- Cybersecurity attacks in M&E: mitigating the threat and impact
- Optimizing your social media presence in the media and entertainment industry
- IBC2019: Putting content strategy back on track
Cybersecurity attacks in M&E: mitigating the threat and impact
By Kim Willsher
Barely a week goes by without news of another big-name brand falling victim to a cybersecurity attack. And media and entertainment (M&E) companies, whose content and customer data is so precious, certainly aren’t immune.
In October, France’s largest private media group, M6, was struck by ransomware. Fortunately, none of its TV or radio broadcasts were affected, but with phone lines and emails rendered unusable, the disruption was nonetheless significant. The Weather Channel was less fortunate when a ransomware attack last year shut down its live programming for 90 minutes, forcing it to resort to airing a taped program.
Cyber attacks are clearly not going to disappear anytime soon, but what’s their impact on M&E businesses and how can companies mitigate the threat?
The role of M&E tech vendors
For media and entertainment technology vendors, the impact that cybersecurity attacks can have on the industry’s lifeblood—its content—means the issue of content security must be top of mind. This includes everyone, from engineering teams to marketing and communications professionals.
It’s no surprise then, that nearly all our media and entertainment clients have a role to play in – and something to say about – protecting valuable media content. Here’s what they had to say.
Tried and trusted data back up
According to Diana Salazar, product marketing manager at Quantum, best practices around data storage are changing. The “3-2-1” best practice rule of data back up (keep at least three copies of your data, store two backup copies on different storage media, with one of them located offsite) now needs to be the “3-2-1-1” approach, with one copy of data stored offline as well as offsite. This protects against ransomware attacks by creating an ‘air-gap’ between the data and the network, keeping it out of reach of hackers.
Salazar believes tape has an important role to play in this approach, as it provides a sustainable, secure and cost-effective alternative to other backup and archive solutions. “It’s the most cost-effective storage option for long-term archiving (cold storage) and removes the security vulnerabilities associated with storing data online,” she says.
Embracing the cloud
As cloud adoption gains momentum in the media and entertainment industry, companies are increasingly looking to cloud platforms to protect their assets. According to Avid’s CTO, Tim Claman, not only do they offer media organizations an efficient and increasingly affordable means of storing valuable media assets, they also provide extremely high data durability and reliability by replicating data across multiple physical servers and geographies. This means data will still be accessible if something goes wrong.
“Many cloud infrastructure providers now offer eleven 9s of data resiliency, which corresponds to 99.999999999% durability of objects over any given year,” he says. “This level of durability can be hard to comprehend, but effectively means you’re statistically far more likely to be struck by lightning than lose a single song in your cloud archive.”
The future is blockchain
As the media industry embraces cloud-based workflows, an emerging technology that holds great promise for protecting media assets is blockchain. IBM Aspera has collaborated with other industry players like Breaker, Irdeto, Linius and NECF to establish the Digital Asset Trust Framework (DATF), an open-source project that aims to enable companies to co-create and protect content faster in highly distributed, hybrid cloud environments.
DATF uses distributed ledger technology to give media companies the tools they need to secure, trace and record immutable records of actions between parties. It can be integrated with existing tools and workflows to record the people, systems and tools that have touched the asset.
The resulting blockchain environment is a Digital Asset Trust Network (DATN), which contains applied security measures—such as encryption at rest and in transit, secure credential exchange, secure key exchange, forensic tracking and authentication—as well as records of any edits made to the asset throughout its lifecycle.
