Accenture: Biggest Media Threat is Consumer‐Generated

I’ve been going over Accenture’s new Global Content Study 2007, and there’s some pretty good stuff here. I recommend you download the thing and have your own lookie‐loo.

Accenture interviewed more than 100 leaders and decision‐makers in the media and entertainment sectors…to gauge their views of where the greatest opportunities and challenges will come over the next five years. The study, called Beyond the Hype: How New Content and Technology are Redefining the Future of Media, provides, among others, these major findings:

  • 62% of executives look to “new platforms as being the most important key to growth…
  • 53% of executives surveyed indicated that “short form content” offered the largest opportunity for “new content”…
  • Asked what they believed was a top threat to the business, over half of the executives (57%) identified “consumer‐based competition” or “user‐generated” content…
  • Critically important is the need for digital readiness and a future technology road map…

I’m especially impressed that these “leaders” view “consumer‐based competition” as a threat, because that’s exactly what they need to be considering. Accenture is a big name in the business consulting world, and it’s interesting to see them picking up on things that we’ve been talking about here for years.

Still, this report also reveals some problems on the road to the future. These are found in quotes from various participants. While most of the quotes used are spot‐on, a couple left me gasping.

“We will look to the user side and learn from the YouTubes and the MySpaces who are training consumers in media usage. We will look at their experience and leverage it.” Executive, Reed Publishing

This kind of thinking always amuses me. “Leverage” is business‐speak for borrowing (taking) a little to make a lot. It’s condescending, to say the least, and I would argue that the “training” of consumers that’s taking place on these sites can’t be leveraged in any way that supports a mass marketing paradigm. Here’s another gem:

“One of the things I think amateur user‐generated content is most likely to do is to generate new respect for the outstanding creative professionals in our industry, who can tell a truly great story.” Henry Schleiff, CEO, Hallmark Channel

Here, Henry is telling us that great content will glow amidst all the crap that is user‐generated content, and I have mixed feelings about that. Good storytelling always rises to the top, but that presumes certain subjective standards in what is or isn’t good. I mean, I didn’t like what we used to call the “MTV style” of video, where the camera moves around a lot. That’s pretty much a standard these days, so who’s to say that one set of standards is “better” than another?

Yes, we are going through tremendous change, and I agree with Accenture’s conclusion that the changes confronting us today are “akin to the changes witnessed with the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press in 1450 or Marconi’s transatlantic broadcast in 1902.” The media powers in those days had similar reactions, and while we’re all out here trying to project where things are going, the truth is nobody really knows.

But isn’t that what makes it exciting?


  1. http://Jason%20Leary says

    The MTV generation, tacky style of having the camera jump from one image to another is NOT a standard, it is a LACK of standards . Only someone who supports the goofy, evil, sissy‐headed ideology of postmodernism (sell‐out thinking, that is) would respect the crass, completely wrong opinion of those that support the trendy, MTV style .

    The MTV Generation style exemplifies the ugly, vapid ethos of postmodernism– where nothing at all is savored /where people go fast talking and fast living from one spectacle to another .

    Posting the statement as you did that claims , “so whose to say one set of standards is ‘better’ than another” —ain’t that typical relativist , pod people talk . I’m trying to think how you postmodernists could be any more trite, cliché, banal, mundane in thinking , and I just ain’t imagining how it could be any worse .

    Apparently pomos like to think AS IF mediocrity were the final fronteir. Those who support postmodernist ANTI‐philosophy want to hoist their plastic wagons to a starbucks and plant their flags on mount mediocrity .

    Postmodernism —the ideology of the yuppies .

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jason, but anytime someone interchanges postmodernism with relativism, I know that the source of their reasoning is corrupted. They are not the same thing whatsoever, and those who argue they are use the comparison not only to end the debate but also to shut their own minds. Contempt prior to investigation is a bar to all progress.

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