Wednesday Apr 09, 2014

Building Great Experiences into Digital Media

What is it that leads Netflix to grow revenues by 24% to $1.2 billion, or Spotify the music streaming service, to have one quarter of its 24 million customers opting to pay a $9,99 monthly subscription for its service?  What is it about these digital content services that persuades consumers to pay - while many more established media and entertainment businesses are struggling to create successful direct-to-consumer propositions or get growth in their digital revenues?

At Oracle, we've worked with many industries who've faced the same dilemmas, and almost always the answer comes down to customer experience.  The successful players in the digital space are those who focus relentlessly on every consumer: engaging them, creating compelling experiences and seamless customer journeys - and ultimately being rewarded for this by consumers who are willing to pay and subscribe.

Oracle's own research of media and entertainment executives around the world finds that most understand the importance of customer experience to the future success of their business.  Indeed they believe that they risk losing 27% of revenue year-on-year by failing to provide great customer experiences.   Yet in spite of this, around half of media and entertainment companies have no active customer experience strategy under way.



So what is it that media customers will pay for?  The difficult truth is that great content alone is no longer enough.  Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business assess research originally produced by Dr. Elizabeth Sanders in 1992.



Here they find that the most basic requirement is to meet then customer's needs.  All companies need to do this of course.  In the media business, that means making relevant content available to the customer.  Unfortunately, that's where many companies stop.  But in order to create growing and sustainable revenues, it's critical to move "up the triangle".

The successful content providers are those that not only provide content products, but make them utterly simple and compelling to use.  Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the success of Apple's products.  The iPod wasn't the first digital music player, and the iPhone wasn't the first smartphone - but Apple gained significant market advantage by making these products easy to use for the majority of consumers.

And to really prosper, companies need to create an emotional engagement with their customers, to the extent that consumers really enjoy using the products.  Again, this is something that many new entrants to the media world appear to have achieved.

Fortunately, it's becoming easier for all media and entertainment companies to move up this triangle and build the sort of engaging experiences that consumers value enough to pay for and return to.  Many media and entertainment companies are using Oracle's customer experience tools to help them do this.  NBC Sports is engaging younger viewers through social media, and attracting them back to linear sports TV.  The Boston Globe is building a paid-for customer base by focusing on delivering fantastic customer service.  Dow Jones is making it simple for consumers to subscribe to their valuable content services, and Sony Computer Entertainment is insuring that PlayStation users enjoy a great gaming experience.

Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Does Technology Matter for Media Companies?

Should media and entertainment creative executives care about technology?  Does it add any value - or is it just a cost center?  After all, it's the content that consumers are paying for, right?

As many industry leaders gather at the NAB Show this week perhaps that question seems redundant - the Las Vegas Convention Center is stacked with technology as far as the eye can see.  But there is a serious point - look beyond the blinking lights of the latest broadcast technology goodies, and ask whether the industry really values the importance of technology?

NAB Show 2014

The entrepreneur and former Channel Four (UK broadcast network) chairman Luke Johnson thinks not. Writing in his Financial Times column, he believes many media industry creative leaders risk losing out to tech-savvy start-ups.

"I saw this phenomenon close up when I was in the broadcasting industry. Entertainment executives dominated: but almost none of them displayed any interest or understanding of the power and potential of technology. And so online, satellite and computer companies have progressively eaten their markets: the TV sector has been left in the dust, struggling to keep up with younger generations of consumers who are digital natives."

It's certainly the case that some of the highest-profile players in digital content services have come from outside the traditional industry.  Think Netflix, Amazon and Apple in video streaming.  Spotify and Pandora in music streaming.  And the powerful social networks that are grabbing eyeballs and advertising dollars - often at the expense of established media businesses.

These disruptive players have several things in common:
  • They are technology companies first and foremost and understand how to harness innovative technology to reach and engage with consumers, and deliver the sort of digital content experiences that consumers value enough to pay for
  • They focus as much on innovating the business model as on innovating content products.  For example, Spotify helped transform music from a paid-for download-to-own model to a subscription all-you-can-eat model.  In the wider world we see digital players like Uber disrupting the taxi business, and Airbnb disrupting the hotel business,
  • They have done this on the back of other people's content demonstrating that innovative digital-first players are able to find and exploit the gaps in customer experience and technology that the established content owners may have missed
If Luke Johnson is correct, many media and entertainment companies need to get smarter about understanding how they can best embrace new technology to deliver a competitive advantage and create their own innovative, customer-centric digital content businesses.

The good news is that technology partners like Oracle bring vast experience of digital transformation in many industries, and make that available to media and entertainment companies.  If you're at NAB this week, why not pay us a visit at booth SL13909 and see how we can help your business.  Or get in touch and we can come and show you how our innovative solutions are helping many media and entertainment businesses gain competitive advantage in the digital marketplace.

Monday Apr 07, 2014

Oracle in Las Vegas for the NAB Show

Broadcasters from around the world gather in Las Vegas this week for the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show.   There's an almost-bewildering array of the latest technology for creating, managing and delivering video entertainment - addressing an incredible diversity of content: from over-the-top (OTT) streaming on mobile devices at one end, to the brilliant quality and resolution of ultra-high-definition (UHD) and 4K formats at the other.

Oracle booth at NAB Show


Oracle's booth (SL13909) showcases solutions that not only help manage the content - but also enable broadcast networks, cable and satellite operators and content owners to engage directly with their audiences, build compelling experiences - and translate that into growing digital revenue streams.

Efficient workflows and on-demand consumers require digital content to be available on tap. But UHD and 4K, along with HD, create huge demands on digital libraries and archives.  Oracle's StorageTek digital media archive solutions solve those problems by offering the world's most scalable and highest capacity digital content archive: 500,000+ hours of uncompressed 4K content in the SL8500 - and one million hours of HD broadcast content in the compact SL3000.  That is coupled with Oracle's ZFS disk storage appliance - which offers very high throughput to support video workflows - as well as open standards LTFS support, and integration with a wide range of Media Assset Management vendors, and underpinned by Oracle technology and middleware, to offer a powerful media workflow solution.

Distributing that content to end consumers is enabled by Oracle's partnership with Fraunhofer FOKUS, the co-developer of the MPEG-DASH  standard for cross-device, secure video streaming.  At NAB we'll be showing the power of Oracle's Media Commerce solution to build a powerful personalized content platform with highly-flexible transactions and subscriptions from Oracle Billing and Revenue Management Cloud, integrated with MPEG-DASH to deliver video to any device.  This allows content owners to build a next-generation OTT or VoD platform to deliver compelling customer experiences while innovating business and revenue models. 


Content owners and distributors can unlock immense value by better understanding every digital interaction they have with every end consumer.  For the first time at NAB, Oracle is showing its Media Intelligence solution, in partnership with media big data specialists NGDATA.  Built on Oracle's powerful Big Data Appliance this cost-effective solution allows media and entertainment companies to capture real-time data about consumers - from web logs, clickstream, transactions, social media - and build a detailed "DNA" profile of each individual user.  This can then drive highly-targeted marketing and social media to acquire new customers and viewers, while delivering them a very personalized experience with relevant content recommendations and targeted advertising.  Best of all, the solution can be deployed And delivering value in a matter of weeks - significantly faster and cheaper than "DIY" big data solutions.

Oracle Media Intelligence Solution

If you're visiting the NAB Show this year, come and pay us a visit at booth SL13909 - we think you'll enjoy seeing these solutions in action.

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