According to him, in this world content remains king. “No matter whether you are in magazines, books, movies or video one thing is the same - content is king,” he said.
He went on to offer insights from the music industry (Universal Music Group is part of Vivendi) and how it has gone through a process of digital disruption and reinvention to a position of growth. For Arnaud, who before Vivendi was with among others Hearst Magazines and EMAP, there are relevant lessons for publishers as both have seen a dramatic shift in the way audiences consume our content.
“In every part of our business our content and services have been optimised to serve an audience that gravitates to a pick and mix model.
Like other managers in the entertainment industry we have adapted the way that content is distributed.
Arnaud then outlined how times have changed and how many in the entertainment industry still pined for previous methods of content distribution. “There was sense of grief - shared pain for the old, predictable analogue way of distributing content. It has been a painful experience. However shared pain has been replaced by shared opportunity.”
Arnaud then outlined five ways in which there are now huge opportunities for content creators.
● Provision - There is now a bigger marketplace for content than ever before. 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube round the world every minute. The opportunity to reach mass audiences has never been greater.
● Access - We can reach audiences at multiple devices at any time and in any place - home, online, live, subscription etc on one or more screens. Daily consumption of media continues to rise.
● Personalisation - Consumers are packaging content up into formats. For example, over two thirds of songs that are played on Spotify are from playlists. We can target customers in a more informed way.
● Aggregation - We all have an opportunity to repurpose content for distribution networks, such as Facebook or WeChat.
● Community - We are living in an era where content is shared via social networks. Our challenge, no matter whether the industry is publishing, video or music, is how to secure sustainable pricing model. We have no choice but to adapt.
Arnaud then talked about how the music industry had moved from trying to prosecute rather than invite. “Once it offered a distribution model easier than the pirates the pirates died. Digital distribution is not the enemy. We must embrace change. Change will happen whether we like it or not. Today music is moving to a subscription-based streaming system that you can listen to songs on the move without downloading them.”
“The music market lost a lot of its value before streaming and downloading became mainstream. In 2015 Spotify, Deezer and Apple meant that we started making money again.”
Arnaud then added that different markets have different emphases. In Germany physical distribution accounts for 70 per cent of recorded sales. In Sweden it is the other way round.
He also said that print media has been slower to adapt. “A challenge is to become more digital. We need to find an economic model that works. The value of global content media industry still growing. It had a 1.93 trillion value in 2020.”
Arnaud also said that the future's mobile, all content needs to be ready for smartphones. We must shift and forge more intimate relationships with our customers. Though he admitted that there are still major challenges ahead. “Users are becoming less loyal and more promiscuous,” he acknowledged.
Our skill is identifying, managing and monetising creative talent. The ability to nurture and develop content is the prize asset. The best is yet to come.
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