Is Media Really All That Nimble?

While media is often perceived as a nimble industry that readily adapts to new trends, what lies behind the scenes — literally — can look very different. First to market may be a common strategy, but at what cost?

As the TV Everywhere race unfolded, companies raced to provide new services, ensuring video content was available to viewers anytime, anywhere. Quality of content and having a cohesive strategy for video delivery often took a back seat to making content available.

Today, companies are waking up with a fragmented strategy for video delivery across platforms, leaving them with a series of challenges, which follow .

Workflow Consistency: The shift to digital media disrupted a decades-old linear workflow model. Video delivery via websites and mobile applications required on-demand access to content. Workflows were forced to change, and with companies in the midst of affiliate negotiations looking to capitalize financially by including these new capabilities within their latest deals, the changes happened quickly.

Digital media teams responded with rapid development of new workflows for video content delivery, addressing challenges with new technical solutions such as user authentication, specified ad-serving capabilities and tailored video transcoding requirements per platform. The result was often an entirely different workflow, creating inconsistencies and duplication of efforts. The staff utilized for broadcast video delivery often could not manage digital video delivery, as the tool sets and required skills differed. Content management became a nightmare, as sophisticated tools used in traditional broadcasting to manage video delivery in accordance with programming contracts were not yet developed or applied to the digital model.

New workflows should consider a broadcast model that more closely mirrors the current digital model and addresses future content management requirements, evolving media infrastructure models and adaptable methods of video streaming.

Consumption Trends: TV Everywhere led companies to make their video content available across all platforms. But is this what consumers want? That depends on the content. For live events, consumers tend to seek the “best screen available,” and look to mobile devices as a second- screen companion. With pre-produced content, mobile devices are becoming the primary screen(s) for an increasing number of users. Companies should tailor their video delivery strategy accordingly .

Upholding the Brand: Content may be king, but more is not always better. As media companies raced to make video available, disjointed efforts occurred within companies, often resulting in what looks like a hodgepodge of mobile applications and Web products delivering video. Companies should refocus their mobile application and Web-based video offerings to align with what connects best with the consumer. Product development teams need to strike a balance between maximizing the capabilities of mobile platforms and providing a consistent experience and distribution of product.

How will the media industry evolve? The sector is inherently a ready-shoot-aim environment where innovation thrives. Being at the forefront of innovation is an edge nobody wants to lose, but as the landscape continues to change, the most successful media companies will look to strike a balance between “fast” and “smart.”

Lori Bistis is an entertainment, media and communications advisory manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.