Everything in media is changing with disruptive new technology leading shifts in audience behavior, content delivery and revenue models.
Entertainment brands are reinventing their relationships with viewers as they seek ways to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive media environment.
Most realize they cannot win the volume game played by giants such as Google and Facebook, who leverage their huge audiences to trade in programmatic advertising. Media bosses acknowledge that they are not going to win over audiences on that kind of scale. But they can prosper by concentrating on their strengths and cultivating premium behavior amongst their audiences, engendering loyalty and engagement.
Broadcast TV companies, production companies and content creators can reconnect with audiences by launching their own media apps, downloaded to connected TVs, smart phones, tablets and new technology products. For this to work, they must offer high quality content that audiences will actively seek out. This premium content can be further monetized by offering tailored experiences. These can include interactions via the media app with shows and stars and other innovative ways of creating value by exploring the depth and quality of the content.
So how do entertainment and media brands go about creating premium audience habits with a media app?
1. Content is king, but distribution is your kingdom
Create premium content that audiences want to come to your app and your network to consume. Premium content is key to any digital content strategy. It comes in many forms - it could be content featuring the most popular actors and talent, or a multi-series drama of the sort much loved by Netflix. Premium implies that people are prepared to pay handsomely for it and will make time to watch it. New media apps give broadcasters an opportunity to leverage premium content as they seek to reconnect with audiences.
2. Provide an experience
Make sure the app has an excellent User Interface. People will not tolerate a poor user experience. But a great UI will become their preferred way to consume premium content such as that offered by Netflix. Winning audiences across devices and platforms means delivering an experience with quality that is as high on a smartphone as it is on a connected TV. This requires technologies that are adaptive and that can connect to the latest updates with ease. It must be easy for advertisers and partners to plug their content into your media app with minimal buffering, latency, slowness or loss of quality.
3. Speed, speed, speed
Make sure you can build new apps quickly to respond to changes in audience behavior and competitor challenges. Having an adaptable and responsive technology stack that can iterate new developments and products allows entertainment brands to keep up with changing audience needs.
4. But don’t compromise quality or interactivity
Provide the levels of interactivity that your audience will look for in an app. Interactivity can take many forms with modern content, from viewing goals and sports moves from different camera angles to voting for your favourite contestant in a game show. Creating games on media apps is a way of keeping people involved. Offer background information that will increase their interest and engagement. Social media giants have set the standard for interactive experiences, allowing people to engage with each other on their platforms. Media apps can mimic many of these techniques, for instance, encouraging discussion of content among fans.
5. Build apps for specific regions...
Make sure the app is right for the local market business model. Different countries and regions have developed distinct patterns of media behavior. For global and international entertainment brands, media apps need to be attuned to the behavior in their different markets. For instance, in Latin America, the apps may be attempting to drive audiences to the TV screen. By contrast, in the US and North America, the media app represents additional real estate to compliment the TV content.
6. …and build for those local audiences
Make sure the app is right for local audiences. Different markets have differing ways of accessing media apps, for instance content is downloaded in Africa though in Europe it will probably be streamed.
7. Don’t tie yourself into vendor lock
Make sure you are not locked into a single vendor who cannot respond to changing needs. Today’s media apps require versatile back-end technology that adapts not only to local needs but can also be easily updated to fulfil the latest technological requirements. Move away from the complex Frankenstacks patched together from poorly integrated technology. Rather than a hybrid approach, find a tech stack provider who can manage the complete range of challenges. That means they must have access to talent trained in emerging technologies and be at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence, which will create new and powerful ways of managing and interpreting data.
You can’t beat Google, Facebook and the tech giants on volume and reach, but you can build a strong business with a well-executed premium content strategy. As competition for audiences ratchets up, premium content is the key for turning viewers into fans who keep on giving their attention, their time and their money.