As managing director of Radical Moves Ltd, a PR agency specialising in the fast-paced broadcast and satellite industries, I spend a lot of time speaking to media companies across the broadcast industry about what matters to them, what challenges they face and what they think is around the corner. I also go to a lot of industry shows which is a great way to get a feel for the key issues and trends taking the industry by storm. A few trends have really stood out to me this year.
Sustainability is taking centre stage
One topic that has truly taken the spotlight is sustainability. Although it has featured in conversations for a while, discussions around sustainability are now centre stage and taking place on an industry-wide basis rather than on the side-line. We’ve had clients taking it very seriously for a while, but on a wider scale, it hasn’t really felt like any real movement has happened, until now. Suddenly, the industry seems to have woken up and is taking notice. Initiatives such as the Corporate Star Awards are dishing out well deserved recognition for those companies that are making a difference. I was particularly impressed to see a whole track dedicated to sustainability at IBC, sparking much-needed discussion. The fact that there is even a new magazine launched that is dedicated to sustainability in media, The Flint, is a testament to just how much this is being talked about.
Although the impact of these discussions is yet to be seen in full, it’s clear that media companies are having to start looking seriously at sustainability metrics. At the same time, this is not something that can be solved in silos, so we’re already starting to see initiatives that bring people together so that they can learn from one another to plan their own way forward. For example, Accedo held a sustainability roundtable earlier in the year, which brought together content owners and technology vendors. Planned as the first in a series, it aims to brainstorm around potential experiments where sustainability takes a central role, with the aim of helping organisations with their sustainable transformation.
Ad-supported content is here to stay
Another trend that’s been impossible to miss this year is the growth in popularity of ad-based content. The economic climate is putting pressure on the industry as consumers react to financial pressures by curbing their spending on streaming services. Video providers have responded to these changing consumer preferences by quickly pivoting their monetisation models to include ad-supported plans, and it looks like ad-based content is here to stay. According to a recent report by LG Ad Solutions, 68% of UK consumers prefer to stream free, ad-based contact on AVOD rather than paying for the ad-free SVOD experience.
This shift to AVOD models while services continue to compete for viewers, is impacting the industry in a number of ways. As providers look to increase ad-revenue, there’s a lot of focus on optimising ad delivery and increasing engagement, and this is driving innovation around advertising. We’re starting to see next-generation ad-tech that when combined with advanced data analytics, will allow video providers to take personalisation and ad engagement to the next level.
Drive to optimise workflows and services
Another way that the industry is responding to the squeeze on consumer spending is to re-evaluate and optimise services and workflows. There is a real appetite to work smarter and more efficiently, to produce more for less, all without compromising quality. This is driving media organisations to consider new ways of working which include leveraging both the cloud and AI.
While not a new trend as such, the industry-wide shift to the cloud is continuing unabated which is not surprising given that by leveraging the cloud, media organisations can optimise workflows, leading to increased efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced capabilities. The agility and scalability provided by the cloud are particularly valuable in an industry where content consumption patterns and technology are continually evolving.
AI has attracted a huge amount of attention over the last year and is featuring large in the industry’s drive for optimisation. The integration of AI into various aspects of the content supply chain is enabling broadcasters and media organisations to improve efficiency by reducing time and effort spent on manual tasks through automation. AI is also playing a key role in data analytics which is allowing service providers to make data-driven decisions to improve quality, and deliver a more personalised and engaging experience to viewers.
The industry is changing at such a fast pace that there will doubtless be many other trends emerging as we head into the new year. While the rise of ad-supported content and drive for optimisation are indeed shaping the industry, they are impacting some parts of the media supply chain more than others. Sustainability on the other hand is such an important issue that it’s going to impact every single company within the industry in one way or another. As we move into 2024, the industry will need to find more ways to work together for the good of the entire industry, and the planet. And let’s not forget that sustainability is not just about environmental impact but also about many other factors such as encouraging and celebrating diversity. This will ultimately make the industry more sustainable, but not just that, it will also be better industry to work within for all.