MediaTech is the New FinTech

There was a wonderful headline just over 2 years ago, speculating that MediaTech could be the new FinTech. 2020 has shown us a great many thing but the most notable of things in business and innovation might be revealing what happens when the world is finally all online. Indeed, MediaTech is the new FinTech.

Paul X. McCarthy, Adjunct Professor, UNSW, shared then with The Conversation that, “The mediatech revolution is well underway. It’s in our lounge rooms, bedrooms and on our way to and from work. We’re tuning into Spotify, playing Fortnite and watching Netflix into the wee hours like there’s no tomorrow.”

It was around 2015 that FinTech really grabbed hold of our attention as a way of describing the intersection of financial services and technology. Many attribute the word to startups, so it’s important to appreciate that major companies, in this case companies such as Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, and Allstate, MasterCard, Fiserv, and First Data, make major investment in the infrastructure underlying and changing the finance industry. As with any [Sector]Tech, the work we all do must appreciate broadly how the economy is evolving.

Interest in FinTech, according to Google Trends

Now, the convention, [Sector]Tech, isn’t new. BioTechnology was in use as early as 1919 and Pfizer helped usher in the idea with their innovative approaches to manufacturing penicillin, but it wasn’t until 2015, thanks to innovation in finance, that the idea spawned EdTech, HealthTech, AdTech, MusicTech, and more.

The Intersection of Industry and Technology

A few things I don’t imagine that I need to illuminate…

  • Consumer spending in streaming video (OTT and with services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime) is booming
  • Time spent with video games and the innovation of the hardware, platforms, stories and design, and
  • Despite the ongoing social and political discourse about things like TikTok and Facebook, adoption of social media bursting platforms at the seams

MediaTech is challenging to study because most of the world still slices up “Media” into its various forms more or less familiar, depending on where you live… Media in New York tends to mean News whereas Media in California might refer to Social Media… all of which tends to neglect that podcasting, video games, and streaming music are all too, forms of media.

Streaming Music, Virtual Conference, and FinTech all according to Google

Let’s keep out of our curiosity the fact that our collective interest in film, music, and video games dwarfs what’s going on in finance, when we slice up media to look at Streaming Music (yellow) or Virtual Conferencing (red), as we’ve done here, we can see the pop in attention that everything media has garnered this year.

Global Web Index found that over 80% of consumers in the U.S. and UK say they consume more content since the outbreak, with broadcast TV and online videos (YouTube, TikTok) being the primary mediums across all generations and genders.

With The Conversation, McCarthy shared, to help us wrap our hands around the breadth and significance of Media Technology, this assessment of the media industry…

MediaTech in 2020

Music, since 2018

While Spotify might remain one of our most familiar examples of MusicTech, of course we’re also familiar with Apple, Amazon Alexa streaming music, Google in our homes, and how TikTok has excited our phones. On December 31, 2019, a consortium led by Tencent, noted in 2018 for their impact in Video Games, announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire 10% of Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. Tenacious D, Billie Eilish, and Post Malone took to virtual reality as VR reached us before the hype of Virtual Concerts this year, and Marshmello drew millions to a concert in Fortnite

Goldman Sachs is predicting that streaming alone will be worth $37.2bn a year to the industry by 2030

“We should never be complacent and think that happy days are here to stay. You should always be looking to evolve, to anticipate the needs of the market and the changes in the market and to serve your audience and serve your fans,” wise and prescient words from Warner Music Group’s Stu Bergen shared as IFPI announced it’s look at 2019.

Movies and Video, since 2018

Might just need one mention to help wrap our heads around how drastically our consumption of film has changed since Netflix was the obvious point of reference: Disney+

From a channel that didn’t even exist in 2018, we’ve seen the Mouse introduce Baby Yoda, bring classic films into our homes, and pave the way for Peacock and broader adoption of more streaming providers and brands.

Comcast reported at the end of May this year, that overall, average in-home data consumption was up 33 percent during the first ten days of May 2020 compared to the first ten days of May 2019, following 28 percent and 36 percent year-over-year increases in March and April 2020, respectively. “Smart TVs, mobile phones, streaming boxes/sticks, and smart speakers are driving the year-over-year growth trends.”

News, since 2018

Yes, I skipped over Books and the mention of Amazon. With everyone locked down, it seems our consumption of books bucks the trend here of more media consumption. Seems that with University closures and our attention span to the internet and Hulu, we’re buying fewer books. The New York Times reported that U.S. book sales across all categories fell more than 8 percent in March this year; interestingly, aside from schools closing, citing that retail took the hit. Perhaps Brick and Mortar continues to play a greater role in our lives than many would have us believe.

