Now in its second year, The Media+Networks: State of the Industry Survey canvassed opinion from more than 280 respondents, representing a broad range of companies and sectors. Geographically, it drew responses from EMEA, the Americas, India and Asia-Pacific.
In terms of job function, respondents reported roles in:
- Channel management,
- Hardware/software design & development,
- Technology & engineering,
- Sales & marketing,
- Research and consultancy.
From C-suite executives down, the survey offers an insight into how the entertainment industry is evolving and innovating.
The findings from the Survey have been blended with the views of leading analysts and industry perspectives to create this companion report. Building on the survey responses and analyst insights, the report also identifies themes, trends and innovations that are likely to drive debate during 2018.
Like last year, the feedback from the survey suggests that most companies embrace the current wave of technological disruption as a welcome opportunity to get closer to audiences, notwithstanding the commercial challenges that clearly exist.
With investment in content continuing to rise rapidly, writers and producers have never been in such demand. Analyst Loup Ventures, for example, forecats that Netflix content investment will hit US$7.5 billion this year, while Amazon will contribute a further US$4.5 billion. And then there’s Apple, which Loup Ventures believes will spend US$4 billion on content by 2022.
The voracious appetite to view this content is leading to innovations on every front. On-demand, the ability to move seamlessly across different screens, new content formats (including short-form and mobile-first) as well as VR/AR are all evidence of the sector’s dynamism and entrepreneurship.
One big question, of course, is how you monetise all of this activity. But it seems that the industry is finding answers with new forms of channel bundling, direct-to-consumer offerings and personalised/addressable advertising.
Another question is how you manage, deliver and organise this breath-taking area of content options. Again, the industry is finding answers in the form of 5G, the Cloud, voice recognition and personalisation.
In terms of priorities for the next 12 to 24 months, some respondents went for the obvious, such as “improving viewership”, “growing audience” and “ensuring programming inventory is monetised”. Others talked about the need to find “the right balance between rights acquisition and ARPU”.
There was also an emphasis on getting technical architecture right, with respondents emphasising a desire for “reliable streaming” and “moving all infrastructure to the Cloud”. This suggests a more general view that OTT is about to undergo a step change.
Others talked about their plans to develop their capabilities in VR, branded content and esports. If there was a negative concern shared by all it is the threat of content piracy.
Like last year, the survey and report show a continued trend towards convergence. Broadcasters and traditional PayTV platforms are shifting into OTT and mobile while online players such as YouTube are seeing growth on traditional TV screens.
Mobile continues to be a major consideration for respondents and analysts. Ericsson’s eighth ConsumerLab TV and Media report, for example, reports that, by 2020, 50% of all TV and video viewing will take place on a mobile screen (tablets, smartphones and laptops).
This represents an increase of 85% since 2010, with the smartphone alone accounting for almost one quarter (an increase of 160% since 2010). Ericsson also says preparations for 5G are gaining momentum and that operators are gearing up for commercial launches. It predicts the number of 5G subs will reach 1 billion by the end of 2023.
Our respondents cited dozens of companies that they regard as innovators across the various sectors of the business. Names that cropped up most frequently included:
In what promises to be another fast-moving year for the connected entertainment industry, the Media + Networks’ survey and report anticipate voice assistance, content discovery, audience analytics and the shift to mobile will be major themes.
The market is also ripe for some kind of decisive expansion into television by FANGA, the acronym coined for the collection might of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Apple. The big question is whether Hollywood’s giants can fight back.
At the recent Media + Networks' Digital Week, TalkTalk head of TV content Will Ennett and Digital TV Research principal analyst Simon Murray discussed the findings with Niall Hunt, digital content lead of Media + Networks. You can listen to that webinar on-demand here.
If you work in TV, this exclusive report is vital reading…