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Digitally Savvy: Media and entertainment industry focuses on dynamic and personalised content

October 04, 2017
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The media and entertainment industry has been at the forefront of technology adoption owing to its need to follow an audience-first strategy. A new era of media strategy is now being crafted largely because of the shift from predictable linear mass media (such as TV) to dynamic and personalised media delivered across multiple screens. The industry is also witnessing a convergence of ecosystem players. Content providers like Warner Brothers; consumer electronics companies like Apple and Google; communication service providers like Airtel; and over-the-top service providers like Netflix and Hotstar are collaborating to provide community-driven, contextualised, commercialised and multichannel content for connected, digital-age users. These trends are driving the industry to adopt new technologies such as internet of things (IoT), cloud computing and big data analytics to deliver the most relevant content to users. The growing uptake of these technologies is also bringing rapid disruption in the way content is distributed and consumed.


The media industry relies heavily on advertising, which is not only a key source of revenue but also helps enhance brand presence. So far, the major advertising mediums have been newspapers, television shows, magazines and the internet. However, these are not targeted advertising platforms and many users block ads, especially on the internet, using ad blockers wherever possible. IoT can help companies overcome this challenge as it is primarily used to fetch and serve content that would appeal to specific individuals, thereby improving the client conversion ratio, boosting ad spends and subscription income. The in-depth insights provided by smart devices can help companies respond to evolving customer needs and deliver personalised, contextually relevant entertainment experiences to consumers.

Besides, the media and entertainment industry is allocating a major portion of its IoT budget to areas like product monitoring, supply chain and customer monitoring, and  monitoring of premises. Product monitoring involves tracking products such as magazines and newspapers that are being sold to customers. Supply chain monitoring largely entails the tracking of operations at a warehouse, during the distribution or even the production stage. The monitoring of premises includes tracking customer experience at various places of business like offices and stores.

According to a report by EY, the media and entertainment industry is already using different categories of IoT sensors such as inertial, motion and image in the fields of animation, gaming, video images, camera stabilisation, sports and 3D. These sensors can measure individual customer reactions to different types of programmes, register the frequency and time spent on a programme and the level of attention given to it. By knowing the specific attributes of consumers, sensors can gather additional data that can help media companies deliver personalised experiences and targeted advertising.

While nearly all types of media and entertainment businesses are benefiting from IoT, publishers and broadcasters are ahead of the curve. Many of them are already leveraging various forms of data – location, behavioural, consumer preference and demographic – from a variety of devices and systems to construct detailed consumer profiles and use them to create and instantly deliver personalised content across multiple screens.

Going forward, for the media and entertainment industry to realise the full potential of IoT, it needs to consider the associated risks including regulatory hurdles, legal precedents, intellectual property rights, lack of connectivity standards and lack of a well-developed IoT ecosystem to reach a larger audience.

Data analytics

Companies in the entertainment and media industry have better access to data as compared to other verticals since users, by consuming content, automatically disclose details such as the type of content and format they like, their viewing and consumption patterns, and even recommendations. This helps companies decide which formats and channels consumers will gravitate towards, what content is more likely to be consumed at what time, and how personalised entertainment can be pieced together from the wealth of options.

There are three types of analysis capabilities – situational analytics, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics – that entertainment providers need to establish in order to process IoT data into actionable customer insights and marketing opportunities. Situational analytics helps organisations use network-centric data to measure current behaviours, performance and competitive conditions to support day-to-day decision-making processes.  This can take the form of understanding the current disposition of a consumer to better forecast the kind of  entertainment that is most appropriate. Predictive analytics allows content providers to anticipate customer behaviour patterns and trends, and derive business intelligence to improve offerings. For instance, knowing that a consumer is coming home from a major sporting event may provide insights into the kind of programming that can be delivered while he/ she is driving back home. Meanwhile, prescriptive analytics enhances the ability of companies to respond quickly to customer interactions and resolve conflicts or develop more intuitive user experiences in delivering customised offers and content. This includes taking network performance and diagnostic options into consideration when delivering an entertainment experience. By integrating these three types of IoT data analysis into their operations, entertainment providers are able to generate a comprehensive dashboard that constantly provides end-to-end insights into their inventory, network infrastructure and customers, thus enabling them to gain control over delivery channels and effectively manage revenue streams.

Better data analytics also helps address limitations in the current measurement system for media consumption, such as avoiding the duplication of unique users across platforms, and enhances  marketers’ knowledge about their audiences. According to EY, if smart devices provide useful data to content providers that is non-intrusive and the resulting content experience correctly interprets consumers’ current readings (mood, need, intention) in real time, and then quickly respond to those needs with relevant and targeted advertising, the implications for improved brand loyalty could be vast.

Using the large amount of viewership data, US-based online video streaming platform Netflix conducts an in-depth and fine-grained analysis of viewers’ habits including when a user pauses, rewinds and fast-forwards a particular programme, ratings and searches of subscribers, as well as the time of the day when shows are watched and on what devices. This enables Netflix to churn out the content with the best viewership potential. In India, too, the media and entertainment industry is leveraging data analytics to increase viewership. For instance, the movie Chennai Express, one of the biggest box office grossers in 2013, used big data analytics solutions to drive social media and digital marketing campaigns. The producers of the movie partnered with IT services company Persistent Systems to gain the right strategic inputs. The movie-related tweets generated over 1 billion cumulative impressions and the total number of tweets across all hashtags was over 750,000 during the 90-day campaign period.

Cloud computing

The constant pressure to reduce IT budgets and invest resources in generating  high quality and creative content is driving media companies to adopt cloud solutions. These solutions help these companies manage their processes and workflow more effectively as they are scalable, flexible and reliable. Besides, they are more cost-effective and convenient since they do not require any upfront investment and payment can be made as per usage or through a monthly or yearly subscription. Further, managing data on the cloud prevents data loss due to natural or artificial catastrophes.

Unfortunately, media companies accustomed to having on-premises systems are wary of moving to the cloud in a big way. Moreover, concerns related to the security of content on the cloud, and lack of high-reliability and high-bandwidth connectivity in some parts of the world are preventing the market from reaching its full potential. However, vendors are addressing these challenges by creating more awareness about the benefits of cloud solutions and allaying fears regarding security of content. They are also rolling out solutions that can be easily integrated with the client’s existing on-premises infrastructure to expand their global customer base.


Media and entertainment companies are well positioned to seize an early advantage as enablers and receivers of new technologies. The need to reduce costs in an increasingly competitive landscape and, at the same time, the need to generate revenue from delivering content and data through diverse platforms and products are driving the media and entertainment industry to step up its IT investments considerably.

However, the rapidly changing technological landscape remains a major challenge. Further, the integration of multiple technologies, timely upgradation of systems, increasing cost of technology and redundant legacy infrastructure are the key concerns of companies in this space. While companies sometimes hold back investments until a new technology gains significant acceptance, often it becomes imperative to invest in latest technologies to cope with the growing competition.

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