A Brave New World of Connected Media
Contributed by Ashish Chawla, John Footen, Christophe Ponsart & Krishnan Iyer
Media and entertainment companies are in for big changes as content consumption merges with social networking, and the creation of content separates from its distribution.
The media and entertainment space has been irrevocably changed by the digital content revolution. Many forces are at work in the media ecosystem. Changes in technology, demographic shifts and the breaking of language barriers, among other trends, will continue to play an important role in how media is consumed. Traditional media has declined precipitously over the last decade in favor of online content, while traditional entertainment formats such as books, magazines, CDs and DVDs have given way to digital incarnations.
But as much change as the industry has experienced to date, more is in store. The future portends numerous developments that media and entertainment companies can connect to their advantage, including new monetization opportunities. We suggest media and entertainment companies, both established and fledgling, plan for and enact definitive strategies to accommodate the following trends:
Social recommendations and commentary will become further enmeshed with content consumption, with the former driving the latter.While content was at one time king, community now rules.
- The functions of content creation and content distribution will separate, with specialization by entities that excel in each area. However, the rise in self-service options will mean some content creators will distribute their own work through a variety of new outlets. Meanwhile, curation the act of bundling together different types of content and potentially wrapping it with insightful analysis will increase the value that media and entertainment companies can deliver to consumers.
- The fact that virtually all content will reside in the cloud will ease the task of tracking access for digital rights purposes and payment for content. This will combat the now nearly-axiomatic assertion that “information wants to be free on the Internet” -- good news.
- Consumers from anywhere in the world will access content from the cloud on a variety of devices, including smartphones, with digital rights and payment easily enabled.
- A wide landscape of new media and entertainment business and service delivery models remains to be created. These models will save money and speed time to market.
It is true that extinction threatens media and entertainment companies that cling to traditional business models, but none would be foolish enough to do that. Companies in this space are already infusing their offerings with social capabilities, but they need to move faster and go further by creating strategies that take into account ever-changing content consumption needs and desires.
Consumers already share online what they are reading, listening to, watching and buying. In the near future, social recommendations will drive consumption of all types of content rather than functioning as an afterthought. We believe content consumption and social networking will converge into a single, parallel activity. Media and entertainment content producers will partner with each other and with content aggregators on a grand scale to create a one-stop media shop where users recommend articles, books, movies, videos, music and other types of products to one another.
Cognizant EON: A Vision for Enabling Connected Media
To demonstrate our vision of a next-generation, socially-connected, cross-platform content delivery service, we've created a proof of concept, called EON, conjuring up a place where people will spend their time consuming media and entertainment.
EON flows from the premise that soon, the barriers among viewing devices will break down altogether. Therefore, the same interface should be used for a TV, PC and mobile device, in the form of an app. EON proposes to measure and use the social sentiments of the media it displays. For instance, “likes,” “dislikes” and comments -- both from the user's network and the larger population -- are displayed along with the content, making content consumption first and foremost a social experience.
There are several possibilities for companies to prosper from a connected-media community such as EON. As community users provide ever-greater detail on their preferences, they enable online advertisements to become more finely tuned, raising greater revenue potential. Currently, business models include single-use payments, paid subscriptions and commissioned content, in which individuals or groups of consumers join together to request and pay for their desired content. Cross-media selling is another possible model, as recommendations for one type of media (a game, for example) drive sales of other media types (such as a movie).
While it's impossible to predict the future, no company in the media and entertainment space can afford to sit back and wait for the forces of change to take further hold. Companies need to start planning a digital media strategy that reflects these exciting possibilities.
To learn more about how social capabilities will affect the future of media and entertainment in the next three to five years and how the next generation will work and play, read the complete white paper A Brave New World of Connected Media (PDF).