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Sustainable Business Strategy for the Media Industry

Bleuenn Le Goffic

VP, Strategy & Business Development

October 9, 2020


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The term sustainability has broadened in recent years. It now encompasses not only environmental concerns but also the social impact that a company has on the ecosystem as a whole.It is more important than ever for our industry to move towards a sustainable future. A broad range of factors have recently affected the media landscape - from security issues such as data privacy and fake news, to social movements like Black Lives Matter and the global impact of Covid-19. With such diverse topics to tackle, how does the media industry begin to approach sustainable change?There is certainly a huge shift coming in the way that organizations do business. For Accedo, sustainability is important and we're stepping up our efforts to collaborate with partners and customers to further enable sustainable evolution.

Looking back...

Having worked in this industry for the past 8 years, I know that it is a very fragmented and constantly evolving ecosystem. The prospect of bringing about significant change in a short period of time is therefore somewhat daunting. Fortunately, global consciousness has grown gradually stronger over the past decade, triggering dedicated initiatives to tackle the environmental aspect of sustainability. We have already seen significant contributions from across the ecosystem - from technology providers such as Google which released plans to be powered exclusively by renewable energy, to broadcasters which have adapted their content proposition to include educational content on the ecological crisis.We are also beginning to see some media initiatives that are paving the way for other kinds of sustainable transformation. There are two recent examples that I think are particularly interesting: one from a leading broadcaster, the BBC, and the second from a new video service, Waterbear Network.

When media companies commit to a positive influence

Following the recent events in the US which triggered the Black Lives Matter social movement, the BBC announced that they will commit 100 million pounds over a three-year period to increase diversity in TV. This is likely the biggest investment made to date to address the influential bias introduced by the current content production ecosystem.The Waterbear Network service, which will be launching later this year, is considered to be the first streaming platform which will enable users to take immediate action after viewing inspirational stories. How can we accelerate change by removing the friction to contribute? This platform connects viewers with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), giving them the ability to donate directly to projects identified by the network. In my view, this is a great business innovation. Waterbear Network is tapping into current needs in the market while playing a fundamental role in accelerating change.And where there is media innovation, there is often also technology and solution-driven innovation. One interesting and very important achievement is the DIMPACT project. This initiative, supported by major media companies, is a calculator to measure the downstream carbon impact of a streaming service. With this type of knowledge available, all video platforms could (and should) start looking at vehicles for optimization.

How should we contribute?

In order to move forward, each and every company first needs to ensure that they have the right working ecosystem to enable sustainable products and services. Leveraging software such as Ecovadis - a platform which helps companies evaluate their sustainability level and compare it to industry benchmarks - will then help vendors compare themselves with their peers and strive towards a better ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) internal plan. In parallel, we should all be actively monitoring the ecosystem to identify initiatives where we could contribute. I believe that only partnerships and active collaboration will get us to where we need to be.The most important thing for us to remember is that sustainability represents an ongoing journey rather than a destination. We need to connect with broader initiatives that champion responsible media and feed these into a bigger industry strategy around key issues. Long-term sustainability is a challenge that can only be met collectively.We at Accedo would love to invite the industry to connect with us to discuss the challenges on how to solve them. If this blog was of interest and you’d like to discuss how we can collaborate on sustainability goals, then please get in touch.

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