Originating with the dawn of society and enduring into the current age of instantaneous access, our love as a society for story and connection has proven its resilience. Attention is what our businesses are hinging on, and without deeply understanding the nuances of our audiences, capturing and keeping consumer attention becomes a herculean task. Connection and new technologies have more complexity in the way that attention is captured and monetized. Leveraging intelligence to personalize content, evolve monetization models, and align organizations to be able to move faster and more efficiently than ever before is what we are facing together.
Success today isn’t just about innovation and new ideas. It’s about defying the traditions of an industry for something better, challenging your own achievements, and reinventing what you’ve never thought about changing. We’ve seen radio disrupt publishing. Television disrupt radio. Cable disrupt over the air broadcast. Now, the world is entrenched in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Cloud Computing, Mobility, IoT, AI, and data applications are forever changing our society in business and leisure. In the media industry the 4th Industrial Revolution has caused a war for consumer attention to emerge. Consumers have greater access to content options, and their engagement will determine the winners and losers in the media industry.
Change in the media industry is coming from all angles. Increased connectivity, on-demand expectations, and streaming have increased consumer expectations. Traditional media companies feel the full weight of this new wave of disruption, causing them to re-evaluate and change their current strategies. In an era of connection, companies are being forced to build their own platforms and partner ecosystems to expand consumer engagement. If they don’t deliver, they risk becoming niche players within those ecosystems.
Traditional content production and distribution is far from going away, but there are hundreds of new attention channels we face each day. For example, social media has altered how consumers find content, where they look for recommendations, and has turned audiences into content creators. Leveraging the trends, understanding the behavior, and delivering relevant content within traditional and emerging channels will be mission critical to keeping attention in a world of endless options.
TV cable networks are being replaced with fluid streaming models and traditional sources of monetization are fleeting. Take a look at this Russell Reynolds Associates survey of more than 2,000 C-level executives posted by Harvard Business Review that illustrates the barriers to digital transformation.
Percentage of respondents who rate these as very or extremely significant barriers to effective digital business
Today, companies need to develop more complex strategies; which might include being a content platform, distributing their content on one or many platforms, or rapidly evolving both strategies simultaneously.
Netflix and Amazon are vastly outspending the traditional studios. Netflix won as many oscars as anyone this year. Streaming services have leapfrogged the establishment and secured their place as creators and preferred consumption mediums. Titans like Disney and Apple are launching their own streaming services. The choice facing the industry is simple in concept: own the content, own the medium, or own both. In reality it’s a complex decision since the real goal is to own consumer attention.
In a world of seemingly infinite ways to engage with content, the pressure to maintain audience engagement and drive profits is paramount. As consumer attention vacillates between ever changing content and distribution channels like collaborative online gaming, new mobile apps and social media, the mandate to provide personalized and unique experiences has never been more important.
If we agree that attention is the core atomic unit of value—the foundation on which all other value is created, we must understand how attention is captured in today’s digital world. We see it as a combination of four elements:
If we look at the industry players across each of these dimensions, we can begin to see how players in traditionally disparate industries have leveraged their converged capabilities to capture the time and attention from consumers worldwide.
Take a look at how the market cap, or publicly traded value, of companies in the media industry, have changed from 2010 to 2019 In this graphic, the size of the bubble is the market cap, and the placement is based on the company’s core business. Businesses used to stay in one lane. The companies that are succeeding are focusing on their customer experience rather than the traditional way they’ve done business. To do this, they have to utilize intelligence derived from vast amounts of data to surface insights that impact the business and customer experiences. From Amazon to Netflix and Facebook to Comcast, the companies that are investing in consumer experience are the companies that are outpacing the competition.
Change in Media & Communications Market Cap 2010-2019
M&A activity in the communications and media industry has taken off as companies are looking to unlock consumer value through scale. These companies are coming together with radically different business and revenue models. It’s extremely tricky to merge and find success on the other side. But as stated in the PWC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook report, “Among more focused players, especially in the publishing industry, we see convergence in building a greater level of direct-to-consumer revenues involving subscriptions, live events, e-commerce, licensing and consumer products.”
M&A Activity in Media & Communications Companies
As a result of a perfect storm of technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is paving the way for transformative changes in the way we live and radically disrupting almost every business sector. It’s all happening at an unprecedented, whirlwind pace. From advances in AI and VR to new biotechnologies and IoT, no longer can we lean into old models and ways of thinking. As leaders in media and communication, our only choice is to embrace this change.Learn More About the Fourth Industrial Revolution Here
Intelligence helps companies make better decisions at scale. By taking vast amounts of different types of data and processing it all to glean actionable insights, we are able to inform better decisions, many of which will still be made by humans. This drives higher quality engagement, which produces more data. The more we understand about our audiences, the better we can connect with them. But it’s not as simple as it sounds.
Dominant players in music streaming hinge their business models on intelligence. They use AI technology for collaborative filtering, natural language processing, audio patterns, device sensors, and biometric data. They use algorithms to create features where each user gets a playlist customized to their own taste. Not to mention, these streaming services are often free (with ads) or a minor monthly-fee for an ad-free experience. Creating a low barrier for entry for new users to allow them to explore and fall in love with your platform first is key. Then, using intelligence to create a brand experience custom to them is the integral, but challenging next step.
