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.
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