Protecting your reputation
From content piracy to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and ransomware, media organizations are at risk on all fronts. That’s why it’s so important to have a crisis communications plan in place for any stakeholders who might be impacted by a cybersecurity attack on your company, whether that’s a content producer, distributor, technology vendor or service provider. The key is making sure you have an agreed process, that key people are easily contactable, and that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
These are the steps companies should take before a cybersecurity attack occurs to ensure they’re as prepared as possible:
- Form a crisis committee – usually this includes the CEO, CFO, CMO, head of HR, head of region, head of legal, head of comms/social media, and any PR agencies
- Create a list of first- and second-level responders and their contact details
- Decide on senior spokespeople
- Define roles and responsibilities – across PR, marketing, support, HR, and sales – to ensure a coordinated effort throughout the company
- Group the stakeholders – who would a cybersecurity attack impact most? As well as customers, employees and shareholders, consider channel partners, suppliers, contractors, and industry commentators such as media, analysts, forums and regulators
- Develop messaging – you can’t predict the nature of every potential cybersecurity attack and you need to tailor your responses as much as possible. But having a framework to cover possible scenarios will help you respond more quickly and effectively if something happens
- Hold crisis communications training for the communications, customer support and senior executive teams – this will give them valuable experience and feedback through role-play situations
- Use monitoring tools to flag news of a cybersecurity attack in forums, the media, social media, etc. so that you can take action as soon as possible
If a cybersecurity attack does occur:
- Develop and distribute a holding statement until you know the key facts
- Communicate to employees so they know to refer any customer or media inquiries through a central contact, and not to comment on social media
- Be transparent – get the facts, assess the potential short-term and long-term impact, and decide on who to communicate with and how, what the key messages are, and how to control the message. Never try to cover up what’s happened.
- Communicate consistently – ensure the same messaging goes out across all channels: to customers, employees, investors, partners, media, forums, the company website, etc.
With the media industry’s high-value content and complex supply chain, media companies are uniquely vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. The media industry as a whole—including technology vendors and service providers—must adopt advanced, multi-layered defenses to protect themselves from financial, financial and operational losses. They must also have comprehensive crisis comms plans in place to help protect their reputation should they fall victim to an attack.
If you’re interested in talking about your brand positioning, audience engagement or lead generation needs, drop us a line at email@example.com or visit our contact page.
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Optimizing your social media presence in the media and entertainment industry
By Dan Simpson
Whether you’re a b2b or b2c company, the media and entertainment industry is a competitive landscape where brands are constantly fighting to stand out. Brand and product awareness are vital for all M&E companies to gain recognition and drive new customers, whether that’s through trade publications, PPC or other forms of advertising, or business development. One area which holds huge value is social media. You might be thinking “this isn’t anything new”, but so many M&E brands are still missing opportunities to reach and engage with their audiences by not optimising their social media accounts.
Many businesses fail to appreciate that optimising your social media marketing goes far beyond including your office locations on LinkedIn or having your website on your Twitter profile (though these are obviously important basics). As such, missed opportunities typically fall into three main buckets:
- Not reaching your desired audience
- Not making the most of your audiences’ talents
- Not putting out content which falls in line with your brand’s skills and story
So, how do you go about solving these problems?
Avoid the void
Picture this: you’ve written and scheduled a whole bunch of social media posts and you’re proud of them. They’re promoting great content and you’re expecting great engagement. Then they start rolling out. A like here, a share there, but all in all a tiny amount of engaging and a very disheartening experience.
This is all too common in the media and entertainment industry and beyond. Instead of trying to fix this and analyse what the problem is, many marketers grumble, moan and do the same thing week after week. The reality is that nothing much is going to change. Engagement might go up a little or it might go down a little, but it’s most likely going to stay the same. So, what can you do to avoid shouting into the social media void?
The first thing to consider is, are you using the right social media platforms? B2b companies tend to use Twitter and LinkedIn (91% of b2b marketers use LinkedIn to promote content) as their primary platforms, while b2c tend to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. That being said, the media and entertainment industry is in a unique position, as many companies have access to rich media like photos, videos and audio. A b2b M&E brand might also be targeting companies that service consumers, meaning their customers may also be on platforms which aren’t traditionally b2b. Twitter is an example of a platform in the b2b / b2c middle ground, along with YouTube and a couple of others. It’s important for b2b companies to consider what platforms their target audience uses to reach their end user, but also what platforms the decision makers at these companies use themselves.
The second thing which is often mentioned but rarely acted upon as much as it should be is engaging with your target audience. Liking, commenting, sharing and opening public dialogue with the people who you want to be in conversations with, is a great way to get the ball rolling. If you want to talk to someone who doesn’t know who you are (or that you even exist), you wouldn’t wait for them to talk to you first. Social media shouldn’t be any different.
