JOHANNESBURG – Consumers downloading copyrighted content is, at least in part, a price the media and entertainment industry is paying for not having an agile enough business model early enough, that would give consumers what they want when they want it.
Vicki Myburgh, entertainment and media leader at PwC South Africa, said that while the internet has been blamed for piracy and has brought down the cost of distributing content to almost nothing, some consumers are prepared to pay for content if they could access good quality programs or movies they are interested in, timeously. She was speaking at PwC’s 4th annual forecast of the outlook for the South African entertainment and media industry 2013 to 2017.
“Interestingly enough when we talk to consumers, if there is a streaming model or a model that actually makes sense to them, they are prepared to pay for it and that is what the industry has got to look for – those opportunities to make money,” she says.
According to the report, which is based on qualitative and quantitative research, distributors and content owners are beginning to tackle this changing landscape of consumer demand for media content.
“A delay of several months between the release of a movie in the US and its release in South Africa, for example, creates an unmet demand, which individual consumers and criminal organisations can readily capitalise on by making that content available online or on DVD almost instantly,” the report states.
Mass media or my media
Myburgh says there has been a move away from the mass media – having one channel on television where the viewer would make an effort to be at home at 19:00 to watch a programme to “my media”.
The “my media” landscape includes the so-called “cord cutters”, people who used to have a television subscription but have decided to stop it and only buy their own content on their own directory on the internet. Cord cutters would rather buy a whole series and sit and watch a marathon for six hours on a Saturday afternoon, she says.
However the “cord nevers”, a younger generation, has never had a television subscription and in fact, probably never intends to have one.
Myburgh says another example of this “my media” is the proliferation of the second screen. Someone would watch television on one screen and have a tablet next to them that would be used to communicate with friends – recommending or sharing content.
This trend provides a lot of opportunities for business. This could include e-commerce transactions – while watching something, someone may see something they like, go online to buy it immediately.
Myburgh says this is an area that entertainment and media companies need to make sure they are getting in on.
Another opportunity for businesses is to point people to content they might be interested in. There is so much content out there that it is sometimes difficult to find what you are looking for and if a business can identify what someone is looking for and assist them in finding it, it could open doors for them, she notes.
Additionally, businesses need to understand that the middle-class is growing, which has implications for spending.
The growth in mobile internet devices is also driving growth in the industry.
A report released by the World Economic Forum earlier this year called Global Information Technology Report, suggested that a 10% surge in mobile penetration can lead to a 1% rise in low to medium income gross domestic product.
PwC estimates that the mobile internet subscriber penetration in South Africa will rise from 29% of the population this year to 62% in 2017. Globally this penetration could surge from 29% to 54% over the same period.