Some you win, some you lose
If AT&T boss Randall Stephenson's intention was to send a wake-up call, he probably succeeded. "I have been involved in many different industries, but not many that are as reluctant to change as the media industry," said the CEO of the world's largest telecommunications and media group in an interview shortly after his acquisition of Time Warner last summer. "When it comes to changing business models and distribution channels, it's a very slow-moving industry. When you talk about change, walls go up."
Since then, HBO and Warner Bros. — now part of Stephenson's empire — have had time to adapt to a faster pace. ‘More hours a day’ of premium content is what AT&T wants and needs out of its programming entities. All the resources are to be directed towards the upcoming global VOD (video on demand) service. The game is going to be similar to the one that Disney is playing. With an attractive collection of Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar content, Disney+ will launch its race for subscribers in November in the US and next spring in Europe.
What is true for Warner and Disney also applies — on a more regional level — to countless legacy players in the television industry: if you want to be considered future-proof in 2019, you have to translate TV into ‘total video’ and go OTT (over the top) or DTC (direct to consumer). Faced with the massive success of global streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, and declining linear consumption, more and more content providers are turning to a strategy that focuses on a direct relationship with consumers, without intermediaries such as cable or satellite. As a result of this comprehensive transformation, more TV and video content than ever before is available on more platforms and apps than ever before and the business model is increasingly shifting from wholesale to retail.
• Read the full article in the Lions Daily News Issue One, out now online and in print throughout the city of Cannes.