Building Back Better: An Action Plan for the Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry
While media consumption has accelerated during the pandemic, the main currency used for media monetization – advertising spend – has been pulled back across many channels, due to both economic and social concerns. Recently, many brands have halted their spending on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. While the advertising revenue of such platforms is driven largely by small and medium enterprises, events of late may signal a larger shift in focus to the role that one’s business decisions play in driving societal change. For media companies with significant reach and influence over consumers, this responsibility is even more crucial. We assessed how media organizations responded to COVID-19 and addressed their societal responsibility. In this second paper, we focus on the near-term and medium-term actions that can be taken to improve the financial viability, resilience and sustainability of the industry. We focus on four key areas: Creating a stronger media ecosystem across content creation, distribution and consumption innovation. We identified five key areas to drive a stronger media ecosystem: enhanced trust and transparency, better alignment of value with investments, media pluralism, a global community of creators and viewers, and renewed consumer focus. We examined the demonetization of harmful content through initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, in partnership with the Forum’s “Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture” platform. Accelerating digital transformation to drive innovation. Digital distribution is no longer a choice – companies must decide whether to build, buy or partner to increase their digital capabilities.–New digital production methods have created lower-cost and more authentic content – companies should consider how they adopt end-to-end cloud production tools to capture, edit, finalize and distribute content in a single workflow from start to finish. Notable innovation in the use of data-driven tools for revenue projections, content curation and moderation, and user experience will present new decisions for businesses. With a significant increase in cyber threats during the COVID era, businesses need to take practical steps to increase their cyber resilience. Adapting the workforce and ways of working to support the next phase of industry growth. Work has transitioned to home-office settings with varying degrees of effectiveness – businesses should consider what capabilities are needed to operate in a hybrid work model in the future. Worker profiles in demand will be in big data, analytics and revenue-related functions, as well as in security and data privacy, but the industry is unlikely to go back to pre-COVID employment levels. With heavy reliance on freelance and contract work, there is an opportunity to revisit the industry’s duty of care to its workers and reset on its representation of minorities. In addition, employers will need to find new ways to protect employees’ safety and mental health. Supporting responsible business through global sustainable development goals (SDGs) –The urgency to act as responsible media businesses has never been higher, with three-quarters of media chief executive officers recognizing the critical role1 of businesses in society and three out of five consumers claiming to avoid brands that do not demonstrate progress against the goals affecting our society and planet. Businesses should evaluate their impact in terms of environmental and social considerations and reset their activities in line with the SDGs. Responsible leadership is a critical enabler of sustainable governance. Top leaders exhibit five elements of responsible leadership: 1) stakeholder inclusion; 2) emotion and intuition; 3) mission and purpose; 4) technology and innovation; and 5) intellect and insight. At the end of this paper, we identify actions that companies can take immediately, such as reviewing their media investment strategies, employing new brand safety tools, implementing new ways to create an engaged workforce and many others. A number of the companies engaged for this report have already committed to such actions, and we encourage other companies for which these steps are relevant to carry them out within their own businesses. In the final paper of this series, we will highlight the lasting industry shifts that will result from the current crisis and the long-term plans that various parts of the media ecosystem should consider when developing their strategies.
ORBIS is powered by ESPAS, the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, a unique inter-institutional project aimed at strengthening the EU's efforts in the crucial area of forward planning. ESPAS brings together the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Secretariat General of the Council of the European Union and the European External Action Service to strengthen the Union's collective administrative capacity to identify and analyse the key trends and challenges, and the resulting policy choices, which are likely to confront Europe and the wider world in the decades ahead.