New report from Ooyala says data driven video is resetting the media of the future

Ooyala has announced in its latest State of the Media Industry 2018 report that data and data-driven video are the key to every conversation happening today in the media industry. From consumer engagement and privacy to technological advances, content strategies and monetisation, data in its various forms is everywhere and companies are challenged with harnessing and analysing it smartly for greater returns, the report says.

The report states: “Media audiences today are savvier than days of yore — or even last year. They are now used to finding video content wherever and whenever they are looking for it, so mobile isn’t a novelty anymore — it’s the expectation. So is sharing content via social platforms. Media companies are in a dead sprint to keep up with consumers in a race where the stakes are high and the hurdles are plenty.”

Media consumption is increasing rapidly on every possible device, and video continues to take up more of consumers’ media time. Americans alone, the report says, are forecast to spend over 80 minutes daily watching digital video next year, up from 61 minutes just three years ago, per eMarketer. And as Ooyala Global Video Index research has found, longer videos on all screens are now the norm, with 85% of US adults now get their news via mobile devices according to a Pew Research Center survey.

“It’s not surprising then that companies are evolving their digital strategies with consumer habits in mind. Millennials and Generation Z continue to be a boon for mobile and video, even as older consumers start to catch up. The younger Gen Z consumers increasingly are spending more time with digital video and social at the expense of other forms of media. An Awesomeness study pointed to the fact that 34% of teens’ entertainment content consumption is done via smartphones, and they watch nearly 70 videos daily. By 2022, over 80% of Millennials plan to watch online video via smartphones,” says the report.

Mobile video continued its double-digit growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 according to the Ooyala 2017 Global Video Index. It now makes up 60.3% of all video plays. “Consumer fascination with social media and video continues as the social medium provides the immediate gratification and 24/7 connection audiences crave in our “always on” world,” it says.

Mobile video and social video consumption are on the rise, taking more than a small bite out of total consumer viewing times. Ina takeaway, the report notes that the industry should, “Look for more content experiments in these areas this year as companies fine-tune their strategies based on consumption data for generations coming of age and beyond.”

On another note, the tension between distribution and destination approaches to published content has erupted in the last year. “Why?” asks the report. “The duopoly of top social platforms Google and Facebook has claimed the lion’s share of digital advertising revenue globally, while data privacy and transparency issues, algorithm changes, “fake news” and brand safety concerns have been centre stage for publishers, brands and consumers. Media publishers are faced with pivoting their strategies and innovating in a competitive space where much of their livelihood and revenue goal attainment have been dependent on other companies, which may ultimately be considered media companies themselves.”

While Facebook has been defending its practices around data by tightening policies, incorporating fact-checking initiatives and background tools, and becoming more transparent with audiences about its approaches to publisher content, YouTube has also made changes to alleviate brand safety issues on its platform, such as boosting creator requirements in order to monetise content. The reason for much of this activity, is, Ooyala says, the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that took effect on 25 May in Europe. The report predicts: “Expect more debate and activity around these issues this year.” It adds: “Looking at the business from a different lens is now a survival skill in media. Expect partnerships, diversification and innovation, with the help of data, to be key assets in every publisher’s tool kit this year.”

Part of keeping that relationship with the consumer going is about enlisting the help of new technologies, says Ooyala. It points to using business and audience data to craft richer, more personalised stories, build operational efficiencies, and understand what makes audiences tick. This involves the use of aspects such as immersive video, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and embracing mobile technology such as 5G networks, which will in turn open the door to more virtual reality (VR), 360-degree video, and augmented reality (AR).

The paper concludes: “It’s been said that “big data is the great equaliser,” and that remains true for all media companies today. Data is at the centre of a dynamic era in the industry, and along with video, promises to reset what media will mean to the world in the years ahead. Publishers who look forward – whatever size they may be – understand the power of data to enlighten, strengthen and lead them into the next era of media.”

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