MIPCOM: Connected Consumers Will Drive Media Innovation

In a preview of its five-year forecast, PricewaterhouseCoopers says companies will have to adapt to customers' digital needs.

It's a complicated media world in which boundaries are blurring and consumers are increasingly in control.

That was the essence of the remarks from PricewaterhouseCoopers' Phil Stokes, who offered up his company's assessment of the state of the media business worldwide in Cannes on Tuesday morning.

The comments and stats are an annual preview of the firm's forecast for the next five years across 13 media segments, set to be published in a massive tome later this month.

In a short session entitled PwC Global Entertainment Outlook, Stokes told the MIPCOM audience that "agility" and "innovation" will be crucial for companies to succeed in this ever more dynamic and shifting space.

Perhaps even more important, the executive said, will be understanding one's customers -- and in the case of content creators, knowing one's audience and scurrying to be relevant to it.

"Consumers will expect multiscreen options and they will increasingly value 'the experience' of particular content," Stokes explained.

And as several panels have articulated here, consumers are relying more and more on shared online recommendations in making their entertainment choices.

As for those who continue to fret that linear TV is on its last legs, not so, Stokes argued. Stats suggest it is holding its own quite well -- though, not surprisingly, the growth in ad revenues and such is coming mostly on the digital side.

"The Internet and video game sectors are the big drivers, but TV will continue steadily," he said, while graphs flashed behind him. Newspapers and directories will continue their steady decline.

On the digital front worldwide, the adoption of tablets will exceed that of laptops and desktops combined by 2017, the firm is projecting.

At this point, Stokes suggested, "the end of the digital beginning is upon us. The digital fog has lifted."

It will be "connected consumers" who increasingly drive companies to innovate -- or go to the wall."