We surveyed over 350 media and entertainment industry leaders to understand how they define and navigate their changing landscape.
The New Year is often a time of personal self-reflection, but after CES 2020, it’s also the ideal time for the media and entertainment industry to reflect on itself.
In January, I had the pleasure of participating alongside an esteemed panel of industry colleagues on “Up Close and Personal Brand Storytelling” at this year’s Variety Entertainment Summit at CES, where we discussed why brands seeking consumer engagement are best served by a mix of creativity and data to drive personal connections with humans in an increasingly disrupted world.
We say this word — “disruption” — so often that it becomes ubiquitous and commoditized, but it is clearer than ever that the consumer engagement and business models that have been core to our industry are being upended — rapidly.
To look beyond our individual perspective, the EY organization surveyed over 350 media and entertainment industry leaders globally to understand how they define the changing landscape and what they are doing to navigate back to growth. You can read the full report here, but the three biggest takeaways are dramatic and have to give us real pause:
- More than one-third of respondents do not think their company will make it past the next five years without a fundamental reinvention of themselves.
- Half of the companies we talked to say they can’t rely on their legacy business models to drive future success.
- Almost one-third of the executives admit that they don’t know how to define their priorities for transformation.
While no one can identify a complete picture of the drivers that have led to this precarious state of the business, there is no question that a dynamic competitive landscape, an acceleration of technological change, and rapidly shifting consumer expectations and behaviors will keep the pressure on industry leaders.
So how can we transform to grow?
The transformation priorities articulated by leaders in our survey were revealing and largely fall into three areas:
- Operational excellence and agility. This point is straightforward (and perhaps obvious) but hinges on commitment and execution: run the company better and more nimbly. The days of luxurious resources and unnecessary complexity are over (and probably should have been long ago). In fact, it could be argued that some of the recent M&A activity in the media and entertainment sector catalyzes operational discipline in a push to realize synergy and forces efficiency that is vital to industry success.
- Innovation strategy and approach. This is a clear corollary to media business leaders’ awareness that they need to move beyond legacy business models to survive. Companies must accelerate how they find new sources of potential growth at scale. Innovation can no longer simply be a portfolio of experiments for learning at the edges; rather, it must be a portfolio of potential business opportunities that can scale to meaningful traction and profitability.
- Accelerate talent and skills development. This third top priority articulated by media executives is reflective of both the war for top talent (creative, sales and otherwise), as well as the gap between legacy talent and today’s most pressing needs (first-party data acquisition, advanced analytics and performance marketing, for example). The solution, in part, requires crafting a culture capable of attracting talent drawn to a more dynamic, purpose-driven environment. But more often, particularly in a tight labor market, workforce evolution comes from deploying automation to take routine tasks off humans’ plates to elevate their day-to-day activities, while enriching skills to focus on more modern digital and data-driven capabilities.
Under any scenario, 2020 will be a year for media companies to face harsh realities head-on. The competition for consumers and advertisers will only accelerate, so crisp thinking about how to deploy attention and capital toward the new priorities is more critical than ever.