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Roundtable discussion: Disruption on the line

July 25, 2018 | 5 min read

With new types of content, new forms of distribution and new kinds of celebrity emerging every day, the entertainment industry has never been more in need of marketing expertise. In the first of a two part blog, The Drum Network invited a selection of experienced entertainment marketers to discuss the latest issues facing the industry and those responsible for promoting it.

Disruption on the line

From the start of our conversation, the gathered marketers were agreed that partnering entertainment brands is very different from working with other industries for one key reason: the pace.

Rob Hinchcliffe, content and community director at Th_nk explained: “The speed of the industry does not allow you to have the luxury of time. For example, I remember one TV project where we asked for details of the credits for the program, six months before the main broadcast. The production company just laughed at us. ‘We’ll do the credits about two weeks before it goes out!’ they said. That pace, the speed of production, the overnight changes, can make it difficult for agencies to sync-up on digital projects.”

Kat Bain, business director at Rapp agreed, adding that the speed of change as well as dealing with completely different objectives can make it problematic for non-entertainment brands to partner with the entertainment industry: “Traditionally brands tend to work on campaigns they are familiar with and know what media channels they are going to be using. But when you partner with an entertainment brand, they move at a completely different pace where ideas change overnight. That can be difficult for brand marketers to get their head around and to take back to their bosses, when they can’t get assets they need in time for their marketing campaign.”

Adam Rubins, chief executive of Way to Blue, pointed to structural issues as another potential issue. He said, “Despite the speed of the industry, the larger entertainment brands are often still very siloed in structure, which can be a challenge for agencies. Marketing will sit there, publicity will sit there, the media teams will sit over there and the left hand doesn’t often speak to the right hand.”

Hinchcliffe agreed: “You have to engage with senior stakeholders to help navigate your way through those different silos, otherwise you’re just going to drown.”

Rubins believes that these cumbersome organisation structures are the greatest threat to the larger entertainment brands, leaving them open to attacks from innovative entrants to the marketplace: “The disruptors are coming into the market with more of a data mind-set and some businesses want to pivot but are not quite sure how to. They need to be more planning-focused.

“If you look at the music industry, it had an opportunity to change and didn’t take it. So, it was changed by the consumer. When they were still shifting physical units, records and CDs, things were good, but that dried up rapidly thanks to digital distribution. They’ve had to completely radically change their business, so it’s more about immersive experience, concerts, merchandise, all that stuff and, eventually, they’ve done it very well.

He warned, “The world of film is at risk of the same thing.”

The second part of the roundtable discussion can be found here

Roundtable participants:

Rob Hinchcliffe, content and community director, Th_nk

Kat Bain, business director, Rapp

Adam Rubins, chief executive, Way to Blue

Caroline Buckingham, client strategy manager, Croud

This is an edited version of an article that appeared in The Drum Network Entertainment special.

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