Evan Shapiro urges TV industry to wake up to the creator economy in MIPTV keynote

by | Apr 18, 2023 | News

TV industry thought leader Evan Shapiro, professor of television at New York University, used MIPTV in Cannes to warn media companies against thinking in “silos”. During a keynote speech to delegates, he said content owners need to stop thinking about the “creator economy” and “gatekeeper economy” as distinct from each other.

Emphasising the importance of fan-powered communities in unlocking commercial revenues, Shapiro said: “Content owners and creators leave tremendous value on the table if they are not thinking about all media platforms. The TV industry has to reshape its mindset completely when it comes to the content economy and content distribution.”

Shapiro’s core advice is that media companies need to think more like audiences, which don’t have any interest in the artificial barriers that media companies erect between types of services. “Streaming and linear, social and TV, pay and free are all colliding in the minds of consumers on a day to day basis,” he observed.

In Shapiro’s worldview, there is no commercial logic for the separation of services at leading players like Amazon – which has consumer touch points ranging from Amazon Prime and Freevee to Twitch. He makes a similar point about Paramount, which has minimal crossover between SVOD platform Paramount+ and AVOD platform, Pluto.

According to Shapiro, change is coming fast – and media companies need to respond: with alacrity. “There’s a shift coming in the next 36 months and companies that don’t react will fail. Everything in the media industry is evolving right now. The TV economy is where the automotive industry was at the beginning of the 20th Century.”

Shapiro believes IP owners and content creators need to put more time and energy into developing their own direct channels to consumers. “Create channels that give you the audience and data you need to build you own media economy.” He cites actor/producer Reese Witherspoon as an example of a traditional media figure that has successfully leveraged the potential of the creator economy.

Shapiro anticipates a world where a small number of super apps offer consumers video, gaming and music all in one place. Currently, he sees big tech players like Amazon, Apple and Google as best placed are to lead this agenda.

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