M+E Daily

CDSA, Grant Thornton Explore the Future of M&E

The Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) and accounting/consulting firm Grant Thornton discussed the future of media and entertainment (M&E) at the Member Day held during NAB 2024 in Las Vegas, on April 14.

Noting that M&E is one of the verticals that Grant Thornton services, Richard Atkinson, CDSA president and chairman emeritus, asked Caesar Sedek, managing director, cybersecurity and privacy, at Grant Thornton: “What do you think the future of M&E is?”

After all, noted Atkinson, “there is kind of a security aspect to the future of M&E.”

While “we’re obviously known for tax and audit and all that fun stuff … from the advisory side of things, obviously we do a lot of work with media and entertainment companies in helping them kind of shape their strategies,” Sedek said of Grant Thornton.

“We ourselves are cybersecurity geeks and have been in the cybersecurity space for the past about 20 years or so in media and entertainment,” he told attendees. And Grant Thornton’s clients are “all looking at how users will be consuming data between now and the next few years,” according to Sedek. “And, of course, we’ve been observing that and I have kids who are teenagers now [and] everything’s going mobile. We’re changing that consumption pattern very quickly from the traditional media” strategy, he said.

Sedek added: “I’ve never seen my kids actually watch a movie without a mobile device within their hands. So, either they’re texting with their friends, [or] they’re, commenting on social media – there is that interaction constantly between the two.”

At the same time, more short-form content is being developed for the mobile space, like what is seen on TikTok, he noted. “Right now it’s very much user-generated content” and we are also “starting to see a lot more personalisation of data that is based on browsing history, shopping history, personalisation of information based on user experience,” he said.

All that information “generates tons of information, tons of data, and where the data is being stored provides the vectors for potential attacks [and] potential exploitation,” he said. Also significant are who has access to the data and who’s going to be responsible for the data ultimately, and “there are going to be tremendous privacy concerns,” he said.

He predicted that identity is “really how we’re going to be governing the access to everything.”

For several years, the big “trend has been cord cutting” and now “we have multiple applications to access our content from: 20 different apps,” including Disney Plus, Hulu, and Netflix, he pointed out.

What is also now happening is the bundling of a lot of applications and companies are “trying to get us to subscribe to one,” such as Apple, he said. So “you still have to rely on Apple to be your identity store for all of these other applications,” he noted.

The studios and other entertainment companies would like to see that customer identity last from birth to grave, so they can easily identify consumers from “very early on – not necessarily from birth maybe, but early on,” he said.

The companies can also figure out sports affiliation through viewers’ game histories, he noted. But that “becomes a little bit more difficult when, let’s say, those identities split when there is a merger or acquisition or divestiture,” he added.