Being employed means you have to comply with corporate guidelines and give politically correct answers to most questions. We asked three former TV executives to give less polished answers to the million-dollar question: what must TV companies do to survive the streaming wars. Our panel includes one executive with TECH background, one with CONTENT background and one in MARCOMMS, to get different perspectives. Here’s what they had to say:
1. WHAT WILL BE THE TELEVISION COMPANIES’ TOUGHEST CHALLENGE OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS, AND WHY?
TECH: As the supply of TV-series skyrockets, you must make it easy for consumers to find your content. No matter if users google or browse in a VOD service, they should get the same experience, with rich and relevant information about the programs. Providing quality metadata with every episode is the key to improving searchability and recommendations. Management should support marcomms and acquisition departments in becoming much more ambitious with metadata.
CONTENT: With so many new streaming platforms competing with each other, the biggest challenge will be to build a super-strong consumer brand, attractive enough to make people actively search and sign up for your service. And the key to building that brand is to secure the best rights. If you have to choose between volume and quality, go for quality!
MARCOMMS: Journalism as we know it is dying right in front of our eyes and you need to turn to other communications options than traditional media, which has been a heavy target for Comms and Market departments at TV companies for a long time. The trend is going towards social media sponsoring and performance marketing, spiced with some influencer campaigns. The challenge here is to stay relevant long-term and not just feed Google and Facebook with money.
2. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEASURE YOUR SUCCESSOR SHOULD TAKE TO MEET THESE CHALLENGES, AND WHY?
TECH: Build an end-to-end workflow for metadata. First, make sure the program acquisition team provides enough information about all episodes and gives each program a unique ID. Then make the tech team responsible for automating the sharing and distribution of this information to all necessary stakeholders, internally and externally.
CONTENT: Employ the best leaders who can truly lead the new tv-industry, not follow. Creative leaders understand they must combine data, people and content to produce powerful products. Today some companies seem to put too much faith in technology alone.
The second thing you need is a purpose. If you want to attract the best leaders and talent, you must demonstrate a higher purpose, beyond financials. Because no one – not even your CFO – goes to work to please shareholders’ cravings for higher profits.
MARCOMMS: I should prefer more smart PR campaigns together with heavy CRM processes to nail the customer by your doorstep and make your brand more relevant. And at the end of the day you need to show your CFO or CEO stats and data and that’s the weakness of PR and Communications compared to Marketing. If you find a smart way to actually target and measure PR in an adequate way, you´ll probably get the Nobel Prize.
3. WHAT RECENT TV-CONTENT REPRESENTS THE FUTURE OF TELEVISION BEST, AND WHY?
TECH: Live sports will become even more important than it is today. And drama series will be more important than movies. The challenge is that consumers are not very loyal. You will have to release new quality content all the time to make people stay.
CONTENT: SKAM, Game of Thrones and Succession – because these series engage people at a level that makes them share the experiences with their peers. Such buzz drives consumption more than marketing.
MARCOMMS: Sports rights. Everyone can do entertainment, reality, drama and news. And they do. The competition between Netflix, HBO, Apple, Amazon, TV4, SVT, Viaplay and Dplay in entertainment and drama is brutal. Everyone can’t survive this fight. For sports you’re exclusive and it’s a rather easy way to attract subs. And of course the reason why NENT paid 25 billion SEK for the Premier League rights…
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