Think your customer is king? Think again.

Customer demands have certainly shaped the media and entertainment industry since its inception. And now, with always-on, always-connected digital technologies at everyone’s disposal, those demands have reached a fever pitch.

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Consumers expect the content they listen to, view or otherwise engage with to be fluid, immediate, personalized and accessible on the devices and schedules of their choosing. In effect, they are clamoring for more, better, different. And if they are not satisfied, they will seek the content they want elsewhere—or create it for themselves.

Is that the behavior of true “kings”? No, it is the action of revolutionaries storming the castle walls and disrupting the status quo.
 

The real kings in media and entertainment have always been—and will continue to be—those industry leaders who are able to not only appease their consumers, but also consistently exceed expectations with new content and innovative models of content delivery. Achieving those imperatives has never been easy. But now, cloud computing gives them a decisive upper hand.

  • Content development. Cloud makes it possible for providers to test and roll out new offerings and services without having to build in-house IT infrastructures. Warner Bros. has adopted a digital capability, based on cloud technologies, that has transformed its film and television production, post-production and distribution processes. This effort has enabled the company to not only save management and distribution costs, but also more than doubled its annual film deliveries—all in less than two years.
  • Content acquisition. Broadcasters and TV content producers are also using the cloud to acquire new content cheaply. BBC News and CNN, for example, actively seek out user-generated content to supplement their standard offerings. Cloud is also making it easier for new content developers to enter the scene. Netflix is just one example. Beginning in 2016, the former content distributor will be the exclusive carrier of first-run movies distributed by the Weinstein Company.
  • Live content streaming. Cloud makes it possible for broadcasters to offer live events—a highly lucrative offering—with little worry about accommodating spikes in demand. So, how popular are streaming events? In the United States, a record 111.5 million people tuned in to the 2014 Super Bowl on Fox. In Britain, BBC Sport went “all in” for 2014 Wimbledon, offering 12 live streams across any device. Novak Djokovic’s victory over Roger Federer in the final match attracted some 10 million viewers. While sports often takes center stage in the streaming world, other offerings are equally appealing. Consider this: more than 70 million people tuned in to watch other people play video games in 2013, including an astounding 32 million who streamed the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship. Those figures help explain why Amazon recently bought Twitch.tv, the world’s largest streaming eSports platform, for nearly $1 billion. Telenovelas in South America draw equally impressive audiences. Avenida Brazil attracted an audience of, on average, 46 million viewers each night in 2012. It’s no surprise that large advertisers such as P&G paid up to $400,000 for a 30-second spot.
  • Content delivery. Recent Accenture research revealed that 21 percent of consumers own a combination of smartphones, laptops/desktops, tablets and HDTVs. And 25 percent plan to buy a connected TV in the next year. Providers need to accommodate these multiple screens and enable their content to flow seamlessly from device to device. The cloud serves as the digital engine to power the multi-device experience that users now demand. Look at HBO Go. With this new service, users can start to watch an HBO program on their mobile phones. Then, when they arrive home, they can launch the program via Apple TV and continue watching where they left off. The recent release of “Google Play Movies & TV” iOS app allows iPhone and iPad users to watch movies and shows purchased through Google Play via Wi-Fi. They can also watch by having the content streamed to their TVs. The app syncs media between different mobile operating systems. Another example is a large US cable company that, earlier this year, launched X1 DVR with cloud technology and live, in-home streaming. This service means consumers can now watch DVR recordings on devices in the home and download recorded content to take on-the-go.

There’s no doubt about it: consumer demands are affecting the media and entertainment industry to its core. But what is changing the sector even more are companies’ innovative responses to those demands through the creation of new content, new services and new customer experiences. Companies that use cloud to maintain their relevance are the true kings of the industry. Cloud is their new source of power.

 Posted by Francesco Venturini, global managing director, Media and Entertainment at Accenture

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