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  • Posted by: Elyse Burack on Thursday, April 17 2014 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Analysts have long debated whether or not the Cable and Satellite TV industry is doomed. Subscriptions to Pay TV are at their lowest level in four years as consumers are seemingly beginning to “cut the cord” and cobble together their own solutions for cheaper and more flexible entertainment options. To add to the matter, the American Customer Satisfaction Index reveals that scores for TV service are, on average, lower than any other consumer sector. The lack of satisfaction is attributed to chronic rate hikes, clunky set top boxes, poor customer service, and a lack of control over which channels one pays for.

    As pent-up frustrations with traditional Pay TV providers increase, customers are turning to “over-the-top” (OTT) providers including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Late last year, the Xbox One, PS4, and Chromecast emerged making it even easier to watch web-based video. Additionally, emerging disruptive startups continue to reshape the landscape. Aereo, for example, allows consumers to watch and record live TV over the Internet—without having any hardware installed—for a mere $8 a month.

    While there is debate about whether OTT will ever completely replace TV, it’s clear that the way consumers watch video is changing. Streaming services have broken down traditional barriers to viewing content and, as the world becomes more mobile, consumers want to watch content wherever and whenever on any device. Additionally, consumers are increasingly “binge-viewing,” or watching at least 2-3 episodes of a single series in one sitting. According to a 2013 Harris Interactive survey, 61 percent of adult viewers binge watch on a regular basis. This trend is shifting the economics of the industry, given that traditional providers rely heavily on advertising and syndicated reruns.

    Until very recently, Pay TV providers have been able to successfully dig moats around their current business model, only making incremental tweaks to their products and positioning in the marketplace. Recent deals between Verizon and Intel or Comcast and Netflix suggest the incumbents are making significant investments in innovation. Traditional providers have also made technological improvements such as On Demand programs and “TV Everywhere” apps that allow customers to watch certain channels live on mobile devices. While these are certainly positive product improvements, they are not going to revolutionize the video and TV industry. The truth is, incumbents are reluctant to take the risks required to really innovate the category more radically. It’s the disruptors that are remaking the industry.

    Case in point: the fall of Blockbuster and the rise of Netflix. Blockbuster executives were too shortsighted to see the future of the home video industry and failed to recognize how quickly consumer behavior was shifting. Rather than adapting its business model to embrace streaming early on, Blockbuster pursued short-term growth by expanding its stores into outlets for books, toys, and other merchandise. Eventually it jumped on the DVD delivery trend, but it was too late at that point. Blockbuster soon filed for bankruptcy.

    In light of recent trends, many industry speculators are quick to proclaim the demise of the TV industry. But perhaps the true threat lies in the missed opportunity. After all, big companies have big capabilities. Having more resources, more reach, and an established customer base, traditional cable providers actually have greater potential than smaller, disruptive players to invest in innovation and reset industry norms. They can not only adapt, but also lead. By rethinking how they deliver their services and repositioning their brands as visionary, nimble, and cool, traditional cable providers can recapture lost subscribers and market share. This involves not only developing a campaign, but also closely examining and responding to unmet needs. Today, consumers crave seamless interoperability between devices, control over their video options, compelling content, and attentive customer service. They’re engaged by 30-second YouTube clips, but are also increasingly prone to watching 30 hours of their favorite TV series on demand. What does that mean for traditional programming? Should TV evolve into something more social? Or is more personalization the key? It’s a complex landscape and there are no easy answers, but the providers that apply their creativity and resources to the challenge will ultimately lead the charge to innovate.

    While no one can be certain of the future of TV and video consumption, it’s safe to say that it will continue to evolve. As for incumbent providers, the opportunity is theirs to seize or overlook: Do they want to actively shape their industry’s future or simply follow suit?

    Elyse Burack is a Strategy Consultant at Interbrand New York.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Thursday, March 22 2012 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

    Jez Frampton

    Welcome to part 2 of this Demand and Desire special, where Interbrand’s Global CEO, Jez Frampton, joins Global Chief Communications Officer, Karen Burke, in examining what 2012 has in store for these eight sectors:

    • Financial
    • Hospitality
    • Food & Beverage
    • Healthcare
    • Luxury
    • Telecommunications
    • Media
    • Retail


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  • Posted by: Michael Benson on Monday, February 27 2012 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

    I had the pleasure, once again, of being a judge for the British Video Association Marketing Awards. Assessing marketing campaigns supporting the launch of titles on DVD and Blu-ray highlighted how innovative and effective they could have been. What struck me most is that more brand-focused thinking would certainly benefit the entertainment industry.

