Off-network distribution is the new reality. Hand-in-hand with the explosion of content experiences comes the realization that media and entertainment companies must undergo major transformation to master “off-network” distribution.
What is “off-network” distribution? It’s the simple notion that the content will likely be experienced in a venue that a media brand does not control – we are borrowing someone else’s platform and audience. While we are familiar with borrowing the venue of a theatre or cable network to distribute a film, it is less natural across the multitudes of new platforms. And thriving on each platform requires different production skills, contract management and revenue optimization. These are skills we are developing as an industry, but we are far from mastering them.
As we contemplate the new reality of technology-enhanced experiences across a multitude of formats, and a shift to off-network distribution, the complexity of managing a media business multiplies exponentially. While we cannot change that consumer reality, we can understand it comprehensively by sharing and using data across all elements of the business. From research, to analytics, to business intelligence, it is data that allows us to put the atomized experience and business model back together. And, if we enable real-time action from that data, it also enables us to respond to the supremely dynamic nature of the landscape.
Data not only allows us to manage the business holistically, it also allows us to enhance the consumer experience. Data allows us to drive more personal relevance for audiences by anticipating human needs, reducing noise and unwanted clutter and refining the art. And, as creativity abounds across platforms, humans will require more, perhaps machine-led, discovery to identify the content that delights them most in an increasingly multi-channel, cross-platform and unnavigable world.
As soon as we understand the new landscape, it will change. Just as we have mastered social media, our industry finds itself in the midst of yet more disruption. And the convergence with automotive is imminent. The innovation treadmill shows no signs of slowing.
What does creativity look like across the new devices, experiences and platforms showcased annually at CES? And how will it evolve as those innovations are adopted at scale? What is storytelling as a voice-enabled, geo-fenced and wearable chatbot connected with and featured in new forms of entertainment displays?
Transformation of the companies we lead at this dramatic moment requires some degree of humility as no one has the precise answers. However, key questions challenge how we deploy creativity and data in parallel and can help us realize the potential of the future:
- Is the human experience at the core of the strategy?
- Is our business model aligned to the present or the future?
- Are we enhancing creativity with data?
- Can we truly see the dynamics of the experience we create?