From competition to collaboration: a new age for entertainment and media vendors

December 7, 2018

Convergence and collaboration is a hot topic these days across the entertainment and media landscape. The traditionally high walls that separated sectors, and companies within them, are finally coming down. This sweeping and much-needed change is particularly prevalent among vendors – and for good reason.

The bar has been set high by PSB broadcasters and companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, so how can others keep up to deliver services acceptable to the end consumer? Partnerships will be key to delivering enhanced, best-of-breed technologies that ultimately help customers meet the high expectations of today’s consumers. With so many vendors serving different facets of the entertainment and media market, there is a high expectation on them to deliver their speciality flawlessly and dynamically to best optimise a customer’s end-to-end offering. With so many layers to think about – from production through to delivery – it’s in our benefit as vendors to collaborate with each other so we can each dedicate our energy to doing what we do best. If all of us do that individually, the complete end-to-end spectrum will be a masterpiece – and a force to be reckoned with.

This is not a new concept, but one that has especially taken off in the last year – resulting in a reconfiguration of the supply chain from one that is siloed to one that is much more connected. Companies once perceived as competitors or competitive are now being viewed as potential partners.

Mark Harrison of Digital Production Partnership summarised this sweeping vendor dynamics change very well: “What we are seeing is a reshaping of the market away from a broadcast industry to a media industry…the key to success is almost certainly going to lie in the relationships companies form – and their appetite for risk”.

Although identified as the top drivers of merger and acquisition pursuits by Deloitte, technology acquisition, expanding customer bases in existing markets, and adding to products or services are also key reasons responsible for fuelling this new age of vendor collaboration - the recent acquisition of Babcock Media Services by Encompass is a good example of this.

Being able to offer an end-to-end solution is a strong suit in this exciting and ever-changing industry. We find that being able to provide all the ingredients a customer requires to launch a service is playing more of a pivotal role in the entertainment and media industry. We run our own RFP processes twice a year so that our customers don’t have to – we do all the hard work so that our customers can focus on what they know best - their content.  Teaming up to provide end to end services is becoming more commonplace – one of our customers said to me once with a smile on his face, “We like Simplestream because it’s one throat to choke.”

Partnerships enables vendors to keep focusing on their own areas of expertise. Why do 5-10 things well when you can do 3-4 things exceptionally?

Yes, this industry is heavily over-saturated – but at the end of the day, new people around the world are getting Internet access for the first time, purchasing their first smartphones, and subscribing to new OTT channels among other content-firsts. To best serve these viewers requires a smart use of tools, technologies and resources – today and tomorrow – and this lies in continued vendor collaboration.