CES: Merging Content with New Tech in a Fragmented World

Americans look at their cell phones 8 billion times a day, says Deloitte & Touche’s Craig Wigginton, who moderated a panel on “Merging Content With New Technologies.” Wigginton recited a flurry of statistics that underline today’s extreme fragmentation, a reality that challenges all content companies: Millennials check their smartphones 74 times a day, and 87 percent of them use it while watching TV. Meanwhile, 42 percent of Americans now use streaming services and over 50 percent of millennials watch on a small screen.

Multitasking while viewing has become ubiquitous. Millennials and Gen-Xers engage in three additional activities while watching TV and 75 percent of Americans multitask during traditional TV ads. It’s not just mobile that’s taking consumers’ attention away from TV. In a single minute, there are 2.4 million searches on Google, and 2.8 million video views on YouTube.

With those pressures, content creators and distributors have to play catch-up. For Microsoft executive Thom Gruhler, that means, “the device disappears but the experience travels with you no matter where you are.” He points to the intersection of the cloud and mobile as an exciting space.

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IBM executive Melissa Lemberg agrees. “It’s more about a customer-centric standpoint — what’s the value and the value add for the customer,” she says. “Is it compelling, unique, interesting enough that someone will want to pay for it? Data is key to this conversation about content. It’s about getting the right information to the right person at the right time on the right platform.”

According to John Wiley & Sons exec Marty Schecter, today’s environment is particularly challenging for companies engaged in traditional media and getting onto new platforms. “You have to support both businesses,” he says. “Understanding how organizations can become more innovative to manage both businesses is hugely important.”

Rich Sutton, chief revenue officer with Trusted Media Brands notes that “the way you monetize mobile is changing all the time… We see there are two formats that will begin to dominate — native ad formats and video ad formats will dominate in 2016.”

“The main challenge is to develop resources to build relevant value propositions,” says Gruhler. “We’re seeing all sorts of devices and with the cloud new potentials for experiences,” he says. “Microsoft is thinking a lot on how to make this easier for content creators to think about all these different devices.”

“It’s a model of disruption,” says Lemberg. “I want to look at the evolution of personalization and what kind of insights you have to have to bring personalization to the next level.”