Media and platform companies are encountering headwinds from every direction—from new digital players, to consumers’ evolving content preferences, to an influx of digital technologies rendering old models obsolete. This changing competitive landscape is requiring companies to think ahead of current trends, seize on emerging technologies, and look outside their four walls to drive growth. It’s also a flashing sign that companies must stay on the frontlines of disruptive technologies before competitors beat them to it.
Enter blockchain. Traditionally in the purview of financial services, blockchain’s significant potential is fast becoming evident across the media and platform industry. Blockchain will redefine how media and platform companies engage with their customers, partners, and broader ecosystems—and can help drive both revenue growth and cost reduction.
Industry leaders have started to take notice. According to a recent Accenture report, 83 percent of media and platform executives plan to increase blockchain investments within the next three years. In fact, 36 percent of executives have already invested over $1 million in the technology.
But despite early interest and investment, the media and platform industry is still in the very early stages of unleashing blockchain’s full potential to reinvent their core business. Blockchain’s biggest—and most untapped—opportunity lies in harnessing it to capitalize on three trends: strategic cooperation, hyper-personalization, and data security.
It’s a Small World After All
In today’s digital economy, businesses must create innovative, agile business models to drive growth and compete. Legacy players are increasingly seeing ecosystems—or joining forces with other players, including ‘frenemies,’ to create new value propositions. Driven by consumers’ insatiable appetite for content and increasing market pressure, media and platform companies are increasingly collaborating and sharing tangible assets like content and software, as well as intangible assets like data and customer relationships, to drive growth.
As this trend takes hold, rising numbers of industry leaders are recognizing how important strategic “co-opetition” with competitors has become. Eighty-three percent of telco leaders globally say joining with companies to share customer insights, technology, and industry knowledge is now critical to their growth strategy.
However, collaboration with once-competitors isn’t without challenges, especially on matters of trust and data protection. Blockchain helps tackle these barriers by detangling cumbersome processes, financial transaction opacities, piracy, and trust gaps. The blockchain opportunity is especially ripe for media and platform ecosystems—from the creation of blockchain consortia to applications in mergers and acquisitions.
One-On-One with Everyone
Today’s consumers are hungry for over-the-top streaming services with personalized curation—fueling the rise of direct-to-consumer (D2C) media and making “hyper-relevance” necessary for survival. Disney is just one of the media players betting big on D2C. Not only is Disney ending its distribution relationship with Netflix, but also it recently launched a new D2C division to oversee its streaming businesses.
But media players still show room for improvement. Today, just 44 percent of consumers believe that online entertainment is tailored to their needs. As the media and platform industry scrambles to meet evolving consumer demands, segment-of-one targeting has become critical to success.
Blockchain helps create the hyper-personalized experience consumers crave. The granular, validated data that blockchain can capture lets companies understand consumers not just at a demographic level, but a psychographic level, too. Companies can also use blockchain to improve insights for key business decisions, such as optimizing campaign investments and improving attribution models.
The Best Defense Is a Good Offense
Even with strategic partnerships and hyper-targeting, the hard truth is that media and platform companies have nothing if they can’t protect data and grant access only to those who need it. Research shows just 49 percent of customers trust their online entertainment providers. Combine this with the fact that digitization of media delivery and consumption boosts the risk of security breaches, and data security is becoming one of the biggest challenges facing industry players today.
It’s also become increasingly clear that trust is no longer a ‘soft’ issue. Luckily, blockchain can be a game-changer on data security—and a breakthrough for the industry. It creates an auditable and tamper-evident history of an asset, regardless of whether it’s a device or content. No one owns this history, which creates a new level of visibility and transparency. And as companies provide customers with their personal data to meet regulatory requirements, blockchain can capture and store a secure and up-to-date history of personal usage data for better data portability
Already today, 52 percent of media and platform companies think security is the most important benefit of blockchain.
Changing the Rules of the Game
Like disruptive technologies that came before, blockchain is poised to reinvent the media and platform industry. The key is jumping in early. Here’s how to get started:
- Understand the market players: Identify which players are exceling in blockchain, and which could be a potential acquisition or partner—rather than just the competition. Form industry-leading ecosystems that meet an unmet need. Look outside your four walls for new market plays.
- Close the knowledge gap: Develop internal training and hire engaging experts who understand blockchain, potential use cases, and the overall landscape.
- Put plans into motion: Develop proof-of-concepts (POCs) to test functionality, get feedback and track the impact on the business model: And don’t be afraid to fail fast. This lets you quickly take the best concepts to fully-operationalized applications.
Media and platform companies who wait to see how blockchain will fully mature before investing will be left behind as the competition forges ahead. To be a true industry trailblazer, media leaders must act now to unlock blockchain’s untapped value while achieving first-to-market advantage.