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Media firms must 'ride many horses'

News, 25 February 2016

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL: Traditional media owners in categories which are being disrupted by digital will need to "ride many horses" as they adapt to the changing future, according to a leading executive from BBC Worldwide.

David Boyle, EVP/Insight at BBC Worldwide, discussed this subject at the Media Insights & Engagement Conference, an event convened by the Institute for International Research (IIR) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

And he suggested that media channels, from linear TV networks and radio stations to printed books and DVDs, will retain their importance in certain environments.

"Books are good for some things; so magazines and newspapers are," he said. (For more, including further tips for adapting in a changing media ecosystem, read Warc's exclusive report: How the BBC operates in a global video market.)

"They are all very different kinds of use cases. Even DVDs are selling well, despite massive declines. Ten years in the future, I think you'll still walk into Walmart and see DVDs.

"Maybe it'll be different content – definitely, they'll have lower pricing – but they'll still be important for some people … None of them is going to die in the near future. And they're all very important for some people in some use cases."

The critical task for media owners in these areas: "Delivering them economically to focused audiences and the focused use cases," he said.

"We have to ride all kinds of horses at the moment. But, from a business-model point of view, it's all very, very thin. And that's the challenge of the business-side."

Such a challenge has arisen as digitally-powered services ranging from Netflix and Amazon Prime to Pandora and Spotify continue to impact the media industry.

"Balancing all those business models is going to be a challenge, and [we need to] reorganize ourselves to more efficiently deliver against the smaller bases," said Boyle.

"So you need to re-size to the different ways we deliver to users. But you can't stop printing CDs, you can't stop printing DVDs, and you can't stop with linear channels."

Data sourced from Warc