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CES Panel: Content Owners Need to be Data Experts

7 Jan, 2016 By: Chris Tribbey

Epix president & CEO Mark Greenberg (Reuters stock photo)

LAS VEGAS — Mark Greenberg, president and CEO of Epix, remembers the simpler times, when there was one way to get TV, a dozen channels to choose from, and HBO was the only thing around without ads.

The good old days are long gone, and the content industry is still trying to adjust, he said, speaking at a digital content panel during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

“What’s happening is ad-supported networks are just being dropped, especially by millennials,” Greenberg said. “Because it isn’t just 200 channels available, it’s 2,000, 20,000. There’s an insatiable appetite for content, and I don’t give a damn how we get it to them. You’re seeing a sea change with how people get their information, and our jobs are how to get content to consumers in a way that’s meaningful.”

Steve Canepa, GM of global media and entertainment for IBM, said part of the challenge the industry is facing is that old Hollywood hasn’t adjusted to the onslaught of consumer data that has recently become available. Studios are so focused on the content, they still haven’t fully embraced the consumer, he added.

“With all these new devices and services, the only thing that hasn’t changed is the amount of time we have to consume,” he said. “Consumers pick and choose what they consume and traditional media companies don’t have data at the center of what they do, while the disruptors — the Facebooks and the Googles — do.”

For Jason Jercinovic, president of Havas Worldwide, said pinning down what consumers want is more important that ever before because not only is there so much out there that can divert their attention, there’s also no such thing as brand loyalty anymore.

“We’re seeing a significant shift away from any loyalty because consumers don’t really care about your brand,” he said.

For Brandon Berger, chief digital officer for Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, the most important piece of today’s digital content puzzle is for content owners to do what they’ve been doing since TV and movies first existed: Entertain, and they will come.

“The power of storytelling is so much more important than before,” he said. “We’re no longer competing for audiences, we’re competing for attention.”

That got an affirmative from David Freeman, co-head of digital talent and packaging for Creative Artists Agency: “Storytelling is at the heart of our equity.”

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