Surviving and Thriving in the Digital Media Age: Views from leaders of pathfinder businesses.

Dec 14

Before babies learn to reach, grab, sit-up or crawl, they begin exploring the world by turning their head to look. Vision provides information and stimulation important for development, associating objects with behaviours, such as a ball meaning play-time.  Research estimates that 80-85% of our perception, learning, cognition, and activities are achieved through vision[1].

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Movement and sound catch attention like nothing else. Both play a significant role in conveying an efficient message, enabling nonverbal communication through body language, verbal tone and other visual cues. When employed in storytelling, they help people grasp concepts and data easily, making information more digestible and memorable.

Not surprising then, that Video is one of the most engaging mediums.  Striking a deep connection, eliciting strong emotional responses, it makes people want to share, comment, and like. Not only does video grab our attention, it keeps it.

In this digital age, online video has become ubiquitous via billions of connected devices. Recently, the Digital Hunters Podcast series explored innovation in this emerging Digital Media World.  In the series, I interview leaders of UK based businesses finding new ways to exploit and enable the power of video engagement – pathfinder businesses that help shape our future.

With a vision to accelerate student engagement and learning, boclips.com are creating an ever-growing curated library of teaching videos from news and current affairs, making these available through educational publishers and direct to schools.

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“ Given the fact that the combination of moving image and sound has proven to be the most powerful way to get people to change their buying behaviours … why wasn’t more of this fantastic television content, available every night on televisions around the world, available in the classroom? ”  David Bainbridge, Founder boclips

Wooshii has established a worldwide community of professional video production teams, built a platform that connects creators with buyers and created a new global market niche.

“ We can just mobilise teams … in the locations that we need to, centrally control quality and brand … and spit back a hundred or so assets which are all on brand. ”  Fergus Dyer-Smith, CEO Wooshii

RealEyes, double winners of the Deloitte Fast 50, has moved forward rapidly, expanding internationally, applying emotional recognition and attention measurement to tens of thousands of video ads.

“ We train an AI that is able to automatically recognise what you are looking at on the screen and being attentive (and) what sort of emotions you are expressing when you are working with the content on the screen. ”  Elnar Hajiyev, CTO RealEyes

Perhaps the most radical application has been by Big Sofa Technologies that extracts the ‘Human Data Stream’ from video to provide non-intrusive market research in real-life situations.

“ What we’re able to do with our capture technology and then our video intelligence engine is provide the Human Data Stream, which is actually what people are doing in those spaces through observation rather than intervention.”  Kirsty Fuller, CEO Big Sofa Technologies

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In the entertainment space, many consumers today are technology rich but time poor.  A stampede of technology businesses has provided a multitude of online video solutions.   As more premium and niche content becomes available, choice and complexity becomes paralysing.

“ In the Attention Economy, as it’s called … you’re looking at every single customer touch point, so you keep that individual engaged with your content (and) your brand. “   Nathalie Lethbridge, Founder Atonik Digital

Several episodes of the Digital Hunters series highlight UK businesses that are successfully navigating these massive shifts.  Both Grabyo and LiveWire Sport have transformed the way rights owners promote their content on social platforms.

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“ We had this vision to say that … video on social media is going to become really important; we think that professionally produced, high quality video is going to become what consumers want to see, but if they’re going to watch it, it needs to be relevant, it needs to be on a device that make sense to them and it needs to be there in real time. “   Gareth Capon, CEO Grabyo

InPlayer provide tools and data to give niche players the confidence to monetise their content.

“ There’s a tidal wave of content that’s coming online and typically people are going to be happy to pay for it if it’s in their specific viewpoint. “  George Meek, CEO InPlayer

RedBee Media have lowered their barrier to entry with an innovation infrastructure to explore new opportunities.

“More video, higher-end, coming from more places, going to more platforms, to more people. There’s a fragmentation, diversification of content distribution. Our vision is to be the trusted partner. “  Steve Russell, Head of OTT & Media RedBee

V-Nova have made major advances in software-based video compression, significantly widening the range of consumption devices and the efficiency of Content Delivery Networks.

“The Broadcasting industry has evolved to a place where broadcasters and service providers have rights to certain content and to certain geographies … Twitch is available globally; Netflix has expanded from the US to other countries at a massive rate; Facebook is available globally; TikTok is a massive phenomenon. These are the hyper-scalers that are pushing the capacity of CDNs”  Fabio Murra, SVP V-Nova

The digital age has brought about step changes in advertising with real-time, segmented and targeted ad placement. Remarkably, beneath this have been primitive manual workflows, now addressed by Peach Video.

“ How on Earth do you get the correct content, in the correct format, to the correct place at the right time? That is the problem we solve for our customers. “   Doug Conely, CPO & CTO Peach

Whilst these businesses are all forging their paths through the challenges and opportunities of this Digital Media Age, many are failing. Some, with established solutions, struggle to find levers for further growth in this rapidly changing landscape. Others, still seeking their core value, chase too many moving targets.

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Building a customer-focused innovation engine is the answer to these existential business challenges. DM me to learn more.

[1] https://www.brainline.org/article/vision-our-dominant-sense