Managing Revenues in the New Digital World

Traditional broadcasters have already reached the point where subscription revenues are equal to advertising income. In the recent financial crisis advertising inevitably suffered very badly, and the forecast for much of the world is that it will be slow to recover, not least because of new media platforms entering the market.

This is a subject worthy of real debate, and the business of broadcasting thread through the IBC2010 conference returns to the subject regularly. There are two sessions on Thursday 9 September though, that will be of interest.

The first, “Analytics and the digital consumer,” looks at how detailed data mining can achieve a better optimisation of advertising sales. Can analytic insight replace the gut feeling of experienced account managers? How is consumer behaviour changing as online media replaces some television viewing?

Can highly targeted, personalised advertising replace the lost revenue? If the same knowledge base is used for content recommendations, can that also generate revenues? Will it at least make the personalisation more acceptable to consumers?

That session is followed by another, which tackles the challenges head on: “Chasing advertising revenue after the financial crisis.” It will take a look at emerging alternative business models, with war stories from digital advertising executives and senior broadcast industry figures. They will talk about how they have adapted to media pressures, and their experiences of charting a media business through an industry in constant flux.

Those are just two of the business of broadcasting conference sessions, and delegates will find many other sessions very relevant to today’s challenges. Because these two sessions are on Thursday 9 September, though, they will fuel the debate, which will run through the whole of IBC2010.

In particular, they will pose a number of questions to which visitors can seek answers when the exhibition opens on Friday 10 September. How far can technology answer these fundamentally business questions?

There are new standards, such as BXF, which simplify the integration between the commercial and media systems of a broadcaster. Software developers are using Web services and CMIS to link a broad range of databases and assets to bring about new degrees of flexibility.

The idea is that the business should be agile enough to respond quickly to new commercial opportunities, wherever they lie, without being constrained by fixed technology platforms. Audiences today expect to receive content on whatever device happens to be convenient, whether it is the large high-definition television in the living room or the iPad or smartphone on the move — so content owners have to be equally flexible in managing their assets.

This is a time of great change for the whole industry, and taking time out to debate the issues and investigate new approaches is vital. IBC2010, through its combination of comprehensive exhibition, world class conference and excellent network, is the right time and place to do it.