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Chasing a Fast-Moving Consumer

29 Aug, 2016 By: Stephanie Prange

Increasing consumer choice is providing some of the biggest opportunities and challenges for women in home entertainment, we found in polling several of the top female executives.

That means these executives have to move fast to follow their audience.

“One of the biggest challenges is keeping pace with technology and shifting consumer behavior,” said Mary Daily, president and chief marketing officer, worldwide, for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. “Today’s consumers have less time, less money and a plethora of choices, so they demand value, quality and simplicity.”

Chasing that audience is both a challenge and an opportunity, said Janice Marinelli, president of Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution.

“By staying nimble, embracing the latest technologies and trends and evolving our businesses, we are encouraging ownership through greater flexibility, utility and value to consumers,” she said.

“We challenge ourselves every day to be nimble, creative and smart to ensure that PBS programs are available across the many choices that viewers have today in terms of how they consume content — from physical goods to digital," added Andrea Downing, co-president of PBS Distribution.

Growing the profitable transactional business is top of mind, said Lexine Wong, senior EVP of worldwide marketing for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“Keeping transactional home entertainment at the top of the consumer’s mental queue” is the biggest challenge, she said.

In the physical retail channel — the legacy segment of the transactional market — the hurdle is “shrinking physical space at retail and content competition for that space,” noted Julie Cartwright, EVP of marketing at Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Following consumers on social media is one track to gain their attention — especially with regard to millennials, “by far the biggest consumers of entertainment content,” Cartwright said.

“Millennials are the most active on social media and mobile platforms where we can engage with them on a more personal and direct level,” she said. “Many of our properties have huge fan bases and we put in a lot of effort cultivating and creating fandoms.”

The subscription VOD and over-the-top (OTT) market is a growing arena that Cinedigm executives are tackling, while maintaining a legacy business.

“Viewing consumption shifts to an SVOD experience has created the challenge of managing alternative windows while maximizing revenues and margins,” said Yolanda Macias, EVP of acquisitions, digital sales and studio relations at Cinedigm. “At the same time this shift has created the opportunity to work with new OTT entrants and global/in-territory players. Furthermore, Cinedigm capitalizes on [SVOD] with our own digital channels such as the Dove Channel, securing our own direct customer relationship.”

Meanwhile, female executives on the digital service side are looking to maintain strong, mutually beneficial relationships with media companies.

“As one of the top places where consumers go to watch trailers, YouTube plays a major role in the marketing and distribution of movies,” said Kelly Merryman, VP of global content partnerships at YouTube. “Beyond that, through our Content ID rights management system, we’re giving studios more control over film and TV content uploaded by fans. To date, YouTube has paid out over $2 billion to rights holders who have chosen to monetize these fan videos.”

Media companies are “partners” in the brave new digital world.

“With audiences fragmenting and wanting more content on-demand, across devices, our challenge is to help our partners stay on the cutting edge,” Merryman said.

Colleague Aubrey Freeborn, head of transactional content partnerships at Google Play and YouTube, said she relishes “working with great partners and internal colleagues to build the transactional business in an evolving, competitive landscape. “


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