Media Brands and Consumers: A New Dynamic Emerges

By Cassidy Morgan

Until recently, media sector observers saw “free” and “user-generated” as incompatible with “profitable” and “reliable,” and predicted the demise of media companies that were focused on generating paid for content. Today we see major media brands around the world asking consumers to pay for content—and consumers willingly accepting this change as they seek content across devices. Just as consumers forced media companies to adjust their business models and become more flexible, so have media brands compelled consumers to adopt new behaviors.

Think mobile first

Billions of new consumers will go online in the coming years using mobile devices in search of content, creating a dynamic where universal access, immediacy, and constant freshness of content will be paramount to success. Consumers will spend more time interacting with their mobile devices than anything else—including other people. Everything will need to be optimized for on-the-go-any- time experiences. “Where I want, when I want, and how I want” will become more prevalent behavioral norms. Media brands must understand this and embrace this. Those that continue to optimize for the big screen will realize too late that the small screen dominates.

Create a seamless experience

With consumers’ attention spans getting shorter, brands that are able to grab consumers quickly will have a fighting chance at success. But to create a lasting and meaningful connection it will also have to be simple. It will become critically important that consumers experience seamlessness across devices. An integrated, channel-agnostic customer experience sounds simple but will require significant investments and, most importantly, a committed senior management team. Only with guidance from the top will media brands be able to transform themselves from content brands into true experience brands. Future consumers will accept no less.

On the go, localized insights

Media brands’ growth is coming from fast-developing markets, where customers will no longer accept repurposed or recycled content as their purchasing power and connectivity grow. They will place a premium on unique and locally relevant content that gives credence to the role they play on the world stage. This requires a true commitment to invest in local resources and build a brand that has the locally relevant substance and insights that consumers so crave.

The local dynamic will also influence how business-to-business media brands behave. Local, trusted insights will become more valuable as the amount of available data increases. The target audience of professionals, always on the go, will expect the same high-quality experience. Delivering this in an authentic and fresh fashion will require media brands to adopt consumer-oriented practices.

RankBrand NameBrand Value ($m)Change in Brand Value
14Disney28,1473%
47Thomson Reuters8,103-4%
70Discovery5,7560%
78MTV4,980-12%