Startup City Magazine

Disruption is Good

By Shekhar Purohit, Founder & CEO, TalentNext Entertainment

Shekhar Purohit, Founder & CEO, TalentNext Entertainment

Headquartered in Mumbai, TalentNext Entertainment is a verified recruitment portal for the Indian entertainment industry, connecting film & production houses to a variety of actors & talents online. The platform eliminates tiring back and forth process for both the recruiter and the talent along with smart filters to save time and find the right match.

Imagine the following:  you are standing next to a great Indian warrior on an open battleground fighting a legendary Moghul emperor! You can feel the pulse of the army legions and experience the very essence of what a warrior might feel at that moment.  You have just experienced Virtual Reality in promoting a new feature film in our country.  We have disrupted how you consume content and how you will experience the new film you are about to watch.

Disruptive technology has impacted the media and entertainment industry more than any other industry in the past few decades, and more is to yet to come, And sometimes, it’s not necessarily technology that causes the biggest disruption, it could be a policy and regulation change that has a great short-term impact (i.e. demonetization in India in the past few weeks has resulted in a drop in box office collections by 35-50 percent). How did it all start?  We can thank probably the most significant event in the media and entertainment world in our generation, which was the shift from DVD’s to streaming. 

Broadly speaking, the biggest technological change in recent times was the advent of DVDs round about the turn of the century.  I can recall living in the US and running to my local Ikea store to buy shelves to store all my DVDs.  But the next big ‘thing’ to really change the entertainment world order was, of course, streaming. YouTube and Netflix were already acclimatizing the masses to the concept of on-demand video.  Meanwhile, Netflix ensured it didn’t suffer the same fate as Kodak, by staying ahead of the game and embracing emerging technologies. Having offered a DVD delivery service since the late 90s, Netflix shifted its attentions to streaming in 2007 and that was really the beginning of it all.

Streaming exploded in 2010. We shifted from a commodity economy of entertainment, where we had to own CDs, DVDs and so on, into a pure experience economy – where we just want entertainment instantly without having to own the physical things. The biggest technological changes that we’ve seen in entertainment have been how audiences receive their content, moving from experiences that are away from the home, towards experiences that are inside the home, and how with the advent of the “third screen”, audiences want to be able to consume content anytime, anywhere. 

It’s a shift in technology, but also a shift in the marketplace and distribution of content spurred on by these changes that have been supercharging the industry for the past several years. In essence, we are talking about a fundamental shift from ownership to access, a sharing entertainment economy. As a result of these ‘shifts’, it’s a scary time in media and entertainment. Investors are anxious about the future of the industry. Media brands are reducing their outlook for 2017 and warning investors that they need to sink “hundreds of millions of dollars” in content and technology in order to catch up.

Globally, and in India many iconic TV organizations are seeing alarming decline in viewership, and there’s a decline in ad revenue across the board, even for new, unproven digital formats.

Fast-evolving behaviour and attitudes of audiences are a big factor in the industry’s struggles. In tandem with new technology and the rise of mobile, today’s audiences have drastically changed not only how they consume content, but also what kind of content they consume. Content is once-again king. To reverse the trend, some companies are spinning off some parts of their business to unlock the value of their ‘on-line’ content-rich businesses. In the meantime, some brands are investing in upstart companies, as NBCU’s backing of Buzz Feed and Vox demonstrates. Many are investing in direct-to-consumer or OTT-type services or doubling down on optimizing ad sales.

Needless to say, media organizations are facing enormous challenges as they pivot their business. With tech-focused and fast-moving competitors moving into their traditional space, they are going to need to make challenging, critical decisions without a clear precedent.  They will need the kind of confidence that can only come from a deep understanding of the people who ultimately decide their fate: audiences. Not just what they are doing, but the underlying why.

Through an on-going conversation with their customers, media companies will need to adapt and do the following continuously:

1. Develop better content

2. Build and launch new products more effectively

3. Understand the path to purchase in order to grow and retain subscription audiences

4. Monetize new business models and opportunities

5. Solidify long-term, profitable advertising relationships

Media companies need to realize that investments in content and technology alone won’t allow them thrive in the world of disruption. Creating, maintaining and nurturing an authentic relationship with the empowered audience are the keys for media and entertainment companies today.

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