“In the past, brands were part of the advertising; in future, they will be part of the content business.” So says Andreas Gall, CEO of Red Bull Media House.
I’m inclined to agree.
Paging through the ibc daily at IBC in Amsterdam recently, the word content leapt out of the page at me again and again. Walking through the exhibition halls of the RAI, my overall impression was the same. Much talk at the show seemed to centre on how viewers are finding content, how they are consuming content and how they are interacting with content.
The rise and rise of social media and online video consumption, and the resulting appetite for content, seems to be the driving force many of the technological advances taking place in the broadcast sector.
Hot topics at IBC certainly reflected this. Key discussions taking place were about the evolution of multi-screen viewing*, the growing importance of attaching the right metadata to content**, the possibilities of social media interaction with broadcast, and OTT television***.
But at the centre of all of these discussions is content. The reason for this is because if content is attractive or compelling enough, viewers will want to watch it and will find a way to do so.
This is why content is becoming increasingly important for brand owners. In fact, we’re reaching the point where some brand owners consider themselves to be media companies that sell products. As a result, the industry is moving towards a place where the question is no longer about how you divide spend between media, but rather about how advertising messages can be enhanced and activated using a combination of PR, social media and owned content.
Geoff Seeley, Director of Global Media Innovation for Unilever summed it up when he said: “We are going back to the art of storytelling and looking at how narrative can be transferred across different screens, the role that each screen and channel has, and identifying what part of the story we deploy to get a message across.”
One example of how crucial content is can be seen in the slow uptake of 3D television sets being, in part, attributed to development of 3D content remaining limited primarily to event coverage. Similarly, it’s the breadth of online content and applications that is driving technological developments to meet the need to add another layer to broadcasters’ programming and personalise the viewer’s experience.
All of the debates, discussions and developments in this space are hugely for someone who believes that content should be at the core of marketing and communications. I’ll be watching TV (in a multi-screen way of course) from a whole new point of view from now on.
* Multi-screen viewing is evolving naturally as more and more people leave their computers and other connected devices, such as smart phones, tablets and e-readers, running while they watch TV.
** As more and more content becomes available on different platforms, not describing content adequately can be a huge mistake for content owners because it is increasingly becoming crucial to discovery of content by viewers.
*** Over-The-Top Content (OTT) refers to video or audio content that is delivered by broadband without the Internet Service Provider (ISP) being involved in the control or distribution of the content. This is usually content that arrives from a third party direct to the end-user’s device, with the ISP only responsible for transporting it.