Every birthday and holiday that goes by, it seems there are fewer physical items for the kids to unwrap. A few short years ago, they got books, CDs, DVDs, and discs or cartridges to play on their consoles. Today, they still enjoy reading, listening to music, watching movies, and playing games, but they do it differently. They do it digitally.
It’s not only the kids. More and more, our world is shifting to a downloading, streaming culture. This focus on digital media has empowered consumers. Where before we had to purchase the entire album or bring home the full newspaper, now we can go directly to what we want and skip the rest. The result is a new age of entertainment management where the audience manages what content they receive.
Apple designed a digital transformation for the music industry that was intended for fast growth. It worked.
When Apple launched iTunes, it ushered in a revolution of the entertainment world. Musicians scrambled to understand new music licensing standards. Audiences celebrated their newfound ability to carry digital playlists in their pockets.
Suddenly consumers no longer wanted to pay for CDs and tapes. Those items would clutter their cars and force them to pay for songs they never wanted. With iTunes, Apple had created a digital business model that put the customer in charge.
Editor of Wired Magazine Chris Anderson wrote about online retailers such as Amazon and iTunes. Anderson asserts that these businesses have found success from selling in the “long tail.” This refers to their ability to sell anything, from top titles to niche interests. It all stems from having business platforms that are native to the digital world.
It didn’t stop there, though. Now, with cloud-based, streaming platforms, consumers pay subscription fees to be entertained. This saves space on mobile devices because it eliminates the need to download films, TV shows, and even music files.
Netflix has been the major disruptor in this market. A digitally native company, this business model was right at home online from the beginning. That gave them an enormous advantage. With the Netflix platform being born online, its focus was always on the digital experience. This shook the previously healthy Blockbuster movie rental store. Not a digital native, Blockbuster wasn’t able to catch up in time. Netflix emerged victorious.
Rick Newman, in US News & World Report, wrote about the Netflix success even at its earliest stages. Before streaming, Netflix mailed customers DVDs. Again, this recalls Anderson’s “long tail” theory, where platforms that are digital natives can offer much more to consumers than brick-and-mortar stores. Newman wrote that “a slim inventory that leaves customers waiting for movies would drive business away.” This is exactly how Blockbuster suffered.
Spotify, an online music streaming company, has adopted the Netflix model. Another digital native, Spotify’s platform addressed the need for music listeners to save even more space. This time, instead of saving physical space in their cars and home, consumers wanted to save digital space. Spotify used the Netflix method of online video streaming to provide download-free music for a subscription fee.
Streamlined Content Management
All of these examples and more point to one thing: streamlined content management. Today’s consumers are empowered. They can select what they want, and they expect the services to be streamlined to meet their exact needs. Extra packaging, extra files, and extra items are a thing of the past.
This is a lesson many businesses have learned the hard way. Digital disruptors have changed the way customers spend their money. Platforms must stay abreast of modern consumer expectations.
Companies that have online native platforms know the importance of social media. By allowing fans to “like,” share, tweet, and blog directly from their platforms, they leverage the power of word of mouth.
Movie fans embed trailers on their sites. Music enthusiasts share custom-made playlists. News buffs link to relevant content and encourage discussion. This chatter makes up a great deal of our communication online. Brewster Stanislaw of MarketingProfs writes “the more brands can get people to talk, the more they can learn from them, and the more brands can engage and grow their relationship with their customers.” It doesn’t feel like free advertising work. Instead, consumers feel connected to a larger community of fans. They get to participate in the conversation.
In essence, custumers want this level of interactivity. They expect a digital platform that will encourage sharing with others. In addition, these fan-generated conversations about media help promote the businesses who sell media. Everybody wins when platforms are inherently social.
Digital disruptors like iTunes, Netflix, and Spotify have paved the way for today’s consumer. The worlds of entertainment, social media, and even news delivery have changed.
Another advantage to digital platforms is the ability to gather consumer insight. Through analytics and other data-driven resources, businesses can adapt their platforms to meet the evolving needs of the market.
With digital platforms, businesses leverage an amazing resource of social interaction and sales. Consumers want engaging experiences. They want flexibility and space. They want to connect with businesses online.
The word is in. Companies that develop digital platforms have a competitive edge in nearly every market today.
Look here to learn more about digital transformation of the Media industry.