The multi-screen content opportunity; where the money’s at in the mobile economy

“Never underestimate the consumers need for information and entertainment” said one speaker recently concluded East Africa Com conference. Technology’s continuous evolution opens up more avenues for revenue generation, either by way of new market access, lower costs of production, efficient distribution and allowing for business model innovation as new market conditions are created.

One of the industries whose time is right for disruption is that of broadcast; with the costs of internet access having dropped, mobile data going mainstream and a plethora of tools that empower everyone to be a content creator.

The five players who are poised to benefit greatly in this evolving space are traditional players in the media space – think terrestrial tv and radio station, mobile network operators, independent content producers, aggregators who may also double up as platform providers and finally consumer brands looking at more effective and directly measurable engagement experiences.

However, there are a number of challenges that stand in the way of opportunity realization. For traditional players in the broadcast space, lack of agility and technical capabilities could see them loose mind share to independents who will take to digital distribution as their first option. Mobile network operators on the other hand are hesitant to move forward with differentiated business models that would support consumption on multiple screens – with the third and fourth screen being predominantly mobile. With unlimited data bundles on mobile seemingly on their death beds the world over, it remains to be seen just how the operators will adapt to this opportunity. Content producers are also faced with the challenge of continuously creating compelling content that users will pay for, or at least; view in decent numbers to make alternative revenue options such as advertising viable. Platform providers have to think through setting up content delivery networks, bandwidth and providing guaranteed up-times; a capital and technology intensive endeavor.

The solution to these challenges lies in partnerships, as all these players have something to offer. I am aware that content producers tuned into the opportunity and have already started on ambitious content aggregation. Platform providers with requisite expertise are also on the ground exploring synergies. Unfortunately, traditional players in broadcast, by all indications will play catch up due to lack of in-house innovation. The mobile network operators are the final piece, having invested deeply in infrastructure and connectivity while having access to a demanding base of users looking for increased mobile utility.

The time for truly converged multi-screen experiences is here.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.

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