Digital Transformation: The Bus is Leaving...
By Nick Kaimakami, Senior Vice President, EMEA
How time flies when you’re having fun – as the saying goes! It's already been eight months in my new role at Prime Focus Technologies (PFT), and with IBC 2018 around the corner, I thought I would reflect on my experiences.
It's been a fascinating journey so far, and my thoughts on the Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry have crystallized a lot during this period. While I started my career in satellite broadcasting, and have worked with the M&E sector for many years; for the longest time, I considered myself an "outsider". Only now, I consider myself an “insider”, working in an organisation that has re-defined the business of managing content by developing innovative technology to make itself and its clients far more efficient and competitive.
Having spent the last 20 or so years selling technology, transformation and services to different organizations, I’ve learned that the key challenge has always been that M&E organizations fall into a different profile than other traditional industries. With the exception of a small number, most M&E enterprises are much smaller in size (in terms of revenue), decentralised (due to legacy technology and siloed operations) and over-engineered! As a result, the M&E industry has by and large not transformed as fast as other industries which had their margins eroded by the onset of digital.
The last twelve months however, have seen a massive change in events, which means that even our industry needs to transform, or we might end up missing the bus. Three main reasons for this are the FANG phenomenon (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google), Globalisation and Consumers! Take Netflix as a prime example. While it may be setting aside more than $12bn for creating original content, it has mastered the art of producing and selling at a global scale. The platform has developed efficient workflows across the content supply chain, and set the bar extremely high for all its competitors in terms of quality and cost. Subscriber behaviour has also changed tremendously, with online consumption superseding traditional linear. Even I, while reminiscing about the days without mobile phones and e-mails, actually consume an average of four times more content on my smart device than traditional screen!
With the recent explosion in VoD/OTT platforms and original content creation, every broadcaster, studio and distributor is having to rethink survival strategies. Just look at the amount of Merger & Acquisition (M&A) activity that’s taken place in the last twelve months – AT&T/Times Warner, Disney/21st Century Fox/Sky/Comcast, Discovery/Scripps, Endemol – with many more in the pipeline. While some of us have earlier seen this trend in other industries, the momentum has lately increased in M&E.
Even public broadcasters who historically have not concerned themselves with efficiencies, are now exploring new ways of creating more and better content. To survive in the new-age M&E landscape, players need to be bold, innovative, ultra-efficient, flexible and responsive. While the FANG phenomenon may be the reason traditional players are losing sleep and having to think about transformation, they should also question whether these will still be the biggest disruptors six months or two years down the line. Or will the new “ChainBabies” (as I call them) be the next big thing?
Whether we like it or not, Blockchain as a technology will likely be the next big disruptor, revolutionising the business landscape for many industries – probably at a faster speed than ever before. Why? Because it has the potential to change complete business models, and is also driven by crowd behaviour. New start-ups using Blockchain over the last twelve months have been raising billions on the back of great ideas, great teams and initial coin offerings (ICOs). While there is a lot of speculation of bubbles and scams, the technology is sound and the model has been tested.
However, the bigger question really is – are you jumping on the digital transformation bus or staying behind? When I hear about M&E enterprises still toying with the idea of embracing the Cloud, it makes me chuckle, because this should now be a question of ‘how’ and not ‘when’.
PFT foresaw the imminent need for digital transformation ten years ago, and built its flagship product, CLEAR™ Media ERP as a native Cloud solution. Since then many layers of innovation, automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been added to it. Our approach of providing ONE Software for content management across the complete content supply chain, powered by automation, can help broadcasters, studios and service providers reduce their Total Cost of Operations (TCOP) by 30-40%!
So if you want to be bold, innovative, ultra-efficient, flexible and responsive, jump on that bus and visit us at IBC 2018, booth #7.C05. Think Automation. Think CLEAR.
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