If your media and entertainment organization seems to be doing “well enough” now, sustaining or redoubling those efforts will likely not be enough moving forward, said Robert Hoyle Brown, vice president of the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant.
There has been so much change over the past 18 months that it can be hard to evaluate what exactly has been done, then devise a plan for the future. We’ve moved our chessmen around the board so much that we may not have noticed that the game has evolved into the 3D chessboard that was shown on “Star Trek” back in the day.
It’s reasonable to assume that things will get back to normal once the COVID crisis is over, but it will be a “new” normal, not the same M&E environment we had on Jan. 1, 2020.
“M&E organizations that make leading-edge technology a ‘partner-in-work’ can generate significant opportunities that extend beyond pure efficiency; they can begin to fundamentally reshape how the business performs, with benefits for both customers and employees,” said Brown.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we quickly adopted virtual meeting applications such as Zoom. Over time, we’ve been able to get our work done, but can this go on indefinitely?
“The virtual world is here to stay,” Brown said. “While we’ll be eternally grateful for seamless videoconferencing platforms like Zoom [and others] that gave us some semblance of much-needed social connection and work-from-home productivity during the COVID-19 crisis, these remote, technology-driven experiences have also served to magnify our desire for new and better ways to connect for a [virtual] night on the couch with family and friends, or with coworkers around the watercooler.”
Brown said that we are all hoping for something far more profound, positive, three-dimensional and immersive — the three-dimensional chessboard. That brings us back to M&E companies trying to connect with audiences that are rapidly assimilating new ways of communicating and working. This audience is ready to move on to the next big thing to consume and enjoy entertainment, and it is perfectly willing to consume it in our new virtual world.
“At no time in history has society consumed as much media as we’ve done in the months upon months of COVID-induced lockdown,” Brown said. “However, the post-COVID media consumer will be an acutely more discerning individual following this vastly increased consumption. Media providers with sub-standard or minimal content will be judged harshly, while those that can provide a wide array of timely, high-quality content will flourish.”
We all have friends that have feasted on old content during the COVID-19 crisis, watching one television series for hours a day, then moving on to another. You may have even done this yourself. Leveraging this existing content has value, but so does cutting a new path in the M&E field.
“The key is your direct-to-consumer approach: A winning strategy needs to combine data, AI, ML, digital engineering and automation-centric solutions to bring forward a differentiating experience that maps directly to consumers’ needs,” Brown said.
Audiences will be on the lookout to see what programming and entertainment breakthroughs happen during the next few months and years. Taking the (chess) game to the next level will be exciting — and profitable — for astute media companies.
© NAB 2021
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