Media & Entertainment

How Consumer Demand is Driving Media Companies to Get Personal

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With an ever-increasing array of devices and over-the-top direct-to-consumer platforms, connected consumers are now clearly demanding high quality and personalized anytime, anywhere content experiences. Media and entertainment firms are now competing for three things – with each and every consumer – their time, advocacy and money.

Consumers are spending more time watching video on their smartphones, tablets and other mobile and Internet-connected devices and services.

According to a new study by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) and the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), more than half of the 21,000 consumers surveyed are using mobile devices daily to watch video content, a number that is expected to nearly double in the next three years.

The study, “Creating A “Living” Media Partner for Your Consumers: A Cognitive Future for Media and Entertainment,” was released today at IBC’s annual conference is based on findings from two studies. The first is the survey of nearly 21,000 consumers in 42 countries about their video consumption habits, and the second offers insights from 500 global media and entertainment executives about the impact of cognitive computing on their industry.

The consumer study found that 51 percent of people surveyed – and 67 percent in emerging markets – access free, over-the-Internet video from providers such as YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat, while 48 percent access video through regular subscription services from traditional pay-TV providers.

Yet, video consumption isn’t without its issues. The study also finds that consumers’ mobile video experience leaves much to be desired. Sixty-seven percent of surveyed consumers said they experienced buffering problems and 62 percent have experienced long waiting times to load a video, leading most impatient consumers to abandon streaming video on their mobile device after waiting only 15 seconds or less.

More importantly, consumers do not practice loyalty – 56 percent said they would switch providers if others offered better video streaming. However, 42 percent are willing to pay extra for the assurance of a quality video experience and for 40 percent, ads are acceptable, if tailored to their preferences.

To win the consumer, it is critical to deliver higher-quality services with exceptional in the moment audience-tailored experiences.

To do so, media companies must adopt new technologies and innovations. In fact, according to today’s study, 92  percent of media and entertainment executives say cognitive computing will play an important role in the future of their business.

A comprehensive cognitive – or AI– strategy means broadcasters can make sense of large amounts of data derived from this ever-increasing connectedness and act on it in real-time. The challenge is to use the data emanating from this connectedness for competitive advantage. Cognitive computing allows media companies to better understand their audiences, to enhance customer choice and engagement, and to derive the insights necessary to better connect the right content with the right audience.

With consumer demands expected to rapidly evolve over the next few years, media companies have three options to consider when facing these pressures:

  1. they can apply cognitive technology to deliver personalized, in-the-moment experiences that create compelling experiences based on audience preferences, affinities and tastes;
  2. they can revamp infrastructure to scale automatically based upon predictions of audience demands and peak loads, better accommodating the high volumes of content and the move from several hundred channels to several million “cable channels for one;”
  3. or, they can re-engineer business models – including optimizing back-end systems and processes while refocusing on the customer experience – to monetize new opportunities.

As we look ahead, media and entertainment companies must differentiate themselves in the market to gain the competitive edge by implementing a broad, cognitive strategy that can unlock and interpret previously inaccessible data. Utilizing this approach, traditional media players will transform into organizations that are capable of delivering a seamless, personalized, and compelling content experience.

Join us at IBC – visit the IBM Stand (MS13, Hall 15) to see how we’re helping M&E firms to leverage AI and Cloud for their Digital Reinvention.

IBM Global Managing Director for the Communications Sector

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