How many times have you heard the phrase “Content is King”? Too many, I would say.
The more appropriate phrase, Le roi est mort, vive le roi! translates to “the king is dead, long live the king”. At first it sounds a bit odd to say that, but there is a reason.
The phrase picked up steam in 1422 when Charles VII ascended the French throne after his Dad, Charles VI died. Besides the fact that naming of your children wasn’t very imaginative back then, the purpose was to say goodbye to the old king and welcome the new one.
So, if content is no longer king, what is? This is why I asked Mike Marinello, SVP, Strategic Communications at Turner, to join me in thinking this through. Here are our Sunday musings.
Bob: Mike, it seems pretty obvious that the content, television, advertising world we grew up in is ready to go through an evolution like never seen before. Yet we often hold on to our old models like a life raft. Why? What’s a good example.
Mike: The Nielsen-only days are over. You can’t tell me that 18-49 year-olds are the only audience that matters when considering who is viewing your content and who is important to your advertisers. We know a lot of people over the age of 49 that are active viewers, active consumers and have a decent amount of disposable income.
Bob: True, I know a few.
Overall, we’re seeing content consumption increase around the world if we factor in TV, social media, search and the many new ways to view content, ranging from Hulu to Netflix to Amazon.com. In reality, we have a new King and Queen. The King may be “content” but the queen is “experience” and if you excel at both, you will build your audience. Accurate?
Mike: Agree, if we understand and know our audiences (not just track them) like the online giants do, the content that reaches our audience is more relevant and connected to their interests and lives.
Bob: The old models had us measuring what we do in our living room and making most of our judgements on spend based on our viewing habits. If we start thinking of “experience habits”, we look at what we view on Facebook (more than 8 billion video views per day), how we interact on Instagram, what we find relevant on twitter, what is trending on YouTube and what we watch when we decide to relax. But even there, it matters which device we are using, whether we are viewing content with our friends and family or on an airplane or in the back of a taxi. Basically, the experience is completely changing how we define “content”. We can reach people in more ways on more devices in more places. So, what is really changing inside of each of us?
Mike: We are no longer in the business of capturing peoples time. We need to win their hearts and minds as well. We want to serve them with the content and advertisements that resonate with them creating a deeper connection that allows you to change a consumer, to a customer, to a fan. Content is no longer king – it is now linked with experience.
Bob: Great points. Fans are loyal (think of Eagles fans). Customers change based on price or just because they feel like it. Mike, is the television industry moving with enough speed in our “TV to social back to TV world” we live in to adapt to all of this change?
Mike: No. TV advertising is becoming more personalized, but adoption of automated TV marketing has been very slow, with less than 10% of the $70 billion TV advertising market being sold digitally today.
Bob: Not surprised. What I keep thinking about is how content itself is changing. As traditional media companies like Viacom, Fox and Turner compete with Amazon.com and maybe Apple soon, it makes one wonder what it takes to succeed. You are inside a very successful company. What will it take?
Mike: When you are competing against new entrants into the market that are spending billions on original content production, it has a way of focusing your efforts.. The future leaders need to stay focused on four key areas:
- Improving technology and data capabilities to compete in non-linear environments.
- Making strategic investments in people, products and processes to modernize your in-house technical capabilities.
- Create premium content AND create experiences for customers that are more relevant across multiple consumption platforms and opportunities, which expands the reach of advertisers.
- Work to create a level playing field. If technology giants are competing against media companies for the same customers (or fans), why not have the same standards for reaching large audiences and making large sums of money.
Bob: Ok, a quick lightning round to end.
Bob: How do you capture the audiences that matter most?
Mike: Own more – if not all – of the end to end consumer experience.
Bob: How does the advertising industry modernize fast enough to ensure linear TV – which still has a massive audience – remains a vibrant and relevant platform?
Mike: Linear TV still has a massive audience, so there is a basic need to accelerate the modernization of technology and data collecting so that advertising can look, feel and act more like online advertising.
Bob: What bothers you that is easy to change?
Mike: We need to get to a world where we are selling audiences not demographics.
Bob: What is your favorite show on Turner channels? Mine right now is Rick and Morty.
Mike: Well it’s hard to pick just one. My kids love everything Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. And I am a huge fan of “Good Behavior” because of Michelle Dockery – and “The Alienest” is amazing. But what I’m most excited about right now is our deal with UEFA and the Champions League, because it embodies in so many ways how we are bringing to life John Martin’s (Turner CEO and Chairman) vision of reimagining television and what Turner brings to the table.
Thanks Mike, very insightful. My key takeaway is simple. Content is an integral part of the experience. Experience is the driver of future success. And the winners will be a combination of content creator and technology expert. The journey continues….
Note: Sunday Musings is a new series where I will either riff on a topic of interest or interview someone who is an expert in the area and reflect on what we’re learning together.