing artificial intelligence to understand the needs of its consumers and ensure that they receive content in keeping with their preferences. The analysis and knowledge gathered from activities online help brands deliver better to its consumers. The knowledge saves brands from incurring significant costs, which can then be directed to bettering the consumer experience. With the technology advancing swiftly, the industry will further discover its many applications. Employing AI is certainly a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
While some of the aforementioned trends have already caught-on, the others will gain momentum in the coming year and bring varied opportunities for the new-age media and traditional mediums alike. It is certainly an exciting time to be in the media and entertainment space, since the industry is widely recognized as an early adopter of any new development and technological progress. The way forward appears to be shaped by the adoption of the new, while retaining the integrity of the traditional mediums, for I believe they are here to stay.
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