Sara Bordo Sees Shakeout in Entertainment Markets

Universal Pictures’ Fast Five will open in theaters on April 29. But most know that the film has already taken the media evolution to the next step toward digital convergence that is poised to shuffle the deck for market leaders.

By joining hands with entertainment technology company NowLive, the studio streamed the world premiere of the movie live across the web, mobile and iOS devices, as well as in 10 theaters across the United States.

Sara Bordo, president and co-founder of NowLive, believes we are already experiencing a major tech-led shakeout in the global markets. In an exclusive interview with Rakesh Raman, managing editor, Raman Media Network, Sara explains how new media (including social media) is shaping up to be the next big frontier in the entertainment marketplace.

Here it goes:

Do you think the market is ripe enough to consume entertainment content through digital media (including social media) channels? If yes, can we quantify the demand?

It’s become easier than ever before to reach a global audience with the technological advancements made. However, advances in technology and accessibility have not always equaled the highest possible quality. Today, quality no longer needs to take a back seat to technology. As fans of entertainment look for multiple ways to consume it (i.e. Facebook or Twitter from their laptop or mobile, local theater, HDTV’s at home), pushing content to where they already consume rather than pulling them to one destination is the key for digital content companies to win.

What about technology? Do we have sufficiently advanced tech systems (frontend as well as backend) and networks to ensure smooth delivery of bandwidth-hungry multimedia content?

While I cannot speak for other live streaming solutions, harnessing technology for the best experience is something NowLive has always been dedicated to. Our own player is completely programmable by our production staff and can be served from anywhere on the web with custom programming, be it in a rich media ad unit or iframed into a Facebook fan page. Featuring multi-camera capabilities, full-screen, dim-the-lights, sharing, ability to run both on-demand video and live-streaming feeds, and multiple auto-detected bit-rates to keep our video at the highest quality, the player is a rich and unique interface for viewing our streams.

How does it help entertainment content companies to use new media simultaneously with old media to promote their products like films?

Digital marketing has really redefined what the original Marketing Mix term was meant to describe. An awareness building campaign can have the power, if done correctly, to ignite wildfire across multiple platforms. The digital teams at studios are rapidly becoming the anchor leg of the entire marketing team, especially with millennial-targeted films.

Is there any viable business model for content production and distribution companies that are using Internet channels to deliver content because most Web users expect free service?

We’re betting on it. It all comes down to how creatively and relevantly you monetize your service, technology and experience.

What kind of shakeout is expected in the global entertainment markets with the constant proliferation of digital platforms?

As software and hardware technologies for consuming content become easier to use and with much higher quality, we are already experiencing a major shakeout. We’re in the middle of it right now. Consumers – especially the younger ones – are embracing digital platforms at increasingly faster rates. As a digital media company, we have to be constantly aware of new innovations or someone else will take advantage of a new development as early as possible. We’ve seen this happen to many major companies in the past few years alone. This may sound like buzz-speak, but constant change really is the new normal, and you have to embrace that in order to survive in our space.

In future, will digital media ring death knell for traditional content consumption modes through, say, theaters or TV?

Content consumption has always changed with technology. Through print media, radio, TV, movie theaters and now digital, consumers use whatever platform is most enjoyable and convenient to them. Media companies seem slow to respond but in reality they are moving pretty quickly. Think about the difference between now and five years ago. For example, today almost every media company is highly focused on mobile, and advertisers are increasing their spends in that space every year. It’s our job to be at the forefront of this change, so that our partners can leverage our knowledge and tools to get their content in front of the audience in the best, most widely accessible way possible.

An advertising and marketing connoisseur, Sara Bordo (pictured above) has handled GRAMMY Awards and eBay Strategic Partnerships businesses. As executive director of the Interactive Media team at Paramount Pictures, she created online programs with partners including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, XBOX and PlayStation. She has also spearheaded the Digital Marketing activities at MGM Studios.

Currently Sara is president and co-founder of NowLive, a one-stop live event production company headquartered in Los Angeles.

Most recently, she was asked to be a contributor to The White House Council for Women and Girls.

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