By Venkat Prasad, Co-Founder, COO & CTO, Culture Machine
Headquartered in Mumbai, Culture Machine provides entertainment for the Internet generation across genres such as Music, Comedy, Kids, Lifestyle & News. This YouTube certified digital media entity blends in-depth analytics on the type of content that works on YouTube which helps to generate vreative contents.
Technology, over the last few years, has transformed our lives in unimaginable ways. Not only our lifestyles have changed but our belief systems and expectations have been deeply influenced in terms of expectations around content avails and access. We spend over four hours in a day over a screen, either our phones or tabs or laptops or TV screens and our consumption of this content has set the tone for content creators who in return influence the kind of content the audience consumes through their product. The whole process has become a loop, a virtuous cycle of sorts, resulting in highly personalized content and development of new platforms to penetrate even the most niche audience groups.
The biggest catalyst behind this phenomenon is social media networks. With personalized mediums such as mobiles and tablets, distribution platforms have evolved to cater to individual's taste and are now becoming the new-age alternative to TV. This has resulted in audience fragmentation and content eco system is evolving to cater to each of the individual tastes buds and programming preferences. It has also unified certain groups via mediums like Facebook, Snapchat and many more that bring users together to develop their own storyline while consuming media and content as a group. They have become the cable TV operators in today’s age.
This in turn, has resulted in diversification of content with new genres being explored and new forms of entertainment growing multi-fold. Genres like comedy, music and reality shows are doing extremely well in the ecosystem right now and new forms of content by way of DIYs, web series, musical covers and so on are becoming increasingly popular. This ecosystem boom has given rise to a whole new generation of digital celebrities who are artistes, bloggers, vloggers, and comedians. The duration that works best with the younger audiences lies between 2-20 minutes as it makes for quick, stackable content that one can consume on their commute or while on a break from work. Technological advancements with mobile devices coupled with excellent penetration of 3G and 4G in India have led to increased convenience of consumption of this media.
These factors have come together to consolidate the viewer’s position as the deciding factor. Consumer has really become the king of content now, dictating what kind of content must be produced and in what quantity. This has led to on-demand content coming up on digital and audio mediums in the form of podcasts. For this it has become increasingly important for creators to map their audiences and understand what they need to ensure the best possible ROI on their products and content. Technology has simplified that process as well as the market being tracked is expanded at scale by using products and mediums like social media and Google surveys. Instead of five responses being recorded by way of written surveys, technology has made it possible to record millions of responses in one go by way of comments, gathering information and later analyzing them thus, giving creators and developers the opportunity to come up with something truly unique and disruptive.
Video is becoming the center of communication technology and is increasingly becoming the center of story-telling. New flavors of videos like live stream, podcast, on-demand, Virtual Reality (VR) and 360° video content is changing the video landscape; making it a novel, immersive experience for audiences. A fan can watch a cricket match from home while experiencing it as though he or she is at the stadium, watching the match live. It is the most real and personal experience that a creator can make for the viewer. Formats like VR, web series, podcasts have all been a result of technology. It has played an instrumental role in creating a whole new industry of professionals and dictating much of what cultures around the world consume.
The problem comes in now,while technology has enabled us to create a lot more content than before, it has also resulted in an increase in the demand for quantity that it is yet to satisfy. The only solution, funnily enough, is technology itself! Only technology can produce quality content at a mass scale to cater to the audience and their diversified interests. Only technology can create niche conversations at scale to reach out to viewers across the globe. It is up to us content creators and media experts to bridge this need gap by combining research from audience mapping and understanding consumer behavior using the data and insights and create content at scale both of which are enabled by technology.