Media 2o – an exciting new digital marketing agency working out Vancouver’s edgy rail town district – received a Canadian Screen Awards nomination for its work on their GROW INC video for Telus Optic Local. Using a lot of creativity, leading edge skills in digital editing techniques, along with proprietary tools for ‘filming’ on location, the company was able to create an award-winning documentary at a fraction of the cost required to use conventional technologies.
A week earlier the Kamloops Daily News announced that it was ceasing publication, after serving the local community for more some 83 years.
The juxtaposition of these 2 events, seems to point to the fact that we are near the beginning of a seismic shift in the economics of content.
For the media, publishing and entertainment industries, the landscape is shifting quickly. What’s more the pace of change is accelerating. The major newspapers are restructuring. A week ago both the Globe and Mail and the National Post – Canada’s 2 leading national newspapers – announced staffing cutbacks. And yesterday we learned that Rogers Communications – one of the country’s largest cable TV providers has invested about $100 million in accumulating content in a bid to compete with Netflix.
Rogers has stated publicly in the past that it takes so-called “cord cutting” seriously. Cord cutting is when consumers stop paying for a traditional television plan and instead make do with streamed content, get into free over-the-air signals, or watch DVDs and Blu-rays.
“We’re kind of in the beginning of what we think is a major transformational stage in the TV world,” said David Purdy, senior vice president of content for Rogers Communications, in an interview with The Canadian Press last June, “so we have a ton of questions and we’re doing a lot of research these days.”
In November, the Convergence Consulting Group estimated about 400,000 Canadian TV subscribers out of 11.8 million have cut the cord since 2011, which is about 3.5 per cent of the market.
Other industry buzzwords are “cord shavers,” referring to consumers who have cut back on their TV packages because they’re spending a lot of time streaming digital content, and “cord nevers,” who are typically younger consumers who have never paid for a TV plan and perhaps never will.
The big cable companies are starting to lose out to content aggregators and individual producers that deliver content to subscribers for a fee, in exchange for advertising or as a labour of love with funding from crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter™ or Indiegogo™. Exactly how content should be packaged and how providers should monetize their work isn’t clear, but that doesn’t stop brash new startups from contInuing to innovate.
Not only legacy industries that are forced to adapt though. Even Apple’s iTunes is being forced to reassess after its first ever year-over-year decline in revenues. They are beginning to look oh so 20th century in the face of all this turmoil.