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Media Disruption - How traditional broadcasters and publishers can survive

Jul 31, 2022 3:29:58 PM

The contours of the media landscape have been changing rapidly over the last years, but the pace in which it is happening now is overwhelming. Video on Demand providers and social media platforms change traditional viewing patterns. Today’s viewers are used to watching anything they want, when they want it and on any device. 

Personally, I vividly remember the introduction of a third public TV channel in the Netherlands. And since that moment it didn’t take long until the commercial channels transformed the landscape. If we thought that was a big change at the time: look at the variety now! Traditional media have been pushed aside by social media platforms, telco companies, streaming services and tech giants such as Google and Amazon. All fighting for their place in the pecking order.


The strength of these new tech companies is for sure their distribution system: they know how to target their audience using smart technology to offer them content, based on their individual preferences. But to survive in this landscape, great distribution alone is not enough. For continuous existence I believe any channel should have good content, preferably exclusive. In many cases this will mean producing their own content.

The power of content

This is something that Netflix did very well. Originally a DVD rental service, they were among the first to transform towards a streaming service. Their rapid growth and huge market share are not attributable to user friendliness. In fact, their interface is one of my main irritations when navigating through the content. But Netflix understood the importance of good content from the beginning. From exclusively available quality series to by now a lot of own productions. Their current annual production budget almost matches the total spend of all major Hollywood studios together.

Personalising content is key, but how?

So, we see that good content and being able to find an audience are important factors in the battle for existence. I expect that the next step will be even more about getting the right content to the right audience. And there’s where you see a difference in approach of traditional broadcasters and the new tech companies. As Netflix and others focus on your current behavior, and offer more of the same, more traditional broadcasters choose their own approach.

NPO: A fresh approach

A good example of a traditional broadcaster going the right direction is the Dutch Public broadcaster NPO, who launched their NPO Start platform about a year ago. Viewers are offered a selection of ‘premium rated content’ on top of the suggestions based on their viewing behaviour and preferences. Research shows that viewers who were offered this mix were more tempted to watch ‘premium rated content’ (not based on their own behaviour and preferences) outside their comfort zone.

Their approach is interesting, because instead of leaning towards certainty by offering what viewers like, NPO chooses to broaden the suggestions. A bold decision, but on the long term I expect it will result in prolonged viewing times.

How can IAM support Media companies?

So, reaching an audience with the right content in a personalised way is the challenge for Media companies. This requires a steady IT-infrastructure. Of course, an Identity & Access Management solution should be included in that package. But what kind of solution should media companies look for? Ease of use is extra important, because an audience is gone in seconds to try their luck with the competition. That’s why I’ll finish off with my top 3 of advanced IAM requirements necessary for the best user experience: 

  1. A good federation framework will help bring easy social login (e.g. Facebook login) to users. This will remove barriers to create a user profile.
  2. Especially if it’s a paid service, you should check if there’s a possibility to offer family accounts and how easy it is for users to manage these. In cases where children need parental consent to interact with a service or create a profile, good structures for family accounts and User Managed Access are vital.
  3. Users should be able to manage preferences but should also be able to give consent and chose which data they want to share with you or not. This means you’ll need a platform with fine grained Consent & preference management capabilities, including cookie consent, in place.

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