Media and entertainment companies must adopt a multigeneration strategy and challenge perceptions around the behaviors of older generations, or risk conceding huge growth potential. This is according to EY study, Ten opportunities and threats for media and entertainment companies | 2019, which shortlists the most pertinent risks and opportunities facing the industry in the next 12 months.
- Increasingly tech-savvy older generation set to become more influential
- Companies must deploy technology more like digital natives
- Cybersecurity and tax disruption among top 10 opportunities and threats facing the industry
In recent years, the industry has placed younger generations at the heart of content and channel strategies. But while Gen Z and millennials are regarded as digital natives, baby boomers (born 1946-1964) typically have more disposable income and are becoming increasingly adept in how they consume content and embrace technology. EY research indicates that boomers are more loyal than younger generations, and with people aged 65 and older set to exceed the number of children under the age of five by 2020, this demographic offers an emerging growth opportunity. The report states that companies must now take steps to better understand boomers’ unique preferences.
Striving to compete with digital natives
Looking beyond age demographics, the report also cites “obsessing about the customer” as one of the top ten themes for 2019. While media companies are continually reinventing products to compete with digital natives, complexity breeds inconsistency that can deliver a poor customer experience. In particular, many companies lack the infrastructure to gather relevant information from multiple channels and feed it back into their ecosystem. To mitigate this, the report states that companies must deploy technology more like digital natives to enable better customer experiences.
Another key theme, “re-calibrate for growth,” indicates that one way to achieve this may be through investing in new digital ventures. With many of the leading digitally native companies turning traditional business models on their heads, the report highlights that in order to keep pace, radical change is required around how more traditional media companies raise, invest and optimize capital.
With such rapid advancements in technology, and with media companies amassing huge volumes of personal data, cybersecurity also features as a critical threat facing the sector. The report highlights how the Internet of Things and a growing number of connected ecosystems have multiplied the potential threat level in recent years. In response, companies need to take steps to devise a multilayered cybersecurity strategy, with a particular focus around brand-related assets.
A perfect storm of geopolitical trends
The report further identifies unprecedented disruption across the tax landscape as presenting both a huge opportunity and threat to the industry. A range of macro trends, including Brexit, trade disputes and a global drive toward increased transparency, are playing into a deepening sense of uncertainty. Meanwhile, the biggest revision to the US corporate tax code in 30 years could mean greater upside for companies that host their intellectual property in the US. Media companies must build digital tax functions that are sufficiently agile to respond to this turbulence.
Other opportunities and threats cited in the report include intelligent automation, which can help companies achieve tangible benefits on both the bottom and top lines; the prospects of building direct to consumer business models; and the intensifying battle for content.
 World Health Organization report, Ageing and health, February 2018, http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health