When dealing with a topic as vast and complex as sustainability, it can be challenging to define the actions that will futureproof video platforms and services. For years, identifying these goals has dropped down the organizational to-do list in favor of the pursuit of growth. But consumer engagement is improving, businesses are taking the issue more seriously, and the window for meaningful action is narrowing.
Companies now have more capacity for new development, so they can focus on solutions rather than just the problem. Key business drivers and sustainability concerns don’t need to be at odds with each other. There is a huge potential market for new solutions, and this will come to life through innovation. New monetization models can help meet revenue targets, whilst making a positive impact on a greater scale. Innovation in the video industry will drive change, as organizations leverage a collective skillset across their network.
In a series of Sustainability Roundtables, Accedo will invite vendors and video service providers to explore challenges and potential solutions together. Over the coming months, we will share insights from these closed-door sessions with the wider video industry. So, as we head down a new path on this sustainability journey, let’s look at some of the guiding principles we’ll follow:
The idea of global change, across a sector as multifaceted as the video business, can be daunting. But one of the great things about working in an industry with so many diverse areas, is that they can influence and inform each other. Success in one use-case, can be quickly replicated in others. The whole industry needs to audit the impact of digital consumption and take responsibility for it. But with a topic as important as this one, the focus must be on a collective approach. We should not think of hitting sustainability targets as a competitive advantage.
Progress is going to require asking some tough questions, and stakeholders being generous with their knowledge. Video platforms can no longer be perceived as a way to ‘dematerialize’ viewing. The digital content industry, and its associated tools and services, must consider carbon footprint in the same way that we’d think of physical media. Contributing to sustainability across the video sector is not a case of sprinting after quick wins. Neither is it a marathon effort that needs to be undertaken alone. We should instead think of the change required as a collective goal – sustainability is a team sport.
Consumers care about making sustainable choices, but there is often a gap between their opinions and actions that needs to be closed. A recent report by The World Economic Forum and BCG, surveyed 19,000 people in eight countries, and highlighted that consumers are the key to bringing green initiatives into the mainstream. It noted that “some consumers are confused about what they, as individuals, can do to make a difference; only 20% think that they can personally have an impact. More significantly, approximately 70% are disillusioned—wary of corporate claims about progress toward sustainability and suspicious that those corporate commitments are a ruse masking the true intent: merely to burnish reputations and attract customers”.
With this in mind, it is important to examine the relationship that the video business has with monetization initiatives and direct to consumer advertising. In Accedo’s first Sustainability Roundtable, guest speaker Jonathan Wise, will share his work with Purpose Disruptors on “Advertised Emissions” and discuss the evolution of advertising that is needed to reach a net-zero world. The video industry must consider not only the emissions associated with viewing adverts, but also the carbon footprint that extends into the consumption of those products further down the line.
Advertised Emissions provides a framework so the industry can transition from promoting high-carbon brands to low-carbon alternatives. As well as assessing our collective role as “architects of demand”. Video monetization should of course reduce friction for the viewer. But it should also guide them to brands and experiences that are a natural fit, and then empower them to make informed and sustainable choices.
User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design often focus on making consumers feel good. But what about shifting that focus to ‘doing’ good? Companies are starting to explore adaptations that could have a big impact on sustainability. Some design decisions might seem minor during the development stages. But creating a UX and UI with sustainability at its heart, can facilitate dramatic change.
By looking at UI power consumption, removing unwanted streaming options and submenus, and exploring different designs, we will arrive at optimal solutions. Reducing wasteful actions within applications helps control carbon footprint, but it also results in happier users due to less unnecessary navigation – a win-win! Companies can streamline and refine platforms, without compromising on the viewer experience. But if we were to start sharing this data, the industry could build a robust standards model and work towards carbon reduction targets together. What impact does design have when multiplied across millions of users? Let’s find out.
The first Sustainability Roundtable session "Sustainable Monetization: Meeting Business Objectives and Making a Positive Impact" – will focus on the evolution of business models and the role of advertising in the video industry. Get in touch if you would like to find out more about the shift towards a sustainable future.