PADEM Media Group: Pinpointing Evolving M&E Trends, Emerging Challenges

“Unmatched market understanding, insight and actionable strategic advice.”

That’s one client’s feedback for Allan McLennan, chief executive and founder of the PADEM Media Group, a global streaming media and entertainment management consulting, strategic advisory and analyst firm. And it’s the type of feedback McLennan has consistently received during the dozen-plus years he and PADEM have been in business.

With clients ranging from small, innovative startups to giant multinational corporations, McLennan and PADEM have a record of being ahead of the evolving trends and emerging challenges in the M&E space, with everyone from Ericsson to Siemens, Deluxe to TiVo, Comcast, Apple and Disney working with the industry vet and his company to advance their IP and digital media distribution and audience engagement roadmaps.

McLennan gave the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) a rundown of the origins of PADEM Media Group, how PADEM addresses the differing needs of every corner in the M&E business, and what he sees on the horizon for the industry.

MESA: Why did you decide to launch PADEM Media Group back in 2007, what was the impetus for getting the company off the ground?

McLennan: PADEM was an opportunistic endeavor. As the founding President, I had been leading, launching and guiding the US publicly traded Rentrak’s (which was acquired by ComScore) Advanced Media and Information (AMI) division. The experience garnered at that time enabled me through the creation of PADEM to step in and provide in-depth insights and understanding around the new TV audience’s evolving needs, and the technology required to connect with and meet viewers’ expectations wherever they are around the world.

MESA: How have you evolved PADEM over the years as media and entertainment technologies have evolved? And what forward-looking tech evolutions are you keeping in mind next?

McLennan: As we extract ourselves from this paralyzing moment in history, PADEM is working with new ways that technologies, services and offerings can enhance and provide direct interaction with each member of the video and TV audience, especially by providing informed and intelligent connections. This includes not only the creation of, but also the distribution/delivery of, targeted, personalized streamed programming, evaluating how live events; concerts; electronic town halls; selective audience programming and more will need to be reevaluated to provide an even better experience for both our audiences as well as our businesses.

MESA: What have you encountered when it comes to the differing needs of who you advise: tech corporations vs. broadcasters, hardware manufacturers vs. MVPDs, studios vs. brands? How do you approach so many varying businesses with just the right touch?

McLennan: We work with extraordinary inventors, scientists, technologists and highly accomplished executives in companies that range from innovative startups with disruptive ideas to multinational corporations looking to identify where their products can make a difference and their company’s accurate go-to-market edge. Through our experience; large and small tech corporations, linear broadcasters, hardware manufacturers, MVPDs, studios, even brands have challenges in different ranges but many times in our meetings we hone in on recognizing and presenting their capabilities and benefits.  For example; is it customer-problem focused, revenue-model, a market-image challenge, operations, technical-innovation, product strengths, new-strategic-partners, accurate-market-engagement, team-opportunities? Sounds pretty straightforward, but you’d be surprised how some things get overlooked. We come into this with a broad, yet specific market awareness.

MESA: How have your 25-plus years in the media and entertainment space informed your PADEM practice, what are some of the experiences that you rely on to improve the advancement of your clients?

McLennan: PADEM has had the opportunity to actively contribute to, as well as be on the forefront in identifying not only current digital transformations that have proven to impact the market for years to come. We work to share that understanding through executive function; accumulated knowledge; a bit of judgment, empathy and we’d like to think wisdom. Through these perspectives we have been fortunate to be asked to actively participate in industry leadership organizations too that look to anticipate the impact of new technology offerings that include IBC’s Catalyst, the Producers Guild of America (PGA), RightsTrade Advisory Board and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) where I sit on their executive media Board. Another Board that I am pleased to contribute to is NYC’s Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) where we are advancing educational services to homes, students, teachers and families through numerous efforts. Our focus is based on the recognition and importance of insuring connections through smart programming and streaming network efficiencies which has been in PADEM’s blood from the outset.

A couple of other examples of this that played out “back in the day” was the launch of a head-of-its-time, one of the first global OTT/streaming services, SelectPlay in 1999; our work with the first-ever CD-ROM experience with Disney’s “The Lion King,” and our backing (with partner Steven Spielberg) of the first virtual, 3D, multi-platform World’s Inc. platform at VR’s outset, PADEM has repeatedly anticipated and help drive what’s next in connecting audiences in media and entertainment through technology.

MESA: What are some of your favorite PADEM customer success stories in the media and entertainment space, and why?

McLennan: Well, some of the ones we can respectfully mention:

• Advancement of Siemen’s Video Engine into the U.S. with Deluxe.
• Creation and production of the first fully shot-on-mobile TV series, the 13-part “Africa Diary” series, geared toward critical thinking for children, and licensed by the Sundance Channel.
• Integration and brand retainment for Microsoft’s IPTV operator software Mediaroom into Ericsson (now MediaKind).
• Global thought leadership summits for Conviva.
• Assisting Ooyala’s two-divisions find strategic homes.
• Market evaluation and technical product evaluation in the launch of new codecs into the 1.5-billion-person market with RealNetworks.
• Advisory of intelligent data analytics technology service Cognitive Media Networks prior to its sale to Vizio.
• And multiple successful and confidential M&A assignments.

MESA: What’s next for PADEM, what advances and offerings in consulting on helping with digital transformations can we expect from you next?

McLennan: A couple of projects for example that we are excited to be contributing to are; the expansion of a proven and extraordinary remote editing, work-flow and cloud centric storage platform; the development of a new IP/OTT streaming educational network, that will be focused on providing curriculum-based exclusively produced and curated licensed programming; Global Thought Leadership Forum’s & webinars; and the advancement of a Neural Intelligence Network platform.

To learn more about PADEM Media Group, click here.