    There are unique challenges posed by the transient nature of the product (given the viewing experience) and the astonishingly short time that it has to become a success. Nonetheless, a small fraction of films launched have gone on to become lasting franchises, becoming brands that have extended beyond the viewing experience. It’s important food for thought for entertainment marketers, especially coming out of the movie awards season.

    Many campaigns are, sadly, an exercise of simply trying to place the title poster art in as many places as possible (online and offline), securing PR for the talent and throwing up website and Facebook pages for broadcast purposes that don’t really engage in dialogue. While much of this is driven by the need to push volume fast, it shouldn’t be an excuse for skipping rigorous thinking to make limited marketing budgets work harder. The problem: titles are not often thought of as brands to manage, but seats to fill and boxes to shift.

    What each title is and offers (the brand) needs to be clearly defined to identify effective connection moments and innovative ways to engage customers. This will also enable longer term brand building, especially as sequels and serialisation become a more common way to improve ROI. Some of the mega franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter appear to have clearer values that guide what they do in the many different extensions of the brand. This keeps the magic alive in the hearts and minds of current fans and help attract new audiences.

    Tactically, some distributors are using customer insight to effectively position and communicate their titles. I saw smart launch promotions that put potential viewers in the shoes of the hero, and the use of documentary to astonish and create a new fascination of the subject even before you see the film. These built on the understanding of what will engage potential audiences in a way that builds the brand. I can’t tell you who won (to be announced in the coming weeks) but I can say that the standouts clearly used brand-centric thinking.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Friday, February 17 2012 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

    The media world is in a state of constant innovation and flux; that’s no surprise. This will continue with increasing intensity in 2012, from social media and content creation to new devices and consumption models. Consumers themselves are evolving just as quickly, becoming more comfortable with new ways to create and consume content, and sharing everything from photos to purchase histories through the social web. It’s clear that the consumer wins in this picture, but what about the big—and small—players building the devices and launching the apps? What can they expect? Our latest white paper, What’s in store for 2012?, takes a look at the year ahead in the media industry, plus 15 other sectors.

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  • Posted by: Fred Burt on Monday, July 18 2011 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

    In the demise of the News of the World, there’s one villain that has been conveniently overlooked: the consumer.

    A number of News of the World executives appear to have crossed the line, but were they not doing it while trying to feed the U.K. public’s insatiable demand for sensationalism? Would they have done this if the revelation of the otherwise private was not a massive seller? If something is rotten in the state of Murdoch, are we not also to blame?

    In this world of transparency, we hold that the corporate behavior that sits behind the brands we know and trust is an increasingly important factor in brand management. So is the willingness of the public to turn on its prime source of weekend tabloid tittle-tattle perhaps the key symptom of a brand built on weak foundations? A matter of weeks ago, the national sentiment was one of outrage that public figures were able to claim super-injunctions to protect their privacy. Now, when a handful of journalists cross the line, we look to throw the whole organization onto the altar of opprobrium.

    What seems to emerge from this is a timely reminder that brands – especially big, influential brands – need to hold up to a standard that is higher than the low bar of mass market appeal. Not because this drives sales, but because it is the right thing to do. All good brands have clarity and commitment internally that drives behavior and should be strong enough to have given the senior journalists pause for thought before they crossed that line. And should the chips ever be really down, as they surely are at News International, there will be some deeper commitment to the brand that will mitigate a crisis. And here’s the insight: business ethics, CSR, and sustainability all drive longer-term commitment, loyalty, and advocacy, not short-term sales.

    But when News International  launches the Sunday Sun to fill the huge gap (market opportunity) left by News of the World, will the U.K. consumer boycott it? Or will they have forgotten about what was a sensational but momentary story and moved on to the next headline? Will our well-meaning, corporate citizenry be steamrolled by our inexorable mainstream appetite for the latest celebrity gossip? And will the Sunday Sun be built on equally shaky foundations? Let’s hope News International learns a lesson, and holds itself – and us – to a higher standard.

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