Disruption: Entertaining a Commotion?
Michela Stribling 270006VAX7 firstname.lastname@example.org |
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Michela Stribling, Program Director, Social Business, IBM
Disruption. It seems like everywhere I look, someone is talking about disruption. Something that used to be considered unwanted—an interruption, a commotion—is now precisely what the consumer is responding to. So, what is one to do? Invite a state of disorder? Create the unexpected? It’s an interesting and exciting challenge for business leaders across all industries.
James McQuivey, one of Forrester’s most insightful and judicious analysts, has just published a book that persuasively argues digital disruption is busting out all over the place. McQuivey got me thinking about the way many people watch television or movies today.
Anatomy of Disruption
When I was a kid, watching TV was largely considered a passive experience—diverting and entertaining but probably not the best use of your time. I don’t think anyone could make the same claim with much credibility today thanks to the growing trend of watching TV while using a second device (usually a phone or a tablet) to discuss the show on social networks. Disruption #1: viewers have options. We’re not stuck watching what the family is watching in the living room. We can choose what we want to watch, on what device, and the location that suits us best.
But we’re not just consuming shows, we’re commenting on them, dissecting plot lines, and forming communities around beloved characters or hated villains, and even posting our own parodies of favorite bits and pieces. Live tweeting what we like, who we like, how we feel about it, in the context of a show happens all over the world, uniting people who may otherwise have little in common. Disruption #2: the fan bullhorn. People have always had opinions, but today they can quickly broadcast them. At scale. With reach comes tremendous power, which means that understanding, managing, and nurturing relationships directly with the fans is more important than ever.
Entertaining a Commotion
The networks (broadcast and social), studios, advertisers, and market research companies alike are paying attention, recognizing that there’s a new game afoot. “The medium is the message,” as Marshall McLuhan famously asserted, and the message in this case comes down to the democratizing effect of digital tools. Social networks are breaking down the traditional barriers between actors and their fans. Social Savvy brands in the entertainment biz are capitalizing on this, big time, right alongside their fans.
It’s up to the entertainment industry to harness fan activism and invite the outside influence in: using collaboration tools to co-source or crowdsource new ideas (for character development, for new shows, or even for ancillary products and services), building communities of influence with power fans and emerging thought leaders, launching engagement centers to measure fan sentiment and identify new trends in real time.
As McQuivey states in his book, digital disruption is an issue worthy of C-level consideration. You can bet the bank (and the movie studio) on that.