Are media organisations too fixated on content formats rather than outcomes?

Everyone wants fulfilling experiences and feelings. A good read, listen or watch is a stimulus to gain experiences and feelings- not an end in itself. That’s why successful brands don’t concern themselves with boundaries around products, they focus on needs and then try to fulfil them irrespective of channel. Whether that’s marketing physical objects, events , consumables, publications or buildings- the can of coke isn’t important, having influence and loyalty is .

Waitrose is a lifestyle choice that happens to have supermarkets. Google is about a vision of a simpler way of life, not a search engine, email service or car maker.

 In the same way that start-ups are told to pivot if things aren’t working, media companies could find themselves having to move away from content formats to experiences. We see this trend in theatre where immersive installations sell-out rapidly or the likes of Secret Cinema charge £65 a ticket to watch an often repeated film in a replica set.

Sure, watching a well conceived series like Breaking Bad can be popular but HBO can’t rely on long form tv dramas filling the space in people’s lives it does now when social media, immersive gaming and omnipresent experiences are on offer. They must become experts in groundbreaking storytelling whatever format that needs to be.   

Factual media is in an even more precarious situation . We don’t need news outlets to tell us what’s going on. They don’t have exclusive access to the means of production, nor do they have exclusive access to people with newsworthy people becoming publishers. 

Service Design and understanding your core unique properties as a media company is therefore key. Especially as content marketing invades the space previously exclusive to traditional media companies and barriers to entry have been lowered for new start ups.

Some suggested qualities that can’t be replicated include:

  • Years of trust from sources and people who wouldn’t want to self publish.
  • A community that surrounds your product and is vocal about it
  • A culture of distinction or innovation within the company 
  • A focus on quality that only comes from experience 
  • A hiring and retention strategy for staff
  • Years of trust from an audience
  • Access to an archive which can easily be repurposed.

Any other suggestions? Please comment

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