Mass media consolidation is entering a stronger phase across both news and entertainment, and is best summarized by Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns’ recent statement that “We’re predator — until we’re prey.”
Related: Lionsgate Vice-Chair Says Studio Needs to Get Bigger (Variety)
This moment offers tradeoffs for studios and publishers. Ethical, transparent frameworks for user data management and inclusive hiring practices can help consolidating companies to inspire collaboration and encourage indie ventures, driving future private investment across the industry (instead of scaring investors and consumers away while producing fewer big hits).
Large publishers, studios and their investors––especially those on the side of consolidation––have a responsibility to protect the pipeline of skilled creative workers who primarily fuel the growth of and trust in media and entertainment. Their work drives consumer loyalty in brands, creates opportunities to test the limits of technological innovation in media (furthering the value of what the media industry offers consumers), and inspires new generations to share their creative vision with the world.
Without winning the trust of consumers and creative workers, studios and publishers are likely to see just the opposite of what everybody wants from them: exploitation of opportunities of scale lead to less experimentation, less private investment in media, and damages to consumer trust.
The responsibility to build companies beyond profits is so much greater given that the overall consumer trust in major institutions is dropping lower by the year, and the larger a company is, the more likely a consumer is to consider it an institution.
Media industry leaders can use this time of ever greater scale to win back the trust of the world and secure a more sustainable future of media –– and now is the perfect time to start.