Intelligence is leveraged in the War for Attention in three primary lenses. Let’s take a look at each of the lenses and then discuss each in more detail.
Weave together a holistic, personalized experience spread across disparate moments and brands.
Manage a dynamic portfolio of ways to create and capture value.
Enable employees to respond quickly to change while collaborating both internally and externally.
We must weave together a holistic, personalized experience across moments and brands. At Salesforce, we’ve defined two dimensions to understanding the customer: (1) understanding who the customers are (demographic + behavioral + psychographic, etc.), AND (2) understanding what they are trying to accomplish (the job to be done).
Before the explosion of the internet, our media attention was concentrated in the morning and evening, and companies used to fight for limited time slots. People turned on their televisions and consumed content when they woke up in the morning, as well as when they got home from work. Now, content is available almost everywhere at any time throughout the day.
The Evolving Consumer Attention Ecosystem
Though the attention thirty years ago was more focused, we didn’t have nearly as much data as we do now. As we live our digital lives, each moment of attention creates a wealth of information brands can potentially use. The only problem is most companies don’t freely share data with each other. Often, critical data isn’t even shared between departments in the same organization. That means that the growing data and information we have is often siloed.
While data fragmentation is the reality today, it makes us ask: what if you could connect these data points across the attention ecosystem? Could you be even more hyper-relevant and truly personal to the individual you are serving? By understanding all of the components of data within our attention stack, we will have a better chance of knowing our audiences in a more complete way.
Growing a successful business requires monetization and the opportunity of applying intelligence to an entire array of businesses in an enterprise is massive. Think Disney. Walt had this figured out all the way back in 1954. Today, the main sources of their revenue aren’t park visits, but TV and radio advertising, followed and supported by studio content, ticket sales, and merchandise. Can you imagine all of this bundled together as a monthly subscription? The possibility now exists.
Amazon keeps finding lucrative new ways to connect e-commerce, online video, subscription services, and digital assets, and content. Amazon isn’t trying to just occupy the consumption of media, they’re trying to occupy all discretionary time and income. Whether it’s purchasing goods or consuming media and music, Amazon Prime members unlock the ecosystem that’s own by this economic giant.
By spending over a billion dollars to acquire streaming company Twitch, Amazon is expanding its audience to unexpected places. Primarily known for video game streaming, Twitch viewership has skyrocketed into the realm of some of the biggest networks and broadcasters in the world.
Audience Size 2016-2019
Those that spend time on Twitch spend an average of 95 min a day, but how do you monetize this in a way that is compelling to the audience? Twitch has enabled their streamers to become their own content creators, and earn money through viewer patronage. This unique approach gives viewers a choice to support their favorite streamers, and gives the streamers incentive to continue posting quality content.
Facebook, Google, and Youtube have pioneered monetizing digital content through advertising. Their businesses are built on it. This model of digital advertising is not going away, but we believe there is an opportunity for another approach. What if we could engage ads and brands as part of our viewing experience? The viewers could have the option to interact with products directly within a scene. From simply wanting to learn more to actually purchasing the product, this type of advertising gives viewers the ability to interact more personally with brands.
To truly be agile, you must understand your business from every angle. We’ve all heard of operational and cross-functional agility before, but creating a dynamic enterprise is a new level integral to the future.
Creating a shared set of data with smart, rapid collaboration with partners
Responsive and nimble collaboration across departments and silos
Automated and streamline execution of functional workflows
If we can use agile intelligence data, we’d be able to share different content formats and drive different types of revenue that reinforce each other. This creates multiple paths to attention and adds value. It’s a multi-pronged approach that maximizes audience reach and monetization models. To make this viable from a cost and scale perspective, we would use intelligence and automation to execute on this strategy.
We’re pretty close, but it’s hard. It requires intelligent scripts for rapidly exploring multiple directions, intelligent production to streamline complex logistics, and intelligent editing to speed up exploring multiple directions and post-production. While AI tools are a game changer today, we believe that utilizing top human talent and collaboration among creative experts matters.
Artificial intelligence can help us do our jobs better and faster, but AI still needs us. Let AI automate the bulk of the work, but allow a human creator to always make the final call. Learning how to work alongside this technology will be beneficial for our businesses and our lives in the future. Not only that, but there will be more collaboration across organizations as we begin to come up with different brand partnerships. Imagine having a destination where you are collaborating with those in your ecosystem that doesn’t work for your company, but you can make those decisions backed by shared data.
You’ve seen the headlines lately, and you likely have been talking about it in your own organization. Recently trust — something that’s always been critical to business — has been challenged by a number of seismic shifts at play around the world. Security breaches. Biases in AI. The viral spread of “fake news.” Customers will not open your app, use your service, or stream your content if they don’t feel safe interacting with your brand. Trust is a key component in the war for attention.
