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Fragmentation, consolidation and curation: what future awaits content streaming?

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- The panel, organised by the inaugural edition of the Monaco Streaming Film Festival and entitled “The Future of Content Streaming”, was held on 6 July

Fragmentation, consolidation and curation: what future awaits content streaming?

The last day of the Monaco Streaming Film Festival (3-6 July) was rounded off by a panel entitled “The Future of Content Streaming”. The talk was moderated by festival director Tony Davis, and saw the participation of four prestigious speakers – namely, Bruno Soria (associate director of NERA Economic Consulting), veteran film-industry executive Krysanne Katsoolis, Elizabeth Markevich (founder and CEO of Ikono TV) and Vincent Roger (co-founder of and managing partner at GEM Global Environment Media).

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Davis kicked off the panel by asking whether the growth of streaming platforms is contributing to connecting people and creating communities. All of the speakers shared their positive takes on the role of platforms, as their growth is part of a “natural process”, and they are capable of “bringing devices, minds and feelings together” and connecting people from the remotest corners of the planet.

Speaking about the future challenges, Soria said that the main obstacles are related to the growing tendency of governmental bodies to roll out specific domestic regulations in the streaming space, while it is “global by design”. Moreover, the enforced commitment to invest in local content practically translates into a tax that raises running costs. He also added, “The diversity in the rules risks fragmenting what is now a global market into a narrow, national market.”

Markevich spoke about her venture, Ikono TV, the world’s first HD fine-art television channel that broadcasts art 24/7 globally, and aggregates videos and films from the art, architecture and design community.

Later, Vincent Roger talked about GEM TV, the first TV and educational platform dedicated to positive environmental solutions, adopting a “mixed-media, video-centric approach”, which enhances each piece of content with relevant data from NGOs, universities and foundations. The platform, as explained in the initiative’s promotional video, covers nine topics: the ocean, forests, water, climate change, biodiversity, energy, food, people on Earth and sustainable living. GEM TV will be fully accessible via satellite, cable and the internet, and will be available on all devices. All video content, infographics and academic data can be accessed and shared through social-media platforms. He also touched upon his other new venture, DIEM, which aims to bring “high-value television to the luxury industry”.

Krysanne Katsoolis said that we’re now experiencing a technological shift passing through fragmentation, followed by consolidation, and then curation. She added that the other speakers’ projects are good examples of curated content and agreed that she shared with them the same “360-degree approach to content”. “We’re not only producing films; we’re also marketing the music, creating the video game, selling products to consumers. [...] It’s basically a network of shared services,” she explained. On the other hand, big streamers are still going through a “consolidation phase” but are still not paying enough attention to curation.

In the last round of contributions, the speakers talked through different possible future scenarios. Markevich said, “The future of content streaming is in partnerships,” - namely, in joining forces to produce curated, versatile content and seeing the collaboration of big industry players along with smaller entities. Taking about how the relationship between streaming and cinema is likely to develop, Roger provocatively argued, “Cinema doesn’t exist any more,” as “the average time spent watching content on a screen per day equals the average time spent in a theatre in a month”, and the value of advertising generated on YouTube and through subscription-based services is way higher than the revenue raked in by cinema tickets and popcorn. Thus, in his opinion, the future of cinema is on the platforms.

Soria pointed out that theatres should rethink their business models and value their potential as a “social experience”, instead of places for “the mere display of content”. Bringing in a parallel with what happened in the music industry and highlighting the importance of the experience, he said that once, live concert prices were lower in order to promote the purchase of more expensive albums; today, music is often offered for free or for a very low price online, and the prices to attend live concerts have risen. “I’m not saying this is going to happen in the film industry as well, but perhaps creativity will bring a future that we can’t even imagine,” he concluded.

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