The worldwide media sector is undergoing a major reconfiguration, fuelled by changing consumer behaviours as a result of the pandemic. In mid-market media M&A, private equity is becoming increasingly important. Updated business models and ever-changing markets have piqued the interest of investors in new partnerships, at a time when media investment and expansion financing options are expanding.
Yes, news has seen a revival and it has been impressive to see how well the publishing industry has stood strong in the face of multiple changes in the past couple of years, but it is the shift to digital which will drive the sector forward in 2022 and beyond.
Several waves of disruption have swept across the media sector since the late 1990s, each wave fuelled by consumers' insatiable appetite for content and impatient demand. It is has been a learning curve for an industry that is traditionally fairly rigid in its thinking, but as disruption in content distribution forces businesses to evolve, the media sector is now on the cusp of transitioning into a media-technology hybrid sector.
We’re at a critical time within media as the entry of tech-first firms – the likes of Netflix and Amazon - has pushed the industry to react. As such, the competition for market dominance in the sector is poised to become even more intense and M&A has become a significant tool for gaining this competitive edge.
With increased consumer power, competition and the importance of technology and data in the fast evolving media ecosystem of today, media companies face increasingly complicated challenges that go beyond broadcasting or content publishing. One of the biggest challenges for media companies as they make this move to digital, however, is identifying the right people to facilitate this evolution. Companies need to find the game changers who do not think like a publisher or a media company, but as a technology company, and they need them yesterday. A successful merger requires the retention of exceptional talent and the placement of the right people in key positions. Attracting such talent is another area of heightened competition, making a merger & acquisition an appealing move.
The future of media will rely heavily on technology, but media companies are not run by technologists. That means there is a significant disconnect between the top leadership of media companies and the need to effectively understand and apply the technology required to remain competitive. Media companies across the globe should be investing heavily in education to pass on the principles necessary to compete digitally, and as these companies push to expand their technological capabilities, tech and investment firms will be keeping close tabs on market developments to identify those with the greatest potential.
Disruption is rife, and the most ambitious and progressively thinking media businesses are putting money where their mouths are by investing into technology that will keep them on par, and ahead, of the competition.