Looking Ahead: Media’s Evolving Landscape: Asheesh Chatterjee, BIG FM

Guest Column: CFO of BIG FM on the future possibilities of mass media given the cutting-edge developments in the media & entertainment space over the last decade

It is exciting to look into the future, where possibilities are endless and the limit is one’s imagination. Now, when we look into the future of mass media, it takes on a whole new flavour of exuberance. Why is that? Well, the cutting-edge developments in the media and entertainment space over the last decade have already painted quite a picture. So, let’s take a moment to dive deep into the future of media and explore probabilities on the horizon, which are awaiting their turn to disrupt the sector as we know it today.

The formation of Gig Economy

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) ‘Workforce of The Future Report,’ China’s younger population is driven towards an autonomous working culture that is influenced by the picture of greater freedom, flexible working hours and entrepreneurship. India is also witnessing an inclination towards this trend by the young, educated and internet savvy population. By 2047, people would be doing multiple jobs, thereby opening multiple earning avenues and forging a path towards higher purchasing power. As an English speaking service-oriented demographic, we will be on the driver’s seat of consumerism. People will spend more on health care, luxury, entertainment, better infrastructure, safety and quality education, all of which will invariably fuel more entrepreneurship. This monumental change will usher the country in a more dynamic mass media era, fuelling the media and entertainment industry like never before.

Customer as the catalyst of change

The world is advancing at such a rapid pace that anything and everything that involves technology might make its way into providing information or a renewed engagement experience to the consumer. Media might exist in a different form altogether and still serve its purpose in an even more efficient manner. Consumer behaviour around purchase or sale, from the current linear way, will change completely. The consumer will continue to fuel the mass media industry on a larger scale, with more advanced methods accurately tapping into the preferences, patterns and demand of the consumer.

Consolidation of players and services

About three decades down the line, services will no longer be the way they are. We shall see a large-scale consolidation take place, as it will become very difficult for commodities to be served by multiple players. The country will be divided into two broad segments. It will have very specialised and commoditise services which will be dominated by one or three players and a lot of niche services that will be rolled-out by the respective players in the said categories. A lot of product and services will merge into deep niches due to their uniqueness, while generalised commodities will become mass monopolies, thereby requiring minimum advertising. As product cycles will become shorter, these bigger players will spend more on R&D to figure out ways to guard them against disruption. The unique and smaller niche players will get acquired by the monopolies strengthening them further. This is how the eco-chain of 2047 will exist and media being an important data asset of views, influencer information, entertainment, advertising, branding and perception building, will inadvertently affect each and every aspect of consumerism.

Technology led experiences

Media is a tool that helps deliver information and makes for a well-connected world. Technology has already begun to play a major role in communication. Smart home devices powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are gaining wider acceptance. The future will be driven by Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as the next go-to-thing to deliver an enhanced consumer experience. Tech and media giants are seeing self-driving cars as a more beneficial medium to reach out to varied set of consumers, since freedom from driving would ensure longer time-spent online by users. Self-driving cars are already in the making and internet of things (IoT) will be the next big thing.

Personalised Ads

As per the PwC report, over 35 per cent of consumers will spend more on media and entertainment by 2020. It is even difficult to imagine the possibilities of how content might be consumed two decades into the future. We are in an age where we witness ads being pushed out in accordance with the browsing patterns of the consumers, on websites and monetised channels. However, with technology’s limitless potential, it can be predicted that this tactic may not be restricted to online platforms in the future. This would make it possible for brands to provide an even more personalised experience since their understanding of an individual could possibly extend beyond their consumer’s digital persona. Everything would be linked to a channel that sends the data to probable brands and enables them to place their ads efficiently in order to reach their target audiences.

Mobile free communication

Thinking beyond the realms of technology, given the rapidly transforming ecosystem, the future of media may not feature devices that are in use today. Mobile handsets, for example, are the go-to thing for quick communication, sharing of information, accessing emails, consuming entertaining content and much more. This very device that the gadget junkies swear by today might be replaced with a device as small and handy as a pen. These tiny devices will make communication even more user-friendly and secure without the owner having to worry about lock-in passwords or patterns. The existing communication tools will undergo makeovers to incorporate more advanced technology. And when that happens, we will surpass the existing ways in which we communicate as well as provide, consume and engage with content.

The future possibilities are endless, many of which are inconceivable to our limited thought processes. However, given the trajectory of technological advancements and the industry’s early adoption practices, we are sure to witness an overhaul like no other in the coming decade. It is only prudent to stay well abreast, clued-in and ahead of the curve because change will be a constant companion.

(The author is the Chief Financial Officer of BIG FM)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com. For more updates, subscribe to exchange4media's WhatsApp Channel- https://bit.ly/2QUdLCK

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