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Future of global media industry lies in open environment: IBM report

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MUMBAI: Media companies will survive or fail in 2010 based not just on content but also on creative intelligence they are able to gather about their customers, the markets which they serve and the value of their digital assets.

In the near future the global media majors will have to move towards a more open environment as the media landscape becomes increasingly digital. Computer major IBM has released a report Media & Entertainment 2010.

By 2010 to continue remaining healthy media companies will have to form systems by which consumers are allowed 24x7 access to protected media content for variable fees. IBM has stated that it foresees a continuing onslaught of new kinds of content, media forms and devices.

Successful media companies will vie for attention by allowing business partners, customers and consumers more freedom to manage their own media and entertainment experiences.

To survive media companies must also be able to negotiate rapid shifts in markets, economic climates and technology innovations. As they go along companies will also need to create new product windows and business models.

The report has noted that between now and 2010 digital technologies will become more powerful and affordable at every user level, in digital networks and in product offerings. More and more consumers will be able to compile, programme, edit, create and share content. As a result, they will gain more control and become more immersed in media experiences.

The report states, "We foresee growing participation in media experiences well beyond traditional media, in three additional sectors. We have labelled them multi-media, big media and pervasive media. Successful companies, in transforming their business models to serve these four distinct channels and behaviours, will continue to reposition and restructure.

"They will focus on the core components that create value for their customers and consumers, divest unneeded properties, improve the monetisation of assets and importantly, join with other players to achieve scale, lower costs and offer value-added products and services. We call this business model the open media company of the future."

IBM had ten recommendations for players evolving toward becoming the open media company of the future. The first is creating or converting content to digital formats. The report noted that digital management capabilities would become a core competency and differentiator.

Consumers would become more knowledgeable. This means more pressure on the competing content providers to know more about the media habits of individuals as well as the larger segments.

Among other things the media business in the future will leverage advances in technology to provide customers and consumers a more involved experience with the media firm.

Changing business model for music, movies: As far as the music industry is concerned the forecast for 2010 is that with the onset of the digital environment some independent artists and producers will offer all their music, short videos and movies for free. They will make money instead from tie-ins, product placements, Webcast concerts and events with pop stars and fan merchandise.

Successful companies will allow customers to purchase and download the rights to a book and have it configured for one or more types of media devices, or delivered in the traditional hard or soft cover within 24 hours. They will also be able to order the film of the book, the soundtrack or only one song from an album, the liner notes or a single quotation which they could then use in a variety of formats. The format could be a term paper, a wall poster etc.

Changes in financial systems: In 2010 the online accounting systems of the surviving media companies will automatically invoice the huge data feeds of digital content ordered by network and cable broadcasters from distributors and streamline payments, as well. Those millions of micropayments aggregate to a sizeable revenue stream from the sale of new or archived digital content, much of which never has to travel to a theater, retail store or TV station. It is delivered online.

In an era of pervasive media users from around the globe will be confidentially tracked for their opinions, preferences and tastes in media and entertainment. Actively or passively they will help shape the content they experience as well as how and when they want it.

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