Entertainment and Media (E&M) industry have changed a lot over the years along with the technological advancement. However, one can doubtlessly say that the development we witnessed in the last couple of years — especially with the contribution of social media — may far exceed the changes that took place in the past two decades.
Now, social media exists as a vital part of the media industry, and a classic example of this shift can be seen on how sports organizations and athletes took up to social media to reach to their audience to make important announcements and communicate messages with their fans. The audience also has taken up smaller devices to watch, respond, and, comment instantly through the social media platforms.
All these developments presage the E&M industry’s rapid transition to a direct-to-consumer model, in which the production, packaging, and distribution of the content shifted significantly. The entertainment content creators of all genres also pursue boundless opportunities outside traditional studios and conventional distribution channels.
At the consumer end, there is unlimited content to choose from, anytime and in any combination through various devices. For E&M executives, the success formula is to shift their strategies radically and adapt to those changes.
Influence of social media in E&M industry
Twenty years ago, it was far out of reality to think about a world in which millions of people are live-tweeting the events of the Super Bowl. Sports, movies, and fashion studios used to promote their content through television commercials or billboards only. A celebrity was never in trouble for the content of its tweet. Now,it is not only common occurrence but to be expected. Let’s discuss a couple of examples of social media’s influence in E&M industry.
Kobe Bryant’s retirement
When discussing the seismic social media shift happening in E&M industry, one has to mention the classic example of basketball star Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement plan from the NBA back in November 2015, not through any major sports network, but through the social media platform Twitter and Players’ Tribune, a sports-centric digital publisher. It is unimaginable how fast the news hit the world with unlimited retweets taking place at lightning speed.
You may also remember how Ellen Degeneres created a blast on social media by posting her Oscar selfie, which was one of the most retweeted (3.3 million) posts in the history of social networking ever! The Academy Awards were already popular, but when it leveraged the mankind’s growing addiction to social media.
SM’s influence on TV, films, and music
Social media is not just yet another platform as music, films, or TV. The discussions happening on social media are global, based on various events and human experience relation what they watch, see, or buy provide direct insight about consumer preferences. One who keenly observes will be able to understand how consumer activities influence their future behavior, and how to translate it to insights for deriving actionable strategies.
A recent report from the leading market research firm Penn Schoen Berland showed that more than 88% of the survey respondents identify social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as the most reliable and accessible channels of entertainment and communication.
Let’s talk about the Generation-C, new niche generation of youngsters born between March 12, 1988 and April 24 1993; the C stands for CONTENT who is an active creator of content.
The survey showed that the Generation-C is spending more time in social networking and listening to music on internet than watching full-length movies or TV shows. A snapshot of Generation-C’s weekly activities as follows;
- 8 Hours – Social networking activities
- 8 Hours – Listening to music
- 7 Hours – Watching television shows
- 4 Hours – Watching full-length movies
- 4 Hours – Watching video on YouTube
- 4 Hours – Online chat and instant messaging
An interesting stat about the psychology of engagement through social media based on those who engage while watching TV shows is as follow: 76% of them do so live, and about 51% out of this lot want to be connected to others who might be watching the same. The type of programs which the viewers are most likely to post while watching are 56% Comedy, 46% Reality TV, 38% Sports, 26% Cable News, etc.
Another important aspect is the influence of social media on movies. It is noted that every one out of three consumers, visiting a theater to watch movies do it after reading comments on social networks. Social networking is also not limited as cell phone calls during at-home movie watching. An estimated 55% of the moviegoers do texting and networking while watching movies. The millennials do believe that using social networks such as Facebook or Twitter while watching a movie will add to their experience.
It is not the vinyl, cassette tapes, CDs, or music television bringing music to the Gen-Y, but the Internet and social media. People said goodbye to MTV and hello to online music videos. To know the spread of it, just consider that Kanye West has more than 1.5 million subscribers, and Justin Bieber grabs 5 billion views on YouTube. No doubt that social media has revolutionized the music industry. From artists interacting live with their fans to releasing promos to get new followers, social media plays vital.
Key E&M trends to watch out for in 2016
Unlike ever before, the providers need to practice utmost efficiency and innovation by experimenting with new ways regarding content creation, distribution, technology, operations, and monetization to bag success. Some trends to forecast are:
Context is the king
It is not like a book reincarnated into an e-book, but the next generation information creators need to think of information delivered in any possible format. The concept here is to understand the context of the users – who they are, where they are, and what they want. Many organizations are still left at the former step. However, in 2016, the most successful content creators will be those who can go the extra mile to prepare and deliver information in the right context.
Vitality of customer data
Customers were the top theme of 2015, and so far so has been in 2016. The ideal 2016 strategy will be that all E&M activities remains customer data-centric including identifying context, customized content creation for geographical locations, and proper connection of content with promotions.
Content cost structure
Media companies may fundamentally lower the cost of content production as consumer spend is shifting more to digital media than analog. It will create a situation in 2016 as media firms introduce more variable costs by maintaining only fewer content producers and editors in-house, but networking more with external contributors to ensure significant scale and consistency.
Mobile for professional
The consumer shifts to mobile will continue to change and affect the E&M industry too. The shift is not just about making the current products mobile ready, but about unique ways to deliver content through mobile by ensuring optimum user experience.
At it is already quarter past 2016. We can see that many of these exciting predictions about E&M have already started, and now we must wait to see how it will unfold. No matter how the year pans out, with many new gadgets getting ready at R&D labs of major electronic corporations, we can expect it to be another exciting year for all those who engage in the ever-changing world of entertainment and media.