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User-Generated Content Is Top Threat to Media and Entertainment Industry, Accenture Survey Finds

April 16, 2007

NEW YORK; April 16, 2007 –Media and entertainment executives see the growing ability and eagerness of individuals to create their own content as one of the biggest threats to their business, according to results of a survey released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

In its annual survey of senior executives in the media and entertainment industry, Accenture examined the growth strategies of companies across the landscape of advertising, film, music, publishing, radio, the Internet, videogames and television.

More than half (57 percent) of the respondents identified the rapid growth of user-generated content — which includes amateur digital videos, podcasts, mobile phone photography, wikis and social-media blogs — as one of the top three challenges they face today.  In addition, more than two-thirds (70 percent) of respondents said they believe that social media, one of the largest segments of user-generated content, will continue to grow, compared with only 3 percent of respondents who said they view social media as a fad.

“This is just the beginning for a rapidly changing landscape where the media content environment grows more fractious and the user gains more control and power,” said Gavin Mann, digital media lead for Accenture’s Media & Entertainment practice.  “Traditional, established content providers will have to adapt and develop new business and monetization models in order to keep revenue streams flowing. The key to success will be identifying new forms of content that can complement their traditional strengths.”

The new landscape offers opportunities as well as challenges, according to the study, as two-thirds (68 percent) of the respondents said they believe that within three years their businesses will be making money on user-generated content.  Sixty-two percent said they believe their companies will make money through advertising and sponsorships of social media.  Other sources of profits cited were subscriptions (21 percent) and pay-per-play offerings (18 percent).  However, a quarter (24 percent) of respondents said they do not yet know how their businesses will profit from user-generated content. 

The study included interviews with industry giants like Roger Faxon, chief executive of EMI Music Publishing; Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS; Doug Neil, senior vice president of digital marketing for Universal Studios; and Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group PLC.

Survey participant Sir Martin Sorrell said technological change and the consolidation of digital and non-digital business models will have a dramatic impact on the media and entertainment industry over the next five years. "The winners will be those who can probe and analyze the changes and manage and merge on-line and the off-line most successfully," the WPP chief executive affirmed.

Universal Studios’ Doug Neil, senior vice president Digital Marketing: “Digital distribution of content will be increasingly important in three to five years with the convergence of computers, TV and home entertainment options,” he said. “To succeed in this environment, you need to innovate and anticipate the needs of the consumer, be willing to take risks and try new things.” 

Faxon, of EMI Music Publishing, said the music industry is moving “from a sales model to a consumer consumption model or participation model, where its economics are predicated on the use patterns of consumers as opposed to the purchase patterns.  In essence the commercial roles of music companies will be more as facilitators for bringing music and the rights that support them in to the market place, as opposed to being originators of the content itself.”

Broadcasters surveyed by Accenture also predicted greater choice for consumers. Technology will continue to alter the distribution landscape, allowing people to access content on their own schedule, wherever they are, in all kinds of ways,” said CBS’s Moonves.  “Current technologically driven distribution channels will expand and new ones will open. But without compelling content, every new platform is an empty shell.  Companies that can combine world-class content with powerful national and local distribution will have the competitive advantage.”

The executives surveyed in 2007 showed greater optimism about content driving their revenues than those surveyed last year, with 32 percent of respondents in this year’s survey stating that content will drive their revenues, compared with only 21 percent of respondents in last year’s survey.

Asked to identify which type of content offers the highest growth potential for their industry over the next five years, the greatest number of respondents — 53 percent — cited short-form video, followed by videogames (13 percent), full-length film (11 percent) music, (11 percent), consumer publishing (9 percent) and business publishing (4 percent).

Methodology

As part of an annual study to examine the growth strategies of companies in the media and entertainment industry, Accenture surveyed 110 senior executives at advertising, film, music, publishing, radio, Internet, videogame and television companies in North America and Europe.  Approximately 60 percent of the respondents were from North America (the United States [and Canada]), with the remaining 40 percent from Europe (Austria, Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom).  The survey was fielded for Accenture in North America and Europe by The BPRI Group during the first quarter of 2007. 

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company.  Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.  With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance.  With more than 152,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$16.65 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2006.  Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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