What struck me most notably about News since 2018 was not our continued attention drawn to “Fake News” but rather this observation from Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson, “Eighteen months ago, I had breakfast with John Heilemann and he told me that his world, political media, was challenged in the shift from linear television (ie cable news) to real-time mobile (ie Twitter). He saw an opportunity to address that by filling the void in between them with news content that was made for real-time mobile consumption but had the journalistic integrity and production values of linear television.”

And you can’t help but notice the coincidence in the focus of Wilson’s discussion being about political media, while as 2020 unfolds, a technology cited as likely one of “Microsoft’s most important,” ElectionGuard, reminds us of how broad a role the MediaTech companies of our economy are in molding our experiences.

“It’s a good time to invest in media”

– Fred Wilson

Advertising, since 2018

I’ll forgo the commentary in this case because it’s in Advertising where often see the most innovation and shifts in opportunity. A few of the trends we’re seeing accelerate this year:

  • Continued change in Agency/Client relationships as clients rightly expect more tech
  • Increased use of automation
  • More video
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Virtual idols and influencers
  • Mobile advertising
  • Optimizing Outdoor Media
  • Streaming TV increasingly showing commercials

McCarthy mentioned the Big Five advertising firms and we can see these massive shifts to online and thanks to technology reading between the lines in that to an extent, WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic, and Dentsu, have had a rocky start to the year. Omnicom’s push to put more ad dollars in podcasts with Spotify is notable of the transition agencies need to make as Advertising evolves but of all media related shifts in 2020, the impact to agencies might reign greatest.

Gaming, since 2020

A few thoughts that come to mind include an even greater shift to Streaming Games thanks to 5G and Cloud Computing, more jumps from the big screen to small and from small screen to big, AR and VR will really start to be seen in Immersive Gaming as we seek new experiences, and we probably need only say the word, “eSports.”

Last year alone, Twitch generated over $1.5 billion in revenue, providing thousands of hours of user-generated content and in the last month, 2 in 10 internet users watched a live gaming stream. Tom Wijman with Newzoo reports that 2.7 Billion Gamers will spend $159.3B on games in 2020.

Since 2018

And let’s not neglect that a little thing called Zoom, Now Worth More Than the World’s 7 Biggest Airlines, wasn’t even on the tip of most tongues in 2018.

Almost hard to believe but we’ve clearly witnessed a shift in public attention and interest toward more media but what strikes me as most interesting in McCarthy’s choice of industries is that MediaTech is interwoven in FinTech, and likely dependent on it, in more ways than we’ve begun to explore.

Publicis one of those agencies mentioned, announced just days ago, a collaboration with Goldman Sachs to build their new transaction banking platform. David Donovan, EVP, Publicis Sapient Financial Services Lead, America’s said, “Given Publicis Sapient is a digital leader in the financial services space, we are thrilled to work with Goldman Sachs to support the roll-out of their cloud-native transaction banking platform, which is the first all-digital platform in the market.”

And while that’s an example of the Finance industry increasingly embracing the digital transformation and expertise of agencies that quickly adopt the experiences critical in today’s mediatech world, Media will continue looking to FinTech for solutions to our challenges in licensing and monetization.

Comments on MediaTech is the New FinTech

  • David Sohl

    You’re spot on with this assessment and there’s no reason to think consumption is going to decrease.

    I believe Twitch is poised to make the biggest move. Great platform without all of the baggage of larger platforms.

    It needs a little more maturity to get there, but it’s well on its way.

  • Paul X McCarthy

    Thanks Paul – nice piece.

  • Paul O’Brien

    Agreed; I think we’re going to see a tremendous amount of change and Twitch is an example of how and why that will transpire. Despite massive companies, huge audiences, and major valuations, a lot of MediaTech is frankly still pretty basic innovation.

    Look at how Zoom was seemingly suddenly thrust on the world but then how quickly Google, Facebook, and more raced to catch up to provide similar or better solutions (because they were behind or neglecting it). That to me is just telling of much of Media.

  • Cauvee

    Congratulations Bottle with popping cork

  • Paul O’Brien

    Cheers Paul X McCarthy, exciting time to be working in media and the shifting economy.

  • Claire McFarland

    It’s also interesting also to look at the trends in digital commerce (online /mobile retail) over the last few months. The shift to tech enabled everything is clear.