Decline in trust
within the United States in 2018*
Estimated lost revenue
worldwide in 2018**
Expect business leaders to fix the trust issue*
vs. expecting the government to do it in 2018
A culture that is built on trusted relationships and partnerships will increase speed of sales and revenue. Likewise, an employee experience rooted in trust, transparency and accountability will attract better people, keep them happy and increase their productivity. But before we solve the crisis of trust, we need to understand the causes.
Consumers are inundated with information that goes beyond the curated 24/7 news cycle and traditional content on television, in theaters, and print. People are more than willing to turn over their personal data to social networks, media outlets, and the places they shop in return for a personalized experience. Yet that willingness to share, post, or be tracked puts them at risk when there is a breach or exposes them to an echochamber full of singular viewpoints. When you look at how quickly the world is changing today, and the role data and technology play in it, it’s no wonder customers are paying attention.
We take our values very seriously at Salesforce. For us, they’re not just words on a page. We like to say, our values create value for our business. They drive every decision we make.
Communicate openly and deliver the highest level of service
Focus on customer success to drive mutual growth
Consistently deliver new technology that empowers Trailblazers to innovate
Respect and value a diversity of people
Trust is our highest value. It always has been and always will be — because we believe strongly that you cannot achieve customer success without trust. Without trust, there is no innovation. And to foster a culture of trust, equality isn’t just a nice-to-have — it’s a mandate.
At Salesforce we build trust through 3 key ways:Availability & Reliability
Salesforce operates a cloud-based multi-tenant infrastructure. This delivers lightning-fast access, no matter where you are or what device you are using. Your data lives in and is available through a transparent and easy-to-use environment designed with security as its first priority. We also deliver seamless feature-rich upgrades multiple times each year with nearly zero downtime.Performance
Our customers trust us to manage critical corporate and customer data. They expect and receive transparency of operations related to our service too. We are transparent with our customers and trust.salesforce.com is our community’s home for real-time information on system availability, performance and security.Security
Salesforce understands that the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our customers’ information are vital to their business operations and our own success. We have a dedicated team that works around the clock for the security and accessibility of our customers’ data. We also use a multi-layered approach to protect that key information, constantly monitoring and improving our application, systems, and processes to meet the growing demands and challenges of security.
Change is exciting, but it also can also cause suspicion or discomfort when you don’t really understand what’s going on. The ethics of innovations like AI will be one of the most important issues around trust in the coming years. Why? Because AI is no longer in the hands of a few people. It’s in the hands of billions of people. We are already a human-machine society.
The potential for racial and gender biases in data was a huge topic at The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos this year, and a reason why Salesforce is so committed to the Ethical and Humane Use of Technology. Our Chief scientist Richard Socher says, “If AI does hold a mirror to humanity, it’s up to us to be accountable now, and ensure what’s reflected shows our best face.”
How? Ultimately, the most important way to keep AI safe is to work on our human governance. Richard himself pulled the plug on a project with our product R&D team last year. They were using image recognition AI to identify emotions in people — which would be a great selling tool for our customers. But when he learned the team was using stock photography to train the algorithms, he shut it down. He spoke openly in the media about this decision, and how important being able to trust the training data used in AI is.
He said “We really need to think about all different classes of people, communities, and minorities that are going to be impacted by our AI algorithms.”
It’s an exciting time for the industry but it’s up to us to take on the responsibility of building trust. Government regulations provide consumer protections but they don’t protect our systems and relationships. Embracing values around Reliability, Top Level Performance, and Technology Security are just the starting points on this journey. Consumers trust us with their data, and it’s up to us to use it for the greater good, keep it safe, and deliver immense value back to them to win the War for Attention.
While a few players in the media industry have enacted innovative strategies for winning the War for Attention, many brands are fighting to stay relevant. For a media company, rethinking the type of experience they provide can be a daunting task. Whether brands are looking to reestablish their dominance, or to emerge as an up-and-coming experience, there are some tactical next steps media companies can take.
Winning requires media brands to become students of the attention game. Nobody has a foolproof strategy, but several brands within the media industry — Apple, Amazon, Netflix — have started to activate strategies that we can all learn from. At Salesforce, we are committed to monitoring the industry, sharing trends, best practices, and case studies that can help media brands learn from each other.Click Here for Resource Library
Winning requires perspective. Media brands need to seek out partnerships with innovative consultancies that can view their world with a fresh set of eyes. Partnership opportunities exist for media brands across all facets of their experience — infrastructure, distribution, content, and interface. Whether brands seek a best of breed approach, or a one-stop-shop that consults across their entire experience, it’s important to never go it alone.Click Here for AppExchange
Winning requires a strategic approach. Media brands need to establish an adaptive strategy to win the war for attention. Understanding who their audience is, knowing what type of experience they expect, and planning the technical ecosystem required to deliver that experience is how the war is won.Click Here to Speak with an Expert
Winning requires discipline. Recognize that the strategy will take time to play out. There will always be opportunities to iterate on aspects of the strategy, but sticking to the vision and executing it with excellence, are core to winning. See how these companies are winning the war for attention.
For further information visit: Salesforce.com/media