Why the status of content is intertwined with the state of technology…
In the wake of the pandemic, the supremacy of content has been confirmed across industries. As the demand for content ballooned from people stuck at home, the ability to create new content was also negatively impacted. This resulted in a mismatch between demand and supply. Such a trend accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and solutions like never before.
Prior to the pandemic, much of the digitization in the media industry was on the distribution side. In fact, for an entire decade, new companies and business lines sprung up on the back of mastering digital distribution, from Netflix to the likes of Vice and BuzzFeed.
Digitally born distribution channels integrated vertically to acquire or create content in order to shore up their momentum, and there was much excitement about leveraging user-generated content. But there was no doubt about the writing on the wall about the future of content consumption and the fact that the traditional players were struggling to catch up. The user experience and convenience that new-age streaming players were offering to their consumers seemed to create a gap too large to be bridged.
The OTT wars that occurred subsequently, however, demonstrated the true might of content. IP-rich players like Disney were able to ensure their success and ability to bounce back more easily than some of their peers. As the user-access-related experience becomes increasingly baselined, the focus is back on content and nothing underlines this more than the recent change in Netflix’s fortunes.
The pandemic-related demand that came at the heels of multiple OTT platform launches, has created unprecedented pressure to shorten the timelines for the content life cycle from camera to screen as well as the urgency to find new content. This has been accomplished by increasing the proliferation and adoption of solutions aimed at easing the relevant bottlenecks that choke the supply chain and create silos. These solutions essentially leverage previously available technologies but with a newfound sense of urgency that is speeding integration, collaboration, and adoption across the pre-production and production supply chains
For example, startups like Third Floor that attempt to digitize the visualization process for planning a scene for the story, which has mainly been a manual process so far, see a surge in demand, while virtual studios are going mainstream. Digital solutions for simulating locations and lighting, and perfecting sound effects, or even using AI to sift through stacks of scripts and content are attempting to ease the pressure to meet the increased demand from OTT platforms.
The mismatch between demand and supply has also led content publishers and distributors to widen the search for new content outside the silos of large studios that, in the past, tended to firewall their productions. Thus, independent studios and talent are finding themselves courted by large media houses in their race to discover the next Squid Games.
The nature of demand is further complicated by the accelerated move of consumers to the metaverse. There is a rapid merging happening at present of traditional video content with what was, till recently, considered solely the world of Gaming. User expectations related to Content and Experience continue to evolve and increase at an exponential pace.
Thus, an industry known for its insularity finds itself opening up to new voices and talents. Roman Coppola’s Decentralized Pictures, for instance, aims to finance independent talent through its online platform. Exeest is a start-up which attempts to resolve some of these challenges by creating a B2B content marketplace with a simplified state-of-the-art user experience that allows buyers and sellers to connect and transact seamlessly. And finally, crypto content might be getting the use of blockchain right with companies like Eluv.io and Bingeable TV (It is not a firm name so might need to rephrase as line says companies like). These firms are reimagining the industry once again by leveraging the power of technology and putting more power in the hand of content producers and connecting them directly to consumers.
The decentralization of Hollywood is the new industry trend and has caught the attention of the VC and PE industries too with the likes of Candle Media and others leading the way. But. in the effort to put the focus back on content and unlock true value, the industry is yet again looking towards the world of technology to make it happen. So, while this is a great time to be an independent producer or creator, it’s also an opportunity for the technology industry to participate on a surer footing than ever before, and in shaping the next phase of this dynamic space. It can act as the catalyst that connects the dots between the content and the consumer and enables a reshaping of access and experience.