Criteo is here in Palm Desert, California, for the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting and we couldn’t be more excited to listen to all the great speakers over the next few days. We’re happy to be part of such an innovative crowd and looking forward to get a chance to talk with as many people as possible – our meeting room is Desert Ballroom 5, so stop by and say hi if you get a chance!
The theme of the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting this year is “How to Build a 21st Century Brand.” As the night unfolded, each session had an underlying theme: how to survive amid the increasing competition from all angles. Media companies of all stripes are adapting to new realities, changing their business models and, in some ways, radically rethinking the ways they distribute content.
Dr. Jeffery Cole, the director of the Center for the Digital Future, talked in-depth about this topic. In his session, “The transformation of the Media: New Payment Models, New Players and New Content”, he spoke at length about three key transformations affecting the media business:
The Big Get Bigger.
One of the most striking predictions Cole made was that ATT & Time Warner will merge, and soon. He touched on the future of Paramount, CBS, Viacom, and others, too, explaining that the need to merge or get acquired has never been bigger.
While tech giants like Amazon build their own studio and Baidu and Alibaba expand into the space, there will be a need to be part of massive companies with massive budgets and near-infinite content.
Without the resources to compete, it will become increasingly difficult for smaller media businesses to compete. Cole predicts that there will be three major players over the next few years: AT&T Time Warner, NBC Universal Comcast, and Disney.
Others, he warned, may get left behind.
Movies Turn to Full Subscription Models.
Netflix, Cole explained, ushered in an unprecedented age of movie-watching. While audiences had to make big investments just to go to the movie – leave their house, find someone to go with, spend a lot of money on a ticket – all of those obstacles have been erased by subscription services.
This may not bode well for movie theaters, unless the business can also build a reliable subscription model.
“People spend about 90 dollars a month on media,” Cole explained. Ten dollars of that, each month, is going to inevitably go to Netflix. Another chunk goes to Amazon, especially as Amazon’s own content studio continues to build award-winning content.
And Amazon won’t stop at moves. “Amazon will move into sports next,” Cole said.
Without a subscription model, media companies will find it harder and harder to find a sustainable way to retain viewers.
The Fifth Screen
The TV, the computer, the smartphone, and the tablet have already become a part of many of our lives. But Cole explained that there was another screen coming, something that would be extremely important in the context of the media business: the car.
“The automobile is about to become the second-most important entertainment environment in our lives,” he told the audience. Because, as autonomous cars hit the road, there won’t be any reason to look out the windshield. Instead, passengers will only be looking at screens.
One only has to look at people on a bus, plane, or subway to see how accurate this is – once people have the chance, they’ll turn to their screens instead of windows.
Transportation will become a huge market for the media and the first players that adopt a strategy for that channel could have huge advantages in the future.
The Nimble Giant
Last month, Criteo released our own predictions for 2018.
It was exciting to hear Cole discuss one of the biggest ones – mergers, acquisitions and partnerships. As it becomes increasingly necessary to have more resources, more content, and more viewers to succeed in the media business, it’s clear that businesses will have to partner up on new initiatives.
It will be great to hear what else is on the horizon for 2018 and beyond over the next two days. Be sure to come back and check out our recaps of some other great sessions of the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. And don’t forget to come visit at Desert Ballroom 5!