How to build trust in a digitalized media and entertainment industry

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Nancy Goldberg, Executive Vice-President, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, Kudelski Group


  • The media is in a state of flux as emerging technologies shift business models and consumer behaviours.
  • This means that they have to build and strengthen the digital trust they hold with clients and customers.
  • The media industry must convene, collaborate and establish consumer-involved consortia to enable digital trust.

The media, in all of its forms, is undergoing fundamental changes surrounding how it is produced and consumed. Shifts in business models are driving media operators to create propositions that add value and remain relevant in an ever-evolving digital landscape. This interesting paradox, where social media, Web3 and the metaverse have blurred real, virtual and even fake worlds together, has also created a challenge for the industry.

Video service providers’ distribution revenues are impacted by changes in consumer behaviour, combined with new business models that rely heavily on end-user data capture and targeted advertising.

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How is the World Economic Forum shaping the future of media?

The World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Sportenables business, government, and civil society to prepare for the next evolution of the internet. It addresses changing media business models, the responsible use of data, shifting technology paradigms, and ensures online safety as the nature of the internet evolves.

  • The Forum’s Global Coalition for Digital Safety is accelerating public-private cooperation to tackle harmful content online and helping millions of connected citizens enhance the safety of their interactions online.
  • Through the Defining and Building the Metaverse initiative, the Forum is bringing together leaders from business, civil society, academia and government to define the parameters of an economically viable, interoperable, safe and inclusive metaverse, focusing on governance and economic and social value creation.

Contact us for more information on how to get involved.

But, we’re also seeing access to a range of new, original content and associated digital lifestyle services, driven primarily by emerging technologies. Is this a natural evolution of these blending digital worlds, or could there be a bigger, more fundamental change in the works?

In this era of apparent great convergence, how can private and public sector organizations, in addition to other stakeholders, build trust and ensure a more secure and resilient media and entertainment industry?

Let’s consider three key areas that we see as major contributors:

The new consumer

Today’s market is multi-faceted. With a broad range of offers driven by advances in distribution, services have been extended to provide holistic entertainment propositions. If you only watch football, for example, you only need to purchase the sports package – not a plan containing dozens of channels. Consumers now have the flexibility to customise their line-up of available content.

Beyond customization, everything is at the tip of the modern customer’s fingers – banking applications, streaming services, concert tickets and beyond. All this convenience comes at a cost though. It creates a complex digital footprint that can become risky if it isn’t secured. More broadly, the wider implications of ‘identity island’ fragmentation increase the risk of cyber-attacks compromising the trust between the provider and the consumer.

As new technologies, such as Web3, emerge to drive digital lifestyles, there will inevitably be some turbulence. Organizations must find a way to maintain the trust of their consumers. This means that media operators must be able to weather and navigate the inevitable storms associated with new technologies to ensure their consumers feel safe and protected. To better address this fragmented market landscape, we believe 2023 will see the convening of consortia to architect and build secure and trustworthy solutions that are simpler to deploy.

The new ‘infinite’ relationship

The key to survival for any operator is new value-added services. These require connectivity, which provides the ability for media operators to securely manage content and complex digital lifestyles. The next generation of convergence is already proving to be an ‘infinity’ play that goes beyond entertainment content to ensure connectivity and consumer retention. Now, combine this with the emergence of Web3, with its core distinctive feature being the disintermediation of business models and a reversal of the current status quo for users.

The structural dilution of central data storage is a critical differentiator from the traditional centralized approach. Among other factors, this means that the system is not subject to a single point of control or failure. Data specific to an individual will no longer, as a matter of course, be fragmented across platforms, nor will it be proprietary or for arbitrary sale.

As a result, the future digital economy is unlikely to follow the same model that has prevailed to date. While buffeted by the recent market downturn and bankruptcies, business leaders should not confuse market fluctuations or bad actors with the potential uses of digital assets and the technologies that underlie them. Web3 technologies, as opposed to the Web2 model, aim to decentralise access to sensitive information, meaning consumers can own a single set of credential data that they then allow access to for a relevant purpose.

If you’re booking a cinema ticket, for example, access to the wallet is granted to provide a time-limited token with the relevant payment information. If you’re checking into a flight, broader access is granted through a time-limited token that provides passport, visa and travel preference information. While a crucial advancement, this new landscape comes with a learning curve.

The new tech landscape

Despite its early challenges, adoption of Web3 applications has occurred at a fast pace, driven by the enhanced user value proposition and disintermediation of existing business models.

At its core, Web3 uses blockchains to store data and transactions on a distributed ledger. This means no one entity has full control of the data or transactions – instead, they are shared between all parties involved in the network. This decentralised model helps protect users’ information from being misused or stolen by malicious actors across a range of industries, such as financial services, healthcare or entertainment.

With these new tools, individuals have more control over their own data, identity and value than ever before. Incumbents that find responsible ways to engage are likely to find themselves collaborating with new and fast-moving technology partners, responsible for managing new digital assets and co-leading a new trust-focused way of doing business.

Towards a new digital trust

Individuals and governments are increasingly demanding that companies who develop digital services respect the values and expectations of the societies in which they operate – and they withhold their trust and support from those who do not. This recognizes that many factors support trust in media and entertainment technologies, as outlined in the recent Earning Digital Trust Insight Report. These include good cybersecurity, effective privacy protection, transparency, auditability, interoperability, safety and redressability in the case of harm.

Web3 is still a world in the throes of creation. Yet, the value proposition for consumers at the heart of it — one that unifies data, functionality, value and more efficient forms of applications and asset ownership for the individual — is a powerful one.

Within the context of evolving market dynamics and the place of the individual within the technology landscape enabling it, digital trust becomes structurally determinant in the relationships between individuals and between those individuals and services. Digital trust becomes the underwriter of the authenticity of social interaction and the integrity of commercial transactions. The future of digital trust in industries exchanging and trading assets, for example in the media and entertainment industry, is the leading issue.

Media operators who convene, collaborate and establish consumer-involved consortia to enable digital trust that ensures the integrity of interactions, human or otherwise, will drive innovation in technologies, creating new dynamics and opportunities for expanding digital businesses.

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