Alphachannel in PSFK’s New Entertainment Trends Roundtable
“How do we re-imagine the cinema, living room, music studio or production house for the next generation of omnipresent tech?” asks PSFK’s latest report.
We were excited to help answer this question and others in their Entertainment Trends Roundtable.
Below, please find the questions asked, and the answers given by Alphachannel’s Co-founder, Aaron Adler.
Question 1 — Content Without Constraints
As brands and content creators converge their media onto integrated platforms that allow foraccess across multiple devices, what unlikely places and environments (think public parks) might we start to see their core content networks rear their heads? How might consumers respond to the proliferation of this content, whether in-flight, at hotels, in public places or beyond?
The most interesting example of a brand offering a single piece of content for consumption across vastly different platforms and formats is Amazon’s innovative “Whispersync for Voice.” With this service, Amazon has integrated its ecommerce platform, its Kindle reading product, and Audible’s Amazon library.
A user can purchase an e-book on the Amazon site; begin reading the words in text format on their Kindle or Kindle app; seamlessly switch to the audiobook version where the user left off; and go back to reading on Kindle. Over and over again. It ingeniously enables seamless switching between reading and listening to a single piece of content. Amazon tracks each user’s playback position, bookmarks, and notes between apps and across devices.
Amazon’s “Whispersync for Voice” is the most under-discussed example of true cross-platform content consumption. Amazon is effectively giving you a choice to use your eyes or your ears to enjoy a book, at your whim. It’s quite a feat, and yet it feels like a simple, seamless experience to each user. There’s no better example of a brand bowing to a user’s moment-to-moment preferences.
Question 2 — Making Media Matter
Consumers are now forever on the hunt for rich, substantial media. But how can you ensure your rich, substantial media rises to the top of that vast sea of increasingly rich, substantial media? Are there particular methodologies, software, technologies companies must turn to when it comes to elevating their content? AI? Apps? Chat bots? Any content creators or brands doing exceptional things on this front in the entertainment space?
How do content creators compete in this new landscape? The old Hollywood adage, “Nobody knows anything,” fairly applies in 2017 to the raging video content battle between Amazon Studios and Netflix.
To determine which shows are profitable and get renewed, Amazon Studios and Netflix both use a sophisticated layer of user data, algorithms, and AI. But to determine which shows get green-lit in the first place, their rules of engagement are based on the same model Hollywood has always used: the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule. The top 20% of shows which find an audience will pay for the bottom 80% of shows which flop. In fact, at the scale of Amazon and Netflix, it may even be closer to 90/10.
Question 3 — Entertainment Mayhem
The rich entertainment and media landscape, however, amplifies our feeling of ‘content fatigue,’ especially for consumers who are already feeling inundated in too much information, media and content. How can one ensure that one’s brand delivers entertainment in a contextual, timely and relevant manner without irritating consumers in the process?
In a digital ecosystem of limitless choice, superior platforms are managing content fatigue via algorithms and meticulous analysis of user data. Spotify is a shining example.
Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist is different for every single user, based on a dynamic algorithm which combines your personal listening history with that of other listeners with similar tastes. Discover Weekly has been an enormous win for the platform. People rave about it online, and I can personally attest to its accuracy. I’ve found several songs on my own Discover Weekly playlist that I’ve added to other playlists I have on heavy rotation.
Discover Weekly is evidence that Spotify’s investment in a data-driven approach to music selection not only eliminates content fatigue. It keeps Spotify subscribers listening for longer durations and more often. This translates into a stickier product, increased user loyalty, and new user growth.