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11 March 2019 3 min read

Content in the Digital Age (part 1): Locating a real, captive audience

Chris Evans

Chris Evans
Consultant | Products and services | London

Media is undergoing change that is shattering its foundations.

Since the Millennium, power has shifted from Los Angeles to Silicon Valley, the print news industry is a shadow of its former self, and the internet is now overwhelmingly ‘mobile first’. How is a media company supposed to make money in this new age?

Content creators today, from major film studios to millennial influencers, face three key considerations:

  1. Locating your captive audience. With changing consumer behaviour, how should you reach your intended audience?
  2. Finding value today. How do you turn this audience into a revenue stream today?
  3. Building a community around your content for tomorrow. How do you turn this audience into a community of engaged fans and how can your content become a franchise to build your brand in the future?

The first installment of this two-part blog series will focus on point (A), finding – and most importantly understanding – your target audience. We decided that this step is so important for content creators that it needed a page of its own. Because, after all, if no one is watching then there is no value to be claimed.

Locating your captive audience

The first step to monetising content is creating the right material in the first place. We’ve seen a rise of clever algorithms, user-generated videos as well as a renaissance of original shows on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu and now Disney. Today, consumers expect a menu of new content built around their individual tastes. Indeed, the digital economy has enabled fans to effortlessly find their favourite media which has shaped communities, or ‘taste clusters’ as Netflix calls them, around certain genres and trends.

Social media has exploited these micro-communities further, empowering individuals to engage with brands, and each other, with specific hashtags to find likeminded people and track the content they enjoy. Therefore, the old model of ‘greenlighting’ projects by committee and pushing content to as many eyeballs as possible is no longer best practice. Now, creators must first find these ultra-engaged fans (who offer considerable value from the premium they are willing to pay), and tap into their taste networks to ensure content is fit for market.

Today, content can be targeted and is consumer-centric and led by fans rather than by the talent alone.

Then, your audience - even if you think you’ve found them - lie across multiple channels. Many skim content on their phones and consume short wave videos on the go. And businesses are placing their bets on consumers becoming even more connected through mobile, with Telco companies set to invest millions in 5G, bringing lower latency, improved data handling and further connectivity with voice devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Content creators must be across all channels, or face the trade-off of losing a large chunk of their market.

Therefore, media firms and independent creators must have exceptional insight into who their audience are and the values they identify with. This will unfold into a deeper understanding of where these consumers – or data clusters if you’re Netflix – hang out.

Part two will investigate the optimal strategies for generating long-lasting value from your captive audience.