September 25th, 2014 / Insight posted in Articles

What is ‘media technology’?

Few will disagree with the sentiment that technology has become all-pervasive. Impacting on practically all aspects of our lives, whether it’s at work or at home, the continuous stream of development, updates and changes makes it a highly stimulating sector to work in. Given the broad nature of technology, we’ve found it important to categorise this over-arching term into different ‘sub-sectors’ in order to ensure that all our advice is pitched at the right level, taking into consideration the different market conditions of each and the relevant attributes required of a company set on growth. Our six categorisations are listed below – each of these will have different key performance indicators and factors driving success:

Pure technology – Traditional hardware, mechanical and IT services technologies

Clean/green technology – Technology with a focus on producing low carbon/renewable energy effect or assisting/increasing efficiency of current processes and methods

Fintech – Technology for the financial services industry

Bio technology – Technology which focuses on healthcare and diagnostics

Gaming technology – Technology for the development of games

Media technology – Technology which disseminates, stores or produces media content.

In this article, Kingston Smith partner Peter Smithson, defines the term ‘Media technology’, what it means in its current form and what direction it seems to be heading in.

There appears to be a lot of debate/indecision about what a ‘Media technology’ company is and how they should be defined. Some say that the definition is too vast or too complex to cover in one sentence, some call it ‘new media’ or ‘digital’, which again adds new complexities to the definition.

I see the definition of a ‘Media tech’ business as a relatively simple one:  It is a business which has developed an innovative platform to create or provide efficiencies to services delivered in the media sector.  Very good examples of Media tech businesses are Youtube, Spotify, Netflix, Perform Group, and the various digital agencies.

I do appreciate that the companies within this definition are a range of types and sizes, carry out a plethora of activities and, as a result, it can become extremely complex.

‘Media’ in its broadest sense covers a whole range of sub-sectors including TV & film, publishing and marketing services, with a consistent ‘digital’ delivery method throughout.

The ‘technology’ platforms developed to improve the efficiency of the services delivered within each media sub-sector is also vast; for example, the internet, multimedia, tablets, interfaces, traditional CDs and DVDs, and cloud-based – the list could go on and on.

However, what is consistent about the companies within Media tech is that they have the following in common:

  • There is an entrepreneurial/creative spirit within the founders of the business to develop an innovative platform which will benefit the media industry
  • There will be a team working on the platform development, implementation and maintenance
  • The platform has a specific purpose to support media companies deliver their services more efficiently – it can generate revenue for the company
  • The customers of these businesses are in the media sector – marketing services, publishing, TV & film or digital.

Since technology is in constant motion, it’s no surprise that there are an increasing number of opportunities for these companies to expand, either through penetrating new markets or developing in existing ones:

  • The global market place provides larger opportunities, as the product is invariably easily transferred
  • The future generations will expect new platforms to bring media to them more efficiently – therefore, there is a demand for these innovative businesses
  • There are certain tax incentives (certainly in the UK) for developing new technology.

With such scope for expansion, our media tech team, based in our media specialist West End office, is geared up to provide advice that will support you in your progression, based on a strong knowledge of key performance indicators and industry pressures.