The media and entertainment market is fragmented, with audiences now granted greater choice of what and how to consume content. We look at how two recent news stories reflect the changing state of the industry.
Earlier this year, the mobile phone celebrated a rather significant birthday! April 4th marked 50 years since the first call was made on a mobile device, by Motorola engineer Martin Cooper. He used the company’s DynaTAC handset, which despite weighing over a kilo was a space-age rarity for most of the public at the time.
Nothing illustrates how far we’ve come since, than a recent Ofcom report revealing one in five 3 and 4-year-olds now have their own mobile phone. Alongside this increase is the inevitable decrease in the viewing of broadcast TV live via a TV set; it fell again this year, by 20% for 4 to 15 year-olds. Unlike Martin Cooper back in 1973, most of these children aren’t making calls or sending messages, they’re watching videos.
Down the rabbit hole
Of course, anyone who regularly watches iPlayer on their iPad or disappears down a rabbit hole of social content will be well aware of our changing media consumption habits. What makes April’s two news pieces particularly interesting though, is their illustration of the transformation of the mobile phone to the present day and the stark reality of how tomorrow’s consumer majority (i.e. those age groups surveyed today) will consume content.
In Martin Cooper’s 1970s there were only three TV channels in the UK, so how did we get to today’s reality as painted by the Ofcom report?
Changes in the media industry have led to a fragmented marketplace. When TV was the primary means of media and entertainment consumption (enabled by the TV licensing fee and satellite subscriptions), major players like the BBC and Sky dominated. The emergence of OTT (over-the-top, or internet-delivered), more widespread and better connectivity, and 4G- and 5G-enabled devices changed this.
Consumers are no longer tethered to a satellite subscription to access content, resulting in the ‘cord cutting’ trend. The BBC and other traditional broadcasters like ITV and Channel 4, meanwhile, have had to come up with innovative digital products to retain audiences.
Catching up and cracking down
Channel 4’s 4 On Demand service first launched in 2006, BBC’s iPlayer in 2007 and ITV’s Catch Up in 2008. Since then, the traditional broadcasters have had to continually reinvent and revitalise their offerings. This includes embarking on joint ventures like BritBox.
Even the oldest players in the media and entertainment market have realised they must adapt to survive. Founded in 1923, Disney, for instance, launched its Disney+ service in March 2020 and became the UK’s third-biggest streaming platform within just three months. Adapting to survive means not only gaining more subscribers but gaining more revenue per subscriber. This is known as ARPU: average revenue per paying user. A good example here is Netflix, which announced a crackdown on password sharing that it is rolling out in territories this year.
Major streaming platforms like Netflix are only one side of the story. The ease of creating and disseminating content has allowed more smaller brands and individuals to monetise video. This is not exactly new, as live streaming services have been around for some time. Periscope and Facebook Live launched in 2015 and 2016, respectively, while YouTube has been around since 2005. However, this market has matured massively in recent years, with everyone and anyone now creating, uploading, disseminating and monetising content.
Influencers: the new media moguls
It may come as surprise that the Oxford English Dictionary added the word ‘influencer’ to its pages only last year! The now ubiquitous term loosely outlines a role that may encompass content creator, media owner, advertiser, marketer, advisor, actor, brand. The influencer is the new media mogul.
The fragmented and ever-broadening media and entertainment market offers significant opportunity for even the newest influencers and most daunted of start-ups. However, the diverse and disparate space also presents challenges. Gaining fans/followers/viewers is one thing, but retaining these numbers and capitalising on content is quite another.
Success is dependent on the technology underlying content management and streaming: a solid content platform is required. These platforms must be scalable and feature tools for content delivery, management, monetisation and security, as well as creating payment plans and managing subscribers, metrics and analytics and so on.
Bespoke broadcast technology
A one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf solution may work for some, but in such a diverse market, a more bespoke approach is often better. At AppDrawn, we can incorporate all of the above features into a high-spec platform, customised for the specific needs of the brand and its audience. This could include an established influencer wanting to revamp their offering, or a creative wanting to move beyond the confines of TikTok and gain more control over their content.
Our team have worked with big names like the BBC, but we also understand the importance of emerging opportunities in media and entertainment and working with brands to maximise these. We’ve identified niche sports (we’ve worked with brands like Swervetracker, for instance) and training and education provision as two such areas.
Providing end-to-end SaaS delivery, we’re working with brands to support the future of the media and entertainment industry. Remember: the mobile phone wielding toddlers of today will dominate the media and entertainment market tomorrow, so be prepared!