Audiences: your untapped resource
Your audience and clients/users are your secret weapon to success on social media. The media and entertainment industry is a creative melting pot where individuals of many different talents can be utilised to promote your brand. A product-based M&E company is in a great position to build loyal and engaged audiences on social media. This can be done by promoting and showcasing the work they’ve carried out with the help of your product. This will show that you care about your clients on an individual level, which will improve follower retention, reach and open dialogues with existing and potential new clients in their networks.
Sharing the content that your clients have created will also act as a case study by showcasing the capabilities of your product. This can be extremely valuable. At IBC 2019 we ran a marketing survey revealing that case studies and thought leadership are considered the joint most effective methods for generating leads.
Creating communities around your audience and clients can also be a great way to build brand loyalty, social engagement and awareness. Things like Facebook or LinkedIn groups, hashtags or even curated accounts of users’ work can open up dialogue between you and these individuals while cultivating a sense of family. This will turn your audience into ambassadors of your brand, who will in turn vouch for you and recommend your services in the future.
Once upon a time…
Putting out regular, high-quality content on social media can be tough for any business. But the media and entertainment industry is uniquely positioned to have access to different types of high-quality media which can often be produced in-house to tell an engaging story. Storytelling can breathe life into campaigns that would otherwise be bland or get lost in the noise of social media. By adding an emotive element into messaging and social media content, people can build deeper connections with brands. Using joy, compassion or humour can add personality to a brand in the media and entertainment industry and make them more likeable and relatable on an individual level, which in turn builds brand loyalty.
It is also important for M&E brands to showcase their skills through the content types and mediums that they specialise in, and on the appropriate platforms. If a video production company wanted to build its audience, then using video content on a platform like YouTube or Facebook would make most sense. In the case of a CDN company, behind the scenes content on professional networks like LinkedIn may work better since 80% of b2b social media leads come from LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to achieving success on social media. But, by keeping these tactics front of mind, media and entertainment organisations can put themselves in the best position to reach the right audiences and optimise their social media activities.
If you’d like to find out more about our social media or digital marketing services, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page.
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IBC2019: Putting content strategy back on track
By Anna Lapacz
After a packed few days, our jet-setting lorries team has returned from IBC in Amsterdam and parked back in the London office, ready to power through reports of all the post-show coverage. As well as spending some quality time with our clients and getting up close with some of the latest technologies, we also brought back some insights into what’s trending in the world of content.
As usual, businesses put significant effort into their content production. The show was busier than ever this year, filled with speaking sessions and, more commonly than before, presentation theatres at multiple different stands. The digital conversations around the exhibition were also abundant, with the hashtag #ibc2019 spreading rapidly across social posts written in many different languages. In the expo halls, we could see brand messages popping out at every corner, encouraging the show attendees to visit the companies’ stands.
And this was no surprise, with Neil Patel’s research highlighting that 92% of marketers consider content as key to their organisation. But experiencing the overload of messaging made us wonder what value businesses assign to different types of content.
Our survey said
So we opened an online questionnaire (a challenge when just finding a 3G connection is a blessing) and took a walk around the vast expanse of IBC in search of marketing professionals. Wandering from hall to hall, we got to meet many interesting businesses in the media and entertainment industry and chat to their hard-working marketeers, with our aim being to see how they value different communication tools, from trade events, through to press releases and social media content. It turns out 62.5% of the marketeers in attendance at IBC2019 consider trade shows to be more effective than other marketing methods.
Looking at the survey responses, we can see that thought leadership pieces, blogs and case studies are seen as the most effective types of content, followed by press releases and media alerts. Although social media came bottom of this ranking, 25% of respondents still chose this area as the most important content investment in 2020, with thought leadership/blog pieces leading the way with 31.25%. Interestingly, social media was chosen as a favourite and most frequently used source of information by the survey respondents.
Last but not least, b2b marketers want their content strategy to result in lead generation. This is seen as both a challenge and opportunity for 2020. Are you ready?
Thanks to all those who completed the survey and a big shout out to the 1,700 exhibitors, 55,000 attendees and 300 speakers who gathered at IBC2019. We’re already looking forward to hitting the trade show road again in the coming months – and remember to get in touch if you need help with developing your trade show media strategy!
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