When is a brand a media brand?

You know time’s are a’changing when…media owners start loyalty programmes in a bid to retain their audiences. That is exactly what Sky TV have recently done in the UK. With the proliferation of content comes the proliferation of audiences and in a first for the broadcast media world, Sky are essentially saying: our content alone is not enough to retain audiences.

Media owners mimic brands
As anyone who follows the ever-changing media landscape knows, the large TV audiences of old are spread very thinly nowadays across the plethora of digital video channels & platforms. And this move by Sky is a thinly-veiled attempt to arrest their 14% YOY increase in customer churn, as viewers move to alternatives like Amazon & Netflix for their television. They are mimicking the tactics of loyalty-driven categories like airlines and telco’s with perks like queue-jumping, free data, free movies and equipment upgrades.

Brands mimic media owners
Interestingly, what this move also represents is the growing convergence between media & non-media businesses. As content marketing’s growth has shown, brands are increasingly becoming story-tellers and publishers in order to attract audiences and convert them into customers. In turn, brands are looking to monetise those audiences not just to fund the increased costs of producing content, but to generate new, highly profitable revenue streams. In effect, transforming brands into media owners.

If there is one thing powerful brands have already, it’s loyal customers, so why shouldn’t they become media owners too? Airlines, retailers & telco’s have created profitable media businesses for decades now and there is no reason why businesses in other categories can’t follow suit. If the content is valued by an audience and the commercial partner is adding value to their customers, then BINGO, you are a media owner!

So Sky can throw their customers as many trinkets as they like, but ultimately if you don’t have the product, people aren’t going to stay for the trinkets. If brand owners have a sizeable, loyal customer base who keep returning because you have a good product/service, then they are modern-day media owners in the making.

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