The Avid broadcast survey interviewed more than 200 "executives and decision-makers from leading broadcast and post and professional organizations in Europe and North America," who were asked questions about where they thought their businesses were headed, and the role and impact of a variety of digital delivery platforms.
Two thirds of the media organizations indicated that they were optimistic about their future, despite declining audiences and revenues in many traditional media operations. The optimism was more than wishful thinking - it was linked to the belief that new digital distribution platforms would offer "unprecedented" opportunity for business growth. The researchers identified three drivers for continued growth - increased audiences, multiplatform distribution (MPD), and revenues growth potential from both advertising and audience payments.
As noted above, 74% of respondents agreed with the statement that the Internet (digital video delivery) will also drive viewers to more traditional linear media (Broadcast, Cable, Satellite). As for fears of digital options further fragmenting their markets, more than half (55%) of the executives felt that current economic uncertainty was a bigger threat. They also felt that current and emerging digital video delivery options gave them entry into new and expanded markets - an entry that could be exploited in a variety of ways. 85% of respondents said that multiplatform distribution was critical to capturing new markets and their growth potential.
One largely undeveloped opportunity is the ability to access and exploit existing content archives. Respondents felt that, on average, 40% of existing archives could be monetized (potentially profitable) - but at this point they felt that only a fourth of their archives were accessible. Expanding access could make more valuable content readily available. The survey found that 83% of respondents felt that all premium video services would be available online, as a means of increasing accessibility and market size. Almost tw0-thirds (63%) also felt that MPD opened a new market for professional content. But most critically, the media executives seemed to be recognizing the full range of opportunities that multiple digital platforms offer - not only access new and expanded markets, but potential to add value to their content streams by customizing them to specific platforms and individual customers. Adding value increases demand generally, and if high enough, it can justify direct payments from consumers.
Gary Greenfield, CEO and chairman of Avid, says "... media organizations worldwide are moving from addressing homogenous audiences to delivering personalized experiences... this change in the relationship between broadcasters and their audiences... forces a change in business models... “More than three-quarters of those surveyed (78%) thought that within the next ten years, most of the content delivered would be customized for individual viewer preferences. 70% felt that most content would also be optimized for the particular device viewers are watching the content on.
Survey participants also thought that moving towards an emphasis on exploiting content assets, by expanding accessibility or adding value through customization, could also be beneficial on the operations/cost side. When asked about the potential effects of an increased emphasis on asset-based workflows, 75% felt it would increase business efficiency and the bottom line, and two-thirds (67%) felt it would enable new business models. More specifically, 79% felt that implementing asset-based workflows would enhance operational agility, 69% indicated it would enable better automation, and 62% thought it would largely solve the problem of increasing content volume.
Exploring new business models and markets opens the way for new growth opportunities at a time when the traditional broadcast model appears static or in decline. The media executives recognize this, and are looking for their future growth to occur in other areas: 85% see growth potential in multi-platform services; 78% look to new markets and increased audiences for growth; 71% feel those increased channels and audiences will lead to increased advertising revenues; and 70% see growth from audience direct revenues (fees/sales). There's also a general recognition of the potential of the Cloud; almost all respondents indicated they were already using the Cloud (24%) or exploring how to use the Cloud in their future operations (75%)
For me, the survey results confirm that today's broadcasting and media executives now recognize the fundamental market transformation that digital has brought - they no longer see themselves as monolithic "broadcasters" relying on long-established revenue streams. They have recognized that they're primarily purveyors of content in an increasingly competitive market; that the source of their value is content and not merely a signal; and they should seek and embrace multiple mechanisms for exploiting their content and the multiple revenue streams available. While the various MPD options have yet to show they can fully replace losses in traditional revenue streams, early efforts suggest that when fully developed, the added revenues from multiple streams and operational savings could provide the basis for broadcaster survival into the future.
Sources - Multiple Digital Platforms Boost TV Viewing, Research Brief blog
To request research results, go to Avid/Ovum The Future of Digital Media Survey