/

Media C-Suite Week No. 5/2024, Issue No. 42

A Week in the Media C-Suite Issue No. 42

A Week in the Media C-Suite

It’s Sunday, the 28th of January, 2024.

There is something in the air this winter that heralds a coming change.

As we speak with media executives, media entrepreneurs and media investors around the world, our conversations inevitably lead to the question of what that change is, and what it means.

The answers are mixed. Predictions mostly. But also analysis of today’s momentum and the probabilities of where that momentum will drive the industry. For many, the idea of change is ominous. Just as many, if not more, view change as opportunity. 

Perspective is a key influence on these opinions. The established U.S. media businesses and executives, many concentrated in Los Angeles, keenly observe all of the changes taking place around them. Just as keenly, however, they dismiss the idea of industry-wide disruption. Hollywood will always be Hollywood.

As it happens, the corporate and financial decisions that directly impact the Hollywood “model”, and its future, are increasingly taken in New York under intense pressure from Wall Street. Control over which content is distributed to which audiences has generated untold wealth concentrated in the CEOs of multi-billion dollar media conglomerates that seek to maintain a status quo ante that is no longer tenable.

Investors and entrepreneurs coming out of the tech sector are diametrically opposed to this outcome. Disruption is coming and they are consciously leading it. Much of this activity is firmly rooted in the hugely democratic startup culture that the tech sector has perfected and from within which they see the Media & Entertainment industry as ideally placed for tech-enabled disruption.

The World is Our Oyster

The M&E industry’s fundamental market is limited only by the number of human beings comprising our audiences.

For today’s largest legacy media conglomerates, that market has long been defined by the reach of  telecommunication infrastructure. North America, the British Commonwealth and Europe all developed telecommunication infrastructure at the start of the last century and became the world’s most lucrative media markets. An economic boom, a common language and a lack of world wars on their territory allowed U.S. media conglomerates to grow far out of proportion with those in the rest of the world during that latter half of the 20th century.

But, that was then.

Today, a growing awareness of market opportunities within Media & Entertainment is as global as the industry itself. While the media market in North America remains the most lucrative today, the circumstances that make that true are shifting. European media markets are growing in scale and value, as are the ambitions of European media companies, European media entrepreneurs and global investors.

The same is true in the 400 million+ Arab-language media markets being increasingly managed directly from deep-pocketed Gulf State capitals. Asian media markets are being served by a growing number of highly capable and increasingly sophisticated content producers who see, understand and bank on Asian culture. The same can be said of Latin American media and to those actively catering to African audiences.

“The Studios are facing serious disruption, since anyone can now build a streaming platform to compete directly with them. Their advantages are waning, and they know it.”

“I just don’t see any indication that they know what to do about it other than exploit today’s power imbalance.”

For the most part, Hollywood continues to reach audiences in every market on Earth, but also increasingly fails to speak to them. At the same time, North American audiences are exploring a significant amount of content coming from creators located around the planet with stories and formats that Hollywood simply doesn’t, or cannot, offer.

While major U.S. linear television and film distribution networks, including streaming platforms, are voicing concern over the cost of shows and movies, and signalling a slowdown in acquisition, the human population grows with a voracious appetite for ever more content. Those audiences are ultimately responsible for the M&E industry’s US$2.5 trillion in 2023 revenues. And, those audiences are growing louder in demanding choice in how they spend their money.

It would seem a perfect time to cater to them.

As U.S. media giants tighten their purse-strings, and leave the creatives who serve them increasingly desperate for outlets, ubiquitous technology offers the means to be far less dependent on them and provides access to far more opportunity.

For creatives and the audiences they serve, the world is their oyster. But, as Shakespeare meant when he penned that immortal phrase in 1602, one has to first pry that oyster open to partake in its value. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II, Shakespeare’s character, Pistol, finds purse-strings tightly closed to him. His response?

“Why, then, the world’s mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.”

Legacy media companies will try to make that hard to do. But then, while change may be inevitable, no one ever said it had to be easy. Things truly worth doing rarely are.

Our Take

Harbingers

The Media & Entertainment industry has been experiencing inflection points for some time now. They now seem to be increasing in both frequency and intensity. These messages are important to any strategist paying attention.

For those “in the know”, inflection points are signals of transition in complex systems. See the section, Inflection Point in Issue No. 34 of a Week in the Media C-Suite.

Few systems are as complex as the global Media & Entertainment industry. 

At its core, our industry is a fundamental expression of one of the most vital characteristics of our species. That vital characteristic is the social way in which humans share knowledge. Whether sitting around the comfort of a campfire or through TikTok videos, humanity wants to hear stories. Not just wants. Humanity needs stories. We crave the word of both herald and harbinger, teacher and pied piper.

Stories inform us. They unite us and they motivate us. They also deceive us, divide us and set us off.

From poetic recitation to the printed page and onto the electromagnetic spectrum, each medium of story-telling has shaped our minds, our societies and our species. Today it is the screen; at the cinema, in our living rooms and in the palm of our hands.

Telecommunication infrastructure, which today connects practically every screen on Earth, has evolved to serve the companies that built it. The largest of these are multi-billion dollar, publicly-listed media conglomerates. They own the broadcast networks, cable operators and satellite TV providers across the globe. They rightfully deserve the credit for creating the circumstances that land us all in the “Information Age”.

These multiple channels of information have become known as the “media” through which most of humanity receives its knowledge. For much of the past 100+ years, the media has been a one-way mode of communication. The media conglomerates that owned and controlled each channel dictated what content to distribute to which audiences. Audiences had little to no control over what to watch other than simply to change the channel.

