Telecom, media and entertainment industries are crossing paths with increasing regularity in hopes of seeking a fruitful partnership. Navigating the increasingly connected, ever-changing wireless ecosystem is not for the faint of heart. Inking the deal is just the first step. Integrating technologies, teams and operating cultures are what can really make or break the customer experience and thus profits.
Comcast made a big bet on content when they purchased the remaining half of NBCUniversal from GE in 2013. They recently took it a step further with their DreamWorks purchase in April of this year. The move helps to improve the “long tail” of their content through amusement park and product revenues. Conquering content, Comcast is now signaling a move into wireless as an official bidder for the spectrum the FCC is auctioning off. Comcast stands to make significant gains into being the one-stop-shop to be reckoned with for consumer broadband, mobile and entertainment needs.
T-Mobile and Sprint entered a partnership with Google for Project Fi, a network of networks that allows access to multiple carriers for wi-fi when traveling around the neighborhood, country or globe, that would improve connectivity as you moved about during your day. In theory, and practice really, this is a great concept and one that Google seemingly could strong arm singlehandedly. However, the Nexus phone is lacking in customer love and use making this partnership a bit flat out of the gate. Time will tell if Google’s deep pockets and T-Mobile’s flair for disruption can make Project Fi work to their advantage.
Verizon is making usage deals with Comcast while buying up fledgling AOL and Yahoo to potentially compete with Google and Facebook on the online and mobile ad sales front as well as add content to their own fledgling Go90 mobile video platform. It remains to be seen if Verizon can improve the video customer experience enough to leverage their new online ad capabilities.
Finally, entertainment company Lionsgate is setting the stage to boost the Starz’ subscription channel with its own content. A huge risk by some estimates as Starz’ sits well behind HBO, Netflix and other SVODs; a brilliant move according to others who see potential for a vertically integrated entertainment powerhouse. For Starz subscribers addicted to the likes of Outlander or The Girlfriend Experience, they are likely to see improved content options.
The horizon for multichannel communication and entertainment is exciting if complex. Building on the tools a company has with the mined remnants of past and future greats will be the chessboard upon which the industry plays for the next many years. May the company that can make customers the happiest, the most loyal reach check mate.