MIAMI: The Future Investment Initiative Priority Summit in Miami brought together experts from various facets of the media industry on Friday for a panel discussion titled “Captivated by Content: How Brands are Adapting to Trends in Media Consumption.”
The key for any media owner is knowing their audience, but that audience is constantly evolving.
Sam Englebardt, founding general partner of Galaxy Interactive who has been a key investor in the gaming industry, said: “It used to be that we were catering to younger males … and now it’s pretty much the whole world.”
One of the problems with understanding audiences is doing so through data, said Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia.
“We’re entering this era of tyranny of the data,” he said, adding that the idea that if you cannot measure something it does not exist is a delusion.
As technology has become more pervasive, said Englebardt, “it’s now more possible than ever to really be everywhere they (audiences) are on whichever platform they have, so what are you going to make that people are going to care about, and how do you build a world that they want to spend conceivably all of their time in?”
However, it can be detrimental if people spend more time in virtual worlds than in the real one.
John Hanke, founder and CEO of mobile apps firm Niantic, is focused on building immersive experiences powered by augmented reality.
As a parent of three, he has struggled with determining how much screen time is acceptable for them, he said.
“It was the thing that motivated me to start thinking about video games that can take place out in the world,” he added.
“It’s up to us to think about how we evolve that technology to help us be better humans and be out in the world interacting with one another, and thankfully, technology is headed in that direction with augmented reality wearable devices.”
The worlds of media and entertainment are starting to exist outside screens, and brands, of course, want a spot.
Before streaming services launched, brands would have 30-second spots between shows and movies, but now they want to be part of the “content conversation where they want to subsidize and really have an engagement that goes beyond what a 30-second spot would be,” said Brent Montgomery, founder and CEO of Wheelhouse.
However, technology does not necessarily have to reinvent or create new business models, said Englebardt. “It’s just (about) how technology can enable what we know works to be applied,” he added.
The emergence of these technologies has also transformed news media, where non-traditional platforms such as user-generated content on Instagram and X have become news sources.
The fundamental change, Pittman said, is consumer convenience. “What people want today is have the information find me. I don’t want to go find the information,” he added.
While that can be both good and bad, media companies have to think about “chasing the consumer, as opposed to expecting them to come to you,” Pittman said.
It is becoming harder to distinguish between real and fake content, leading to a point where audiences will have to presume that everything they watch and hear is fake, said Englebardt.
That, however, is the advantage of news brands, because they are well-trusted and audiences can rely on them to vet the information and present genuine news, said Pittman.
In order to maintain that trust, news brands “will have to forego the clickbait business model and opportunity to monetize fake news,” said Englebardt.
Pittman said: “Clickbait is directly related to lack of trust. The more clickbait, the less trusted.” As such, businesses have to choose whether they want to get more clicks and be less trusted, or have fewer clicks and be more trusted, he concluded.