"Around early 2013, I found myself producing television shows and entrenched in the production operations of an esteemed TV network. Like most people who remember where they were on the day something truly historic happens, I remember where I stood when I received the text message that Netflix’s first originally produced TV show (House of Cards) was live for streaming: I was ordering one of those amazing sandwiches at Larchmont Village Wine & Cheese while dropping a bottle of Sangiovese on my toes."
Incursions from the North
Back in 2008, I was just dipping my toes into Hollywood as a soon-to-be graduating student from USC. With the collapse of Wall Street and the rest of the economy, that old stalwart against bad-times, entertainment, looked like a shiny beacon upon a hill. Especially when compared with the paltry options rapidly deteriorating in front of me as the Great Recession kicked into high-gear. While I was darting to movie studios and designer-decorated offices from the company mailroom during my internship, much larger forces were at play.
First, it was my DVD rental provider, Netflix. They began to offer a massive library of content over the internet to a generation of viewers who had become accustomed to devouring videos over the web thanks to YouTube. Telcos and CDNs such as AT&T and Level3 were investing heavily in high-capacity fiber networks to ease the burden on the digital infrastructure from the petabytes of video content voraciously consumed by people like me.
Pandora and soon after, Spotify, began to offer music streaming services that erased the need to download pirated music from those omni-present virus-ridden platforms like Kazaa and Limewire.
And all the while, text and email were transforming into high-performance personal computers in our pockets.
"A concierge level of service is the only way media and entertainment companies will be able to take care of their customers, protect their brand within their customers’ mindshare, and enhance their business."
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Proactive Customer Care
Let’s drop this king analogy for a second. We’ve established how to stay relevant and survive in today’s media and entertainment business.
The priority of any company in this space must be the consumer. Therefore, having superior customer support initiatives must be paramount.
In fact, a smooth and hassle-free customer support experience cannot be reactive anymore, in that a customer’s performance or billing question is handled expediently and pleasantly, with the customer achieving their objective.
It must be proactive and act as a concierge. A relationship, any relationship, must be ongoing, personal, and helpful. Yes, that means getting to the point of being able to predict issues a customer might be having and proactively fixing them. A concierge level of service is the only way media and entertainment companies will be able to take care of their customers, protect their brand within their customers’ mindshare, and enhance their business.
In addition to customer care, omnichannel digital support and a tech-driven CX strategy are crucial to media and entertainment companies. I'll cover both these areas next week.
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"At NATPE Streaming in Los Angeles on July 30, 2019 – our team learned that the maximum amount of streaming platforms a consumer’s household will be willing to support is five to seven. Where does that leave everyone else? "
VP, Media & Entertainment
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By Ricky Girson, Vice President of Media & Entertainment, taskus
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The Ascendency of the Consumer
By now, the world was awash in content. It was on every device, on countless platforms, at home in the bedroom, in the dining room, on the couch, and in the pocket. Thanks to big-data technologies, it was generated, created, and tailored to each consumer’s preferences and tastes.
The Telcos and the ISPs, in their efforts to drive the vast demand for video content, offered multiple tiers of high-speed internet at comparatively low prices with ultra-competitive sign-up offers. This led to a great awakening within the consumer, who had grown sick of paying $120-plus per household for a bundle of channels providing non-curated, non-tailored content they were no longer interested in. The lightbulb switched on. If they could get any relevant content they desired, on any format or device they had, whenever they wanted, on-demand, what were they paying for?
The Great Cord-Cutting began. In vast numbers, consumers of the great cable package cut their cords and blew up their bundles. In any case, the only service they needed was internet. “Why pay for anything else that I don’t specifically want?” they must have asked themselves. The consumer soon realized they held the power for the first time. It was time to take the crown.
By the Grace of Majesty
So, how do these kingmakers: the studios, the streamers, the tech giants, the social networks, the internet service providers, the content creators, reckon with their new reality?
At NATPE Streaming in Los Angeles on July 30, 2019 – our team learned that the maximum amount of streaming platforms a consumer’s household will be willing to support is five to seven. Where does that leave everyone else?
All Hail the New King
Today, any consumer with an internet connection can watch whatever they want, whenever they want it. With the exception of a few tent-pole programs or movies that come out only several times a year, the consumer has total authority over the content they consume and the money they spend to get it.
As King Consumer raises their scepter (read: wallet), those creating content and those delivering it are engaged in an epic battle royale to win the approval of their master, King Consumer. The Reign of the Consumer is just beginning.
Media and entertainment companies must reposition and realign their business strategies around their new lords if they hope to compete for this business.
This is part of a series on the sector, and I look forward to sharing with you many more thoughts in the months to come.
Next week: a focus on omnichannel digital support and a tech-driven CX strategy.
ABOUT THE Author
For years, any thought-piece on the state of the media and entertainment industry began or concluded with the phrase: “Content Is King”. While this was certainly true in the decade following the revolutionary programming of HBO, kick-started by the success of The Sopranos, the King, is dead. We have a new ruler: the consumer.
Media and entertainment companies subscribed (rightly) to the idea that if they made excellent content – TV shows, movies, interactive digital experiences, etc. - they would amass an audience, who they could then persuade to sign up (read: pay) for the constant drip of these content engines. Alternatively, if the consumer-base (audience) was large enough, they could charge advertisers to access these viewers, a traditional model which has been around since the inception of television. So when did King Content’s throne become imperiled? To examine this inflection point, we must first look at how Content became King.
Media and entertainment
Born and raised in Dallas, Ricky attended the University of Southern California for his undergraduate studies before entering the Entertainment industry. He worked as a talent agent trainee in the esteemed TV department of William Morris Endeavor (WME) before joining Lionsgate's TV development team. From Lionsgate, he worked in TV production for the Discovery Channel and served a stint in finance for Walt Disney Studios. Throughout his time in "The Biz," Ricky formed a passion for the technological changes disrupting the industry and moved back to Dallas to obtain his MBA from Southern Methodist University.
He then covered the Telecom, Media and Entertainment sector for IBM, working with clients on their cloud, big-data, AI/ML/Automation, and digital transformation strategies. He joined TaskUs for the opportunity to transform the CX and Customer Support space for the industry.
Want more insight into the entertainment industry and CX?
The New Kingdom: How the Consumer Became the New King of Entertainment