Listen to those little voices

My two daughters are my best teachers and personal diviners pointing me to what could be next. They do this, as all kids do, by just being themselves and leaving it to us to learn the lessons they impart, says Shad Hashmi, vice-president, digital development, global markets and operation, BBC Worldwide Asia.
Shad Hashmi, who is also an APB panellist, kindly shares his thoughts on listening to little voices …

Every afternoon, my three-year-old comes home from school and asks her older sister to call me and then, innocently and persistently asks me “Can me (sic) watch one episode pleeeaase?”

This fills me with a warm glow because (A) they still call their dad; and (B) there is hope for my industry yet.

While I admit that there is no scientific rigour in my interpretation, there is definitely a deeper message to divine from ‘can me (sic) watch one episode please?’. With infinite content choices, there is but one imperative driving my three year-old daughter: to watch an episode. There is no loyalty of content destination. She is perfectly happy (even at home) watching on the big screen, a tablet or a handphone and, she has formed this viewing location disassociation at the age of three.

There is no link between her choice of content, viewing habits and patterns (location, time or device) and I posit that this generation will grow up consuming content wherever they want, whenever they can and however they can find it.

After the emotional warmth of the daily call fades, cold realisation sets in — kids do not care when and where they consume content, but they do care what they want to watch — good news for us content producers. Linear is an unfathomable concept in her on-demand existence, but she has an unwavering loyalty to her favourite TV shows — Hey Duggee, in this case.

Extrapolating from my daughter, children have thrown down the gauntlet. The obvious challenge — make compelling content but equally important is to ensure that the content is everywhere; the tree falling in the forest analogy applied to content.

The business goal, beyond linear TV, is that the content has to be available on every device and across different platforms — this means that where a content producer has invested in building a subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) platform, they have to be available for a wide range of devices and specifications. Either that or, the bold decision has to be made to license the content to an omni-present platform provider.

Once that ‘everywhere’ decision is out of the way, the next hurdle rears its ugly head: content discovery. We must be able to viscerally connect to this audience across a multitude of communication channels and get them to respond to our message of: “Hey, watch this HERE!”

Even if you get consumer consent (privacy issue), how do you correctly identify them as they switch from one content location to another? Without being able to tell who they are, you cannot effectively tailor a message that resonates. This, again, means being adaptable to an ever-changing communication landscape and being able to gather expertise at pace, with new technology.

Agility, mastery and pace will be our new corporate DNA. Children, unlike adults, do not struggle with these issues. They learn fast and change even faster. Surely, the answer to our challenges lies in learning from our best teachers.

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