Technology Record - Issue 27: Winter 2022

136 “ There’s been an explosion in the amount of content as the production process has been democratised” LEONARD ARUL For the media industry, the past decade has been a period of significant disruption and change. As new technology has opened new ways of consuming content, media organisations have been challenged to keep up with the pace of innovation and the relentless demand for content. The barrier to entry into the industry has also been significantly lowered for new players, particularly in the movie-making sector. As Leonard Arul, principal program manager at Microsoft, explains, the transition in technology has had a profound impact. “If we look back 15 years in the movie-making industry, there was very little being done digitally,” he says. “Yet fast forward to today, and everything is digital, both in the production and consumption of video content. There’s been an explosion in the amount of content as the production process has been democratised.” The evolution of the movie-making process matches the developments in broadcast television, which shifted towards digital processes in previous decades. However, both have experienced a significant change in the way their content is consumed as streaming platforms have exploded in number and popularity. This has resulted in the demand for more content than ever before as they compete to deliver offerings that draw in a diverse set of viewers. Scott Davis, broadcast media architect at Microsoft, argues that while the proliferation of different platforms has transformed the way in which content is consumed, it has exacerbated the struggle for consumers in finding the content they want, when they want it. “Instead of looking through cable TV channels, they’re looking through applications,” says Davis. “However, the independence of these platforms has really frustrated the marketplace, as there’s no easy way to search all the content you have access to. So instead, they’re turning back to packages which bundle all these services into a single box.” According to Davis and Arul, the essential next step will therefore be in changing the way consumers are able to interact with content. Instead of expecting consumers to discover content and associated products themselves, a more personalised experience can be developed that directs them to those products based on their changing habits and preferences. “The most interesting changes will be in the relationship with the consumer,” says Davis. “Once you’ve aggregated enough content to build an entire ecosystem, there’s the potential to create an experience in which your content can follow you throughout your life to deliver a personalised experience. With access to the data on everything I’m watching, they can direct me to other products in a way that could never happen in the past.” Consumers of media content are looking for ways to navigate the dizzying array of choice now available to them. Microsoft’s Leonard Arul and Scott Davis discuss the potential of personalised services to improve experiences and revenue BY A L E X SM I TH F E ATUR E A personal revolution