Audience influence
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How are audiences influencing content creation and defining entertainment?

Mipcom headlined this week in France to the most creative minds and stars in the entertainment business world. Across 15-18 October 2018, buyers, producers, and top TV and creative content specialists assembled for world-first premieres and trailblazing Hollywood blockbuster screenings. Emmy winner Ben Stiller’s highly anticipated series, “Escape at Dannemora”, premiered on Monday to a […]

By Lucy Holden

Mipcom headlined this week in France to the most creative minds and stars in the entertainment business world. Across 15-18 October 2018, buyers, producers, and top TV and creative content specialists assembled for world-first premieres and trailblazing Hollywood blockbuster screenings.

Emmy winner Ben Stiller’s highly anticipated series, “Escape at Dannemora”, premiered on Monday to a rapt audience of critics. In the latest release we follow a manhunt in America for two convicted murderers who have broken out of prison – we’re gripped already. Dubbed to be the next big thing, “Escape at Dannemora” will air on SHOWTIME and be available to stream.

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Entertainment is changing from the content and creative, to the way we consume it. But how exactly are audiences influencing entertainment?

And what effect will this have on the way we deliver content within events?

Shifting audiences

The media ecosystem is rapidly evolving. Rather than targeting content at markets, producers now must tap into audience insights and create content that they’ll be sure to consume – or risk extinction.

Extreme, you might say? When we look closely at viewer’s behaviour we can see that a whole host of factors are seismically shifting. In recent research led by Ampere Analytics we can see that Netflix and Amazon Prime audiences are hungry for three prominent genres: Drama, Comedy and Sci-Fi. Using data driven insights these streaming giants can focus on creating on top performing content that viewers crave. Crime and thriller programmes are on the rise, so Ben Stiller’s latest release might hit the sweet spot of this growing trend.

Netflix’s Upcoming Programme by Genre (257)

Netflix figures

Data provided by Ampere Analytics

Amazon Prime Video’s Upcoming Programmes by Genre (97)

Amazon prime figures

Data provided by Ampere Analytics

We’re sure you’ll agree that one of the beauties of streaming is its accessibility – the fact you can stream anywhere, on any device, at any time that suits you. It’s no longer about waiting for the next airing of your favourite TV show; we’re digitally liberated and free from our broadcasting shackles.

It’ll therefore come as no surprise that there are more subscriptions in the UK to the likes of Netflix, Amazon and NOW TV than ‘traditional’ paid-for TV. OFCOM reported that these online streaming services reached 15.4 million in Q1 of 2018, overtaking paid-for TV at 15.1 million. This is the first time that streaming has overtaken and whizzed by in the fast lane, waving euphorically at paid-for TV in the rear mirror! And we can’t see it changing any time soon.

The knock on effect of this means that the same content expectations and audience consumption habits apply to the world of events – expectations have never been greater in terms of personalised, convenient and accessible content. Watch a live keynote on your mobile from elsewhere in the venue, catch up on key interviews whilst eating lunch, or review the highlights of the day on the way home. The speed at which we can access content is paramount but so, too, is the device. Events need to think mobile first to ensure that content is easily navigable and fully optimised for all platforms.

The benefits are indisputable. Event live streaming and catch up reach a far larger global audience than those who physically attend, meaning more revenue, more visibility for partners and sponsors, and real-time online interactions. Not to mention that the content can be recycled, reused and re-shared – extending the content’s lifecycle.

Snackable content is on the rise

In a time starved world we’re seeing a rise in short, snackable content lasting a mere 15 minutes. Audience’s attention spans are altering and so must event content. Shorter sessions disrupt the traditional event model and reflect the audience’s changing content digestion.

47% of all mobile-video viewing time is consumed on content less than 20 minutes long says video platform provider, Ooyala. Instagram stayed well ahead of this curve and launched IGTV in June this year; rivalling YouTube, verified users can upload videos ranging from 10 – 60 minutes.

As viewing habits shift from TV to online we see an equal shift in the way people consume entertainment and content. Rather than watching one episode of a series, we’re skipping ahead and binging. Netflix reports that users spent 100 million hours a day watching content!

Big broadcasting houses like the BBC are spotting this trend in their own viewing figures, particularly in younger audiences as the iPlayer’s popularity spiked by 151% (from 1.5 billion to 3.8 billion programmes accessed per year) between 2010 and 2016.

The entertainment industry is responding to a shifting audience market; a streamlined and enhanced customer experience is key to retaining membership and views month after month.

Tech as a matchmaker

Technology as a matchmaker

Technology is developing a reputation as a matchmaking enabler. We know what we like, and so does the power of AI. It’s the perfect recipe for a personalised customer experience.

Online streaming providers also benefit from this content matchmaking affair. Machine learning offers intensely rich data insights which all help to develop highly targeted and unique marketing personas.

It’s a simple equation: user’s scientific data + crafted entertainment = personalised customer content experience.

Stranger things

The likes of Netflix capitalise on this data to create storylines and engaging entertaining concepts. Netflix Original is driven by these insights and it’s seen the launch of worldwide hits like Orange is The New Black and Stranger Things. The whole customer journey is considered from your most popular viewing times, to your favourite device.

An incredible 15 million viewers tuned into Stranger Things 2. How did Netflix do it? AI promoted ST on the home screen to viewers of the series and potential prospects; it launched on the Friday before Halloween (ensuing a major binge weekend); and the storyline was even set during Halloween. Needless to say it’s also a sci-fi thriller and what else would we choose to watch as the nights begin to draw in!

Nascent interactive alternative endings like Black Mirror are shaping the future of customer content experiences. The work behind these seamless, HD quality productions is no mean feat! Hundreds of hours in production and content creation will go into the making of interactive storyline endings. This will open up more opportunity for creative risks and give an even deeper insight into customer psychology.

Event content can figuratively take a leaf out of Netflix’s book. Audiences should be the focal point: influencing the content and defining the entertainment.

Disrupt the traditional content format and hand over the reins to your audience with the use of interactive event gamification and alternative session endings! Some call this format an unconference when in actual fact you are just providing them with a choice, an opportunity to proactively select what they want to hear and engage with. Not only will this liberate the flow, it will also increase engagement and create a lasting memory – which is what events are all about!

Our learnings from Mipcom

Content creation game changers

Producers and content creators are facing new challenges and equally new opportunities. There’s an innate fear that data will trump creative, and that content will only be created based on consumer behaviour. On the flipside, it opens up the possibility of producing truly spectacular, disruptive content which breaks the norm and cuts through the noise.

Responses to a reshaped media landscape

This year’s Mipcom asked the big question: how will the entertainment industry transition to a reshaped media landscape? Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, remarked that ITV has “communities of fans that want to have a deeper relationship”. Traditional media giants need to compete with streaming services and offer direct-to-consumer services. ITV’s answer is to launch an augmented streaming product, so watch this space!

Evolving audiences: evolving content

Audiences are defining the way that content is created, consumed and digested – and the demand is ever growing. Now is the time to work smart with technology, breakthrough with unique content, and firmly fix our gaze on the customer content experience journey.

At MCI Experience, we believe that a new approach to content is essential – one that makes all content personal and authentic. We like staying on top of the latest industry insights and paving the way to new solutions for our clients.

Thinking of changing up your event and its content? Let’s get started!

hello@mciexperience.com

+44 (0)20 353 00100