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The eight most important questions for the connected entertainment industry

What isn’t changing about the connected entertainment industry? New audience habits driven by rapid technological innovation are fundamentally changing the content landscape.

Business models that have been around for decades are being torn asunder by a cord-cutting audience of fickle millennials who don’t want to pay for fat bundles of TV entertainment.

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Mobile is wrenching viewing out of the home, where already the television has become just one of many screens available.

These disruptors are affecting every aspect of the value chain, leaving operators questioning the very nature of their businesses.

To understand this better, the producers of TV Connect in London next year have spent hundreds of hours with a cross section of the connected entertainment industry to understand what is most important to them.

We asked TV Connect Portfolio Director Emma Tommony what the top questions were and why:

1) How do I ensure that the business strategies I implement today will survive the unknowns of the future?

Emma Tommony: “It quickly became clear during our research that this was top of mind for the industry, because ensuring the strategies you put in place today are fit-for-purpose in the coming years is crucial for an organisation’s success. TV Connect London will go a step beyond this and consider ‘disruptive pioneers’ or, more specifically, ways to ensure that you don’t just have the right strategies in place but that the people putting those strategies into action are also the right ones – able to challenge the status quo and embrace disruption.”

2) How do I manage my networks to scale online services, ensuring the highest quality delivery at minimum cost?

Emma Tommony: “Being able to manage both expected and unexpected spikes and provide content live and at scale is becoming crucial. More and more we are seeing the demand for multiscreen from consumers and but not all service providers have been able to use this converged space to their best advantage as yet. With the rise of content being watched more and more on mobile devices along with the exponential growth of data being used, it is critical for organisations to know where they should be creating new relationships across the value chain, as well as knowing where to invest in their infrastructure to effectively build scale. This is where we at TV Connect look to bring people together – to show strategy in practice and how you can best monetise .”

3) How do I minimise my risks through championing the right technology investments and business model implementations?

Emma Tommony: “The more research I undertake, the more that this question seems to arise when speaking with those in the connected entertainment space. Making the right investments doesn’t just affect you now, but for the years to come and so making the wrong decision can have ramifications felt for years to come. More than this, however, making the right tactical investments can help position an organisation ahead of their competitors, and reach mass audiences not previously possible. It’s a delicate tightrope to walk, but get it right and you can not only just reduce your organisational risks, you can walk away a winner too.”

4) With the sheer scale of data being created daily, where do I start? How do I deliver personalised content at scale?

Emma Tommony: “We are creating masses of information around our viewers and their habits, but does this information overload still allow room for creativity? Does the availability of big data and analytics ruin our appetite for taking risk with imaginative ideas? Launching both new products and into new markets requires accurate leveraging of big data and analytics to correctly identify new opportunities. However, with the sheer scale of data being created daily, where do you start? Which bits of your data are going to deliver the most value for your organisation? How do you effectively get your data out of collection and into a strategy? All key questions that if an organisation can tackle can provide value-add monetisation opportunities through big data.”

5) What is the future of bundling strategy and how can we refine this to our audience?

Emma Tommony: “The connected entertainment market is so crowded with options for consumers, it has become crucial to strategic success to present carefully researched and honed packages to customers. But this means that the number of packages on offer has increased dramatically, creating complexity and a need to manage multiple types of packages. As an industry, it therefore seems apt to ask ourselves ‘should we be consolidating’? and, if so, which model should we champion as an industry? Alternatively, if this isn’t the path we follow will we simply see the industry fragment more before it consolidates and how far can the industry sustain this?”

6) Is 360 live TV something I should be championing within my organisation?

Emma Tommony: “Offering Live 360 content has become the pinnacle of innovation for broadcasters across Europe and we’ve seen an influx of 360 live services launched by traditional companies looking to infuse their existing brands with fresh associations and appeal to ever changing audiences. But there are some key questions broadcasters need to ask themselves when here, including the consideration of other technical formats such as VR – so will live 360 offerings help find the best utilisation of VR content for broadcasters in future? Other questions to ask yourself should include: how do you approach production for live events in 360 degrees? Is Live 360 offered for a truly immersive experience only and is it worth it from an audience perspective? How do you excite audiences with innovations such as this?”

7) How do I capitalise and commercialise on new viewing habits into 2017 and beyond?

Emma Tommony: “As an industry we create volumes of data to predict the future consumption desires of today’s millennials and make assumptions around their preferences, but are we getting this right? How do today’s youth audiences describe their wish-list around the future direction for new media and is this being incorporated into business strategy? We know from research at TV Connect that what non-millennials consider social media doesn’t strictly speaking match any more and so in 2017 we feel organisations need to be reviewing their social strategies to also include asking what does ‘social media’ actually mean in 2017? Furthermore, when it comes to a younger audience demographic, what is the priority in terms of consuming content – is it big screen or anywhere, anytime and how can you commercialise on these new viewing habits?“

8) Is mobile and new media how I should be prioritising the provision of content everywhere, anytime?

Emma Tommony: “The answer here depends on what demographic you are trying to target – our research has indicated that for a 35 and up demographic it is more about the big screen and quality of viewing experience. However, for those in the 35 and under demographic, the priority is more around content everywhere, anytime – but without sacrificing on quality. It is clear that whatever your priority, crafting the right social and new media strategy for your organisation is vital for future success, but to do you must be clear in your objectives and understanding of your target market.”

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