  • Paul O’Brien

    yeah I’m chewing now on FinTech in media… eCom in media…

  • Ritchie N

    Great post

  • Sayeed Ahmed

    Thanks for the informative post Paul O’Brien. Can’t wait to see the Fin part of Media Tech such as the overall size of the pie split up across the market players and content categories in the tables in your post, and how much is made by the platforms vs the content creators!

    And on the subject of Content Creators !

    Allow me to introduce Blockchain Video Services(BVS), a seed stage startup, building a video distribution solution, keeping video content creators in mind; offers higher monetization( potentially 10X compared to existing platforms) coupled with lower costs !

    Check us out at:

  • Michael Lubker

    Tencent Holdings has invested into a number of non-Chinese game publishers and developers since around 2018, ranging from minority shares to full control of the company. Through these investments, Tencent is considered the largest video game company in the world as of March 2018. Among its known investments, as of May 2020, include:

    (copied from Wikipedia, so sorry for the reference #s)
    Full ownership of Riot Games, the American developers of Valorant and League of Legends[155]
    Full ownership of Norwegian publisher Funcom.[156][157]
    Full ownership of Swedish developer Sharkmob, founded in 2017 by ex-Ubisoft developers and fully acquired by Tencent in 2019.[158]
    80% ownership in the New Zealand company Grinding Gear Games, the developers of the game Path of Exile.[159][160][161]
    Approximately 84% ownership in Finnish mobile game developer Supercell, makers of Clash of Clans and Clash Royale[162]
    40% ownership of American developers Epic Games, the developer of popular online game Fortnite[163]
    20% ownership of Japanese publisher and developer Marvelous which own G-Mode and the majority of Data East’s intellectual properties including: BurgerTime, Joe & Mac, and Magical Drop franchises.[164]
    18.6% ownership of Chinese company iDreamSky, which mainly develops and publishes mobile games for the Chinese market.
    5% ownership of Chinese company Century Huatong, which operates games developed by FunPlus.[165] Tencent became a shareholder through an investment in Century Huatong’s subsidiary Shengqu Games.[166]
    17.66% ownership of South Korean mobile developer Netmarble.[167]
    Approximately 15% ownership of American mobile game developer Glu Mobile[168]
    13.54% ownership of South Korean company Kakao, the parent company of South Korean publisher Kakao Games.[169][170]
    9% ownership in UK developer Frontier Developments[171]
    5% ownership of American holding company Activision Blizzard, the parent company of Activision, Blizzard and King[168]
    5% ownership of Swedish publisher Paradox Interactive[168]
    5% ownership in France’s Ubisoft, purchased from Vivendi following Vivendi’s failed attempt to buy out Ubisoft in March 2018[172][173]
    1.5% ownership of South Korean company Bluehole, the publisher of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
    Majority ownership in Switzerland-based mobile game developer Miniclip[174]
    Capital Investment in Japanese developer PlatinumGames[175]
    Minority share in German developer Yager Development[176]

    Also – Big 3 yes, but Valve is a superpower in it’s own right as well as EA (I won’t note Epic/Blizzard/Discord because they are invested in by Tencent) + Mobile is now 60% of the market so you have to mention Apple, Google and Amazon’s shares of the market.

    60% Mobile and a pretty even split between PC (Valve, MS, EA, Tencent) and console (old Big 3) though since the Switch released Nintendo actually gained 8% marketshare, selling nearly 50M software packages with only 2 game titles.

    Streaming actual playable content is still fledgeling but I have my eyes on MS XCloud and Shadow. PSNow also has its place. Samsung just signed a deal to use XCloud with their latest Note device.

    In smaller landmass countries nVidia GRID deployments have also been successful allowing Nintendo Switches to play full-HD content via Stream in Japan.

    The PC space is the easiest to get into followed by mobile and then console. Marketing/niching is still a huge challenge across all 3 platforms.

    More than anything, the space is diverging, all 3 console makers now have different strategies, PC has a bunch of competition and mobile also does (especially in Asia).

  • Corine Harris

    Fintech startups are looking to serve as substitutes for the old order of financial services firms, and, indeed, in many areas, they are complementing the products and services that are already on offer. They are also leveraging regulatory norms, although navigating the web of disparate regulatory frameworks is not always easy. That said, globally, regulators have been paving the way for easy access to enable disruption in the financial services sector and to encourage competition. You can always check detailed information about those in Tanvir Mishuk

MediaTech is the New FinTech

by Paul O'Brien time to read: 6 min