The media content industry is in the process of revitalizing and reorganizing once again. The 20th century Studio Syndication model is exhausted; the Syndication-across-all-media model, with ancillary Merchandising rights and Product Placement had exploded, and generated a new distribution channel: streaming services. These streaming services are a currently reworked syndication model for content, with audiences paying a monthly fee to view historical Film and TV content and exclusive premium content 24/7. In other words, media companies are consolidating distribution channels across all media to monetize content, to expand and enhance the economics of the media business. [Note: My columns for Screentalk in the 1990’s discussed these same syndication and distribution issues as “the Internet” evolved from AOL and Netscape. They were barely accepted by early adopters and advanced slowly, until the days of the first massive AOL outage, when people realized how dependent they had become on email.]
The challenges facing “content producers” should be very familiar for the entertainment and media (Film, Television, Cable, Publishing, Music and Gaming) industries. Many are now experimenting with other re-packaged initiatives: shoppable functions on streaming services, where viewers can buy real-world products they see on the screen; digital merchandise (beware NFTs); and the introduction of digital wallet payment plans, which permit customers to pay for content on-demand.
The challenges for the future remain: meeting the needs required by the speed of digital transformations; how to take advantage of interactivity beyond shopping and subscription services; meeting evolving Cybersecurity challenges, including balancing advertising, marketing enhancements, Privacy (Opt-In vs Opt-Out and the accumulation of data); the acceleration of technological innovations which are progressing with incredible speed (AI and machine learning, cloud computing, automation and robotics); and the increasing creative and technological hybrid staffing shortages who can invent, create, build and maintain emerging digital technologies. Which technologies will survive, be sustainable and economical for businesses and consumers?
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