Transformation in M&E Industry Landscape by Digital Technology

In conversation with Sabah Carter, Director- Technology Business Operations, News UK | Thursday, 09 November 2017, 12:52 IST

CR: Increased demand for an improved digital user experience is challenging players industry-wide to reevaluate their existing organizational models and strategies. What do you suggest the players to do to keep up with the changing trends?

Sabah: Keeping pace with changing trends and new technology is important, however, it is critical to do so in the context of your core business strategy and values. Organizations need to experiment and innovate quickly and often through the use of agile and lean principles. Combining this speed with insights and data on audiences and customer behavior are the key ingredients in providing competitive edge to organizations.

CR: With the convergence of technology and media and the proliferation of new business models, what opportunities do Information, Media and Entertainment (IME) companies face?

Sabah: We have some of the strongest brands with loyal audiences. The digital revolution gives us an opportunity to extend those great brands to digital platforms and provide an enhanced experience to current and new audiences through the use of our own platforms, social media and off-platform opportunities also. In our digital and social media partnerships the potential to reach larger audiences has been unlocked in a way never possible before however, where we do not own the platforms the user experience must still be seamless and true to the brands value.

CR: Consumers are progressively switching to digital downloads and on-demand consumption of IME content. How do you see this trend catching up in India?

Sabah: It is predicted that smartphone penetration in India was expected to grow to 520 million by 2020, making India one of the largest smart phone economies in the world. In parallel broadband penetration will increase to 40 percent by 2020. The rapid up-take of connected devices and broadband connectivity is going to significantly disrupt how media is consumed in India shifting not only the formats but the demographics of those consuming.

CR: The shift toward digital media compels IME companies to focus on areas that can drive both efficiency and effectiveness. What are those areas?

Sabah: Format duration can be adjusted to what is optimum in relation to the content being served instead of traditional 30 min and 1 hour formats which were required on traditional media. We can shift from thinking of audiences and focus on community instead where the engagement is two-way and real-time feedback enables a real connection between content provider and those consuming the content. Alternative methods to drive revenue can be experimented with, particularly in the area of gaming which has a huge growth market potential.

CR: How to prepare one's Organization for the New Age of IME? Share your views.

Sabah: Talent acquisition has to be the focus of every CEO and CTO and leaders in all organizations. If we are to generate diverse ideas which will help give us a competitive advantage we need to hire the brightest and best diverse talent.

CR: What are News Corp’s plans for India?

Sabah: The acquisition is an exciting new step for News Corp. We are delighted to have our own team in Bangalore and look forward to working closely with our new colleagues in India innovating in areas of cloud, machine learning, automation and product development.

CR: What does this acquisition mean for News Corp and New Technology Services (NTS)?

Sabah: NTS (New Technology Services) brings a wealth of capabilities to our team from skills in Enterprise, Infrastructure and Security through to Data and Digital Capabilities. We are interested in a broad range of capabilities to complement those in UK teams. It's particularly great to be able to build capabilities in disciplines such as data science which are very difficult to source in the UK.