For the Most Impact, Invest in Knowledge and How It Spreads

Invest in Media for Greatest Impact

Nothing has greater impact on what we know about our past, our present and our future than the story we believe.  Nowhere do these interests align more completely than within the global Media & Entertainment industry.

For some time now, the term “Impact Investing” has focused the attention of marketers and conference organisers on the desire of many investors to make a difference with their money.

For a marketer, the term “impact” is simply a collision of money and opportunity.

But to the investor, the term “impact” has a decidedly different meaning.

Impact investing is investing money to have a positive effect or influence on how entrepreneurs contribute to change.  It is investing for impact.

So, what has this to do with the Media and Entertainment industry?

Everything.

Our human societies are built on knowledge. Common knowledge. This is quite distinct from understanding the truth.

Today, the vast majority of common knowledge within every nation on Earth is delivered directly by the Media & Entertainment industry.


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No other industry has more influence over what we think we know about everything we think we know.  That includes the issues that we, as a species, face today:  Climate Change, Immigration, Food insecurity, Water scarcity, Employment, Education, Healthcare, Politics, Economics, and War.

The Screen is Everything

Like it or not, no other medium of communication conveys more information to more people than what we today refer to as the “screen”: the cinema, the television, the computer, the tablet and the smartphone.

The screen consumes more leisure time (and some “work time”) for the average modern Human than eating, sleeping, exercise and sex, combined.

We receive our news “stories” over a screen. We are entertained with stories in film and television series over a screen. For better or worse, we are educated over a screen.


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We read, watch and listen over a screen.

Chances are, wherever you are today, if you hear a story by word of mouth, it started on a screen.

For the professional investor seeking to make an impact with capital, this matters.

Why?

Because not only does the Media & Entertainment industry have vast influence over what we think we know, it is a hugely lucrative industry in the midst of global disruption on multiple fronts.  That means opportunity for investment, and for influence.  The financial stakes are matched only by the effects this industry has on the minds and beliefs of audiences everywhere.

According to PwC, the Media & Entertainment industry is set to generate over US$2.5 trillion in revenues this year and is expected to reach nearly US$3 trillion by 2026.   

If the Media & Entertainment industry where a nation, it would be the eighth largest economy in the world, generating 4 times more in annual revenues than the 100 top arms manufacturers combined.  

It is a global industry dominated by large publicly-listed conglomerates that are dependent on a global cottage industry of private content creators and shifting audience demographics. The total available market for Media & Entertainment companies is limited only by the size of the human population and the penetration of broadband internet access. 

The opportunities for value investing, growth and disruption are abundant across media-technology, production services, real-estate (i.e., studio space) and specialist professionals such as lawyers, accountants, managers and agents. New opportunities in digital production and distribution are evolving daily, and the value of intellectual property rights to the entertainment content itself continue to rise.


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For professional investors, the trick is to understand how the Media & Entertainment industry is evolving, where the opportunities for investment are and how to deploy capital to cultivate both value and values.

For the greatest impact on our world, investors may get the most for their money by investing in knowledge itself, and how it spreads.

This article was previously published on December 12, 2022.  It has been edited and updated.

4 Comments

  1. Some could argue that certain impact investors prioritize their own agenda and/or political interests rather than focusing on investing in a positive impact.

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