The most recent iteration of our global telecommunications infrastructure is the internet. The internet, unlike broadcast television or film distribution channels, is a two-way street. And It’s not new. The last two generations of internet connected humanity have grown up with it and know how to make use of it. Perhaps they are even more adept than the media conglomerates that once controlled it.

It is through the internet that our industry’s most profound changes are coming.

See:

https://mediacsuite.com/the-global-appeal-of-foreign-content/
https://mediacsuite.com/vc-investments-into-crypto-culture-to-spawn-a-reckoning-with-me/

The executive power word of the week is: Opportunity.

Just Catching Up?

We’ll help you get up to speed.

Changes

There are some big changes coming to the Media C-Suite.

Editorial Shift

The Media C-Suite was born from a vision of collaboration between industry insiders and professional investors each seeking to seize emerging opportunities. As we have progressed, so too has the industry.

What is clearly visible to the Media C-Suite is that our M&E industry is on the cusp of disruption. The era of tight control over distribution of content by large media conglomerates is eroding. We are excited to observe and explore what this means for our industry and its consumer audiences.

Our editorial policy will always be to go where the stories lead us.

However, we are keen to let other publications report on the glamour and rumours that make this M&E industry so exciting. They do it well. While other publications develop headlines on what has happened, we will focus on why it happened and on what comes next.

Our editorial shift is away from Hollywood as the centre of the world and toward a much larger, more diverse and growing community of creatives, media companies and investors residing and thriving around the world.

Our audience is more clear to us today than a year ago.

Professional investors are more interested in the Media & Entertainment industry than ever before. Often not for the reasons “big media” might themselves believe. How do professional investors build connections within an insider-only industry? How do they filter out the noise and impractical proposals to find clear and well-managed investment opportunities? Where does their capital do the most good, with the least risk and generate the financial performance they require?

Media executives within established companies that offer a degree of security are often more insulated than they realise. Change can sneak up on them. For those responsible for devising and implementing strategy, that perspective can be dangerous. How do they forge connections outside of their corporate echo chambers? Where are the risks and opportunities really coming from? When do they take steps to personally grow upwards or onwards?

Media entrepreneurs are on the march. Creatives are developing corporate and commercial competence, building teams and constructing start-ups around the world to rival or disrupt the established order. Technology is driving opportunity and tech-industry experience is in abundance. The ability to structure an idea into a proposal that professional investors can understand and support has begun to change the perception of risk in Media & Entertainment.

Momentum has become tangible in a shift in the industry’s centres of mass. From the confines of Los Angeles County and London, the Media & Entertainment industry’s other production and distribution markets are taking decisions and making moves more autonomously.

Our editorial shift is towards those professional investors, media executives and media entrepreneurs across the globe that are driving that momentum forward.

Organisational Upgrade

Welcome to Colin Vaines

We are proud to announce that Colin Vaines has agreed to join the team as our Editor caelum fin. Some may know Colin as a prolific producer with a lifetime of collaborations across Hollywood’s most celebrated film-makers and artists. Others may know that he started his career as a journalist on the Soho beat for Film Daily and rose to become its Editor.

You can read more about Colin in our interview:

https://mediacsuite.com/interview-colin-vaines-producer-part-i/

We are excited by all the experience and connections he brings to the Media C-Suite. An official press release will be issued soon.

Congratulations to Alessandra Ferretti

We are so pleased to announce Alessandra Ferretti’s promotion to Assistant Editor at the Media C-Suite. Alex has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to develop the Media C-Suite into a professional publication with serious editorial content.

We welcome her help, growing expertise and deep commitment to the Media C-Suite.

Writing Team

The Media C-Suite is building a team of writers from around the world to contribute content to our community.

We are pleased to highlight the work of Shiv Rajagopal as our first returning contributor and look forward to many more articles from him. Based out of Hong Kong and Los Angeles, Shiv applies his experiences in indie films, music videos and commercials to new observations in writing about the entertainment industry at large.

You will begin seeing new By-Lines from regular writers with diverse backgrounds and perspectives providing insight and observations from throughout the M&E industry and from around the world.

We are also looking forward to experienced investors, media execs and entrepreneurs to join the likes of Phil McKenzie and Amanda Groom as contributors to our community.

Welcome all!

Updated Website

Our website has undergone a technical and SEO audit over the past several months. A staging site nears completion with an abundance of fixes and will be pushed out as our new, updated live site in the coming weeks.

Periodic updates to the structure and tech of the site will allow us to begin offering more to our Community and to begin to monetise our content at long last.

Your input is essential to serving the needs of the Community and we are grateful for all of the comments and suggestions we have received.

A special thanks goes out to Leonard Parker and Melissa Rodier at Destiny Marketing Solutions for their tireless work to help our team understand what it takes to deliver the Media C-Suite to our Community and implementing the changes we need.

Watch this space and let us know what improvements you appreciate and what else you would to see at the Media C-Suite.

What It Means

The Media C-Suite is taking steps to grow into our Community.

This means adapting to change, of course.  But it also means improving on what works.

Developing a website and delivering content that fulfils the needs of our audience is key for our success, and for our Community.

This will allow us to monetise our content, and expand our offering, so that we can continue to deliver the insights and connections you deserve.

Looking Forward?      

Preparation is the Key.

Here are a few articles to get you moving in the right direction.

https://mediacsuite.com/is-your-media-business-ready-for-professional-investors/
https://mediacsuite.com/the-professionalisation-of-investing-in-film/
https://mediacsuite.com/creatives-can-beat-the-studios-at-their-own-game-and-should/

Previous Story

Media C-Suite Week No. 3, Issue No. 41

Next Story

Disney’s Multi-Billion Dollar Poison Pill