Chief Technology Officers in the entertainment and media industry have a lot on their plate. Just 37 percent say that they have time to innovate among all their other daily duties. The management workload is so heavy that many have fallen into “keep the lights on” mode, sacrificing any innovation to day-to-day management.
Unfortunately, failure to innovate is a slippery slope that could easily turn into failure to compete. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) TV is becoming the norm; 84 percent of executives in this space are bracing themselves for more competition in 2019.
Without a doubt, strong innovation will be essential to competing, and even to survival. So, how is your brand going to add innovation and value to customer relationships? What is your brand doing to become a ‘content+’ brand? And is your brand even ready or equipped to take action?
E&M brands can’t risk falling behind
There are lots of bite-sized technology innovations available today – they enter the market quickly and suddenly, often from small and specialized technology companies, leaving the end user to solve how to adopt and aggregate all the different pieces. These innovations are worthy of your attention, addressing critical areas like file encoding, streaming quality, piracy protection, data security, and analytics, but many brands are struggling to simultaneously embrace all of these opportunities in a meaningful way.
First, we must address the technology mindset. Technology can’t just be the infrastructure or be relegated to small drips of improvements — it must be the cohesive driver of new developments. This tech-first vision is the norm in other industries. Amazon, for example, is not a retailer, but a tech company in retail; Uber brought technology to the transportation industry and transformed it forever. Even in finance, the innovative digital bank Revolut has placed technology at the core of its rapidly expanding business.
So, how can already overburdened media CTOs maximize technology to transform into a content+ brand? And, what does content+ actually look like?
How to become a content+ brand
Innovation is crucial to becoming a content+ brand, but if a CTO’s day is filled with fixing things that break or rolling out updates to keep the content flowing, where is there time to create something new?
Growing into a content+ brand requires highly-usable and flexible technology that won’t demand even more of a CTO’s attention, and could even alleviate some of the burdens.
Therefore, your IT team needs to have the following capabilities firmly in place before anything else:
- Continuous learning: Ensure you have the tools to learn about your audience and their behaviors and to implement subsequent changes. This cycle of analytics, testing, and quick deployment gives you invaluable insights into your customers and strengthens your performance.
- Continuous collaboration: Internal operations must be easy and seamless, allowing all critical stakeholders to drive their area of the business. This dissemination of control throughout your media organization maximizes relevant and specialized contributions while relieving the IT team of pressure to manage every bit of tech maintenance.
- Continuous flexibility: The tools at the core of your business should not be restrained by your limited resources, whether this is human resources (i.e. the developers maintaining your platform), financial resources (i.e. how much you can invest to continuously improve your platform) or technology resources (i.e. the tech capabilities you want to leverage quickly and painlessly for maximum performance). First, you must consider how to relieve the demands on your limited resources by moving these demands to a specialized technology provider, thus allowing your resources to focus directly on the core content operation. Subsequently, you must ensure this technology provider offers a platform or service free of debilitating restrictions, effectively adding flexibility instead of adding processes, so you can move even more quickly or confidently as the business demands.
With each of these, your brand will be more flexible and adaptable, granting you the ability to evolve quickly and meet the rapidly changing dynamics of the marketplace. But this is simply the foundation for effective internal operations.
A real winning strategy incorporates both internal operations and external functionality. Brands must build a flexible interface in a way that creates an immersive experience for the viewer.
Examples include Netflix’s new “choose your own adventure” content, and Chinese and Japanese platforms that include viewer live chats that make viewing an interactive experience. These features serve to engage audiences, rather than delivering content in a passive way. Innovations that engage and impress the audience include:
- Diverse content offerings including video, audio, articles, and a variety of formats to create a comprehensive environment where your audience can access any and all content they want.
- Live events that plug your audience back into the “right now” and target the success in which sports and linear TV continue to invest.
- Interactive opportunities like polls, quizzes, and social elements, like a live viewer chat, create an immersive experience for the audience that keeps them engaged.
Using Zapp to build your content+ brand
Viewer satisfaction and retention are tied to a smooth and seamless streaming experience. Yet, CTOs are so bogged down by the responsibilities of maintaining that experience that they are prevented from inventing the “next big thing” in streaming. CTOs need a technology partner to make that all happen without delay or error.
Zapp is a SaaS platform that simplifies the day-to-day management of DTC TV and allows for an innovative and creative approach to new offerings. From one central location, E&M brands can create and launch comprehensive, immersive applications for the world’s leading operating systems – iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, and Samsung Smart TV. It’s an easy-to-use, pluggable infrastructure that doesn’t require any heavy-lifting development effort on your part – but the platform is absolutely open to custom development you want to integrate from your own team.
The future of E&M is data-driven, interactive, and dynamic, so your organization must be too. Zapp provides the flexibility to make changes quickly and to better meet the expectations of your audience.