Today’s media consumer is focused on getting the entertainment and services that they desire and demands that they get it – with no compromises. But rather than being harder to please, serving people who know what they want means that media companies can more easily identify how to give them exactly that.

Recent years have seen an acceleration in the digitalisation of the media industry. With this expansion of access, choice and delivery comes increased audience fragmentation, content fatigue and evidence of a wider than thought digital divide. 

Competition is fierce. Boundaries between media types are becoming increasingly blurred as platforms and brands build product extensions and embrace new business models to enhance value and relevance.

Consumers have become increasingly focused on value for money, with subscriptions, bundled offers and streaming services under greater scrutiny. Demands for flexibility and control are growing, and greater empathy is needed from providers. 

So how can media providers meet the demands of the modern customer, and turn the fact that these customers know what they want into a strategy for giving it to them?

Give them speed and control

Accenture found that “60% of consumers globally consider the process of navigating among different streaming services ‘a little’ to ‘very’ frustrating and 40% spend more than six minutes trying to find something they want to watch.”

Media brands must respond to these consumer expectations of speed, immediacy, flexibility and control.

Furthermore, with the widespread shift to digital, consumers are demanding the content they want, when and where it suits them. They have increasing expectations for media to be interconnected, delivering a seamless experience.

Supercharged by advances in the 5G network, digital adoption, the prevalence of social media, and reimagined work/life patterns have led to unprecedented expectations of speed and convenience without compromise. Consumers are seeking instant gratification; for media content and associated customer service support to be delivered on-demand and live, via the device at hand. 

Make it personal

Today’s consumers expect media to be convenient and highly accessible, but they’re also experiencing digital fatigue. With the growing number of channels, formats and subscriptions across the media landscape, there is an overwhelming amount of content available. 

Providers need to find creative and meaningful ways of engaging audiences that go beyond inundating them with a broad mix of miscellaneous content. They must use AI, big data and analytics to offer hyper-personalised customer service experiences.

What if data collection and cleansing strategies were optimised to enable hyper-personalisation? Companies could leverage this data and innovate with next generation subscription models and develop deeper emotional connections with audiences.

Interactions must be effortless

Consumers expect simple and easy interactions throughout the end to-end journey, from sign-up to usage and billing.

People are not only looking for the right balance of appealing content and value for money, but also for effortless omnichannel experiences and quick outcomes. They value simple, easy-to-use platforms and processes, and the knowledge of where to turn when they need assistance or something goes wrong. Younger generations have come to expect this and serving up the right content at the right time in the right channel in a seamless way is not the exception, it’s now the norm.

The opportunity lies in humanising the customer experience (CX), reducing friction and delivering a truly seamless journey which in turn will build greater trust and loyalty.

Let them have peace of mind

The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 37% of UK people surveyed said they trusted the media. So what about the remaining 63%?

From misinformation and deepfakes, to cyber-attacks and online fraud, there are many threats within the digitalised media industry that can compromise the trust between provider and consumer. 

Ensuring security and resilience is crucial to business continuity and success. And with new business models in the media industry relying heavily on end-user data capture and targeted advertising, cyber security has a strong influence in enhancing overall CX.

Customer data must be kept secure, while frictionless experiences must be delivered across authentications, logins and cross-channel interactions without compromising security. In the telecoms sector, The Telecoms Security Act requires providers to have measures in place to identify and reduce the risks of security compromises, as well as preparing for future risks, with OFCOM fining up to 10% of turnover for those who don’t comply.

Media providers would offer greater assurance to consumers if they were to balance security with CX, giving consumers both the convenience and protection that they demand whilst providing security measures tailored to specific consumer personas and phases of the customer journey.

Respect their need to create and contribute

Fans and communities can be an overlooked asset in the media industry, while the rapid expansion of formats and opportunities for people to be both consumers and creators of media has led to democratisation. 

Against the backdrop of challenging times, community has become an important refuge, and in the media industry, participatory cultures have become an increasingly influential force. In a landscape which presents almost unlimited choice, groups of people connect around content, creators, stars and moments, and can be a key contributor to success.

There are valuable opportunities to harness the power of democratised platforms, social collectives and peer-to-peer interactions – from live events to CX community engagement. Media providers should consider establishing mutually beneficial, bi-directional relationships with communities, rethinking business models to directly address the unique influence the contribution of creators.

Give them the future now

Next-generation technologies such as AI, AR/VR and the metaverse are making deeper inroads to create immersive and unique audience experiences. Accenture reported that 70% of consumers say they intend to use the metaverse to access products and services across media and entertainment, fitness, retail, travel and healthcare. 

The metaverse, in particular, could present unrivalled opportunity for the media industry, with the emergence of a new frontier that redefines future CX. McKinsey, in its report Value Creation in the Metaverse, rightly states that “With its potential to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030, the metaverse is too big for companies to ignore.” 

For the media industry, there is potential for highly immersive, interactive experiences that can engage consumers in ways that more traditional media cannot. Possibilities include embedding NFTs within media experiences and embracing AI-generated synthetic media. 

As media organisations start adjusting their business models to become on-demand and interconnected with other products and services, the consumer will naturally begin to consume more content. And it is much better to know what the customer wants than to need to spend time, resources and money finding out – or, even worse, just estimate.

We’ve commissioned a series of 12 reports – focusing on media and 11 other industries – that will help you discover the challenges of the future customer in terms of how you can best connect, support and transform their experience to gain competitive advantage.

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