Digital Media's Biggest Opportunity: Convenience Consumption

Syndication and Multi-Platform Content Mastered, It's Time to Focus on Making Consumers' Life Easier

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There seemed to be no reason for Apple to launch a smaller version of the popular iPad after its enormously successful launch. But the secret sauce of Apple's products has always been to create convenience for consumers. The company soon realized that iPad had become an indispensable device in the consumer's bedroom right before we fall asleep. Research on second-screen viewing for the 2012 London Summer Olympics, for example, showed that people were watching in the bedroom with iPad. But the original device was too big and clumsy to hold comfortably in bed. A smaller version was a welcome addition.

This is the principle of convenience consumption, and it has guided every successful brand from Apple to Google and Hulu. It's about making people's lives more convenient.

To a certain extent, building an Apple-like online experience is more complex than packaged goods, a combination of arts and science. It starts with mining the right metadata and building the right taxonomy in CMS. The next step is consumer-facing presentation -- landing-page design. Each step is data-driven. Success is tied to how convenient it is for the consumer to navigate and consume content.

When was launched in March 2008, the entertainment industry considered it just another distribution venue. But Hulu turned into a bigger opportunity and threat than people originally thought. They have since been trying to emulate the look and feel of, but with little success. When viewers come to, they are greeted with concierge-like services, with superior browsing design, search capability and above all -- the video player. Hulu's founder, Jason Kilar, has an approach to product design that is parallel to that of Steve Jobs. Having no entertainment background somehow has allowed Kilar to focus on creating an environment built on convenience consumption and long-term growth.

Another example is Netflix. While cable carriers and content providers continue their profit-driven annual bickering, the one-time Wall Street punching bag quietly but surely is making progress in the battle of convenience consumption. Its online streaming quality continues to awe consumers in all platforms. Just pick a Roku player at BestBuy and you will realize how easily consumers can cut the cable cord.

The entertainment industry has perfected art of syndication and content being multiplatform. But to maximize every touch point of the eco-system, networks need to better understand the concept and execution of convenience consumption. Digital transformation has entered a new phase, from a platform digitalization to convenience consumption.

Zuobin He is former director of digital media analytics at WWE. He can be reached at
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