Disruptive times. Transformational times. That is the media and entertainment world we are living in. The ascension of mobile as the most important single screen has driven consumption of short-form video. And this screen is with you 24/7, especially for Millennials born and bred with smartphones in their hands.
It is about a new form of engagement – ongoing engagement using authentic video content that creates a real relationship with the user.
It is no longer just about “traditional” media companies, nor is it just about “new world” media companies, such as multi-channel networks (MCNs).
Now, it is also about brands. Major brands. Brands looking to transform themselves into full-fledged media companies. Brands that are no longer content with simply making consumer packaged goods that touch consumers only intermittently.
Red Bull is THE prime example of this. The poster child. Red Bull is no longer simply an energy drink. It is now first and foremost a lifestyle/media company (a lifestyle of adrenaline/action) that amplifies and promotes that lifestyle via brilliantly executed media (primarily video – Felix Baumgartner anyone?). Cans of caffeine are only one manifestation of that lifestyle and the primary way that lifestyle/media company monetizes. To put an exclamation mark on this point, Red Bull has established a full separate and major media operation known as Red Bull Media House. If there is any doubt about Red Bull’s lifestyle/media company-first strategy, just take a look at its website. There is not a can of Red Bull anywhere to be found! Now there is ongoing consumer engagement with compelling video content. That’s the magic!
Other major brands see this (or should at least see it) and the potentially massive opportunity to transform themselves into something much more meaningful than a company that simply sells products. To emulate Red Bull and morph into major lifestyle/media companies.
Marriott sees this and has now entered the fray. Marriott announced in late September that it is establishing its own major production studios to develop premium video content across the full spectrum of short- and long-form. Marriott hopes to become the media company and destination for the lifestyle of global travel and, in particular, travel for “the next-generation traveler.” In other words, mostly Millennials. Pepsi, too, has just made “noises” to the effect that it will enter the media company fray in order to “own” a lifestyle. And, ESPN has gone so far as to now actively court brands to develop their own video projects – entertainment first, marketing stealthy second – to be featured on its own ESPN platform (rather than on YouTube). A new major announcement in the “lifestyle media company” realm now hits virtually every week.
2014 is a transformative moment in time in the media and entertainment world. For major brands that already “own” – or at least partially “own” – a lifestyle, now is the time to expand the definition of who they are.