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Importance Of Content

In a recently held conference, the CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, John Stankey stated that, “content that is compelling matters.” He also added that the telecom company is planning to fully participate in their program business rather than treating it as just “a hobby.”

“We just cannot envision a future where AT&T is relevant if we don’t directly participate in some of the water flowing through our pipes,” Stankey said. AT&T had agreed to buy Time Warner a few months ago in an estimated $85.4 billion deal. The shareholders from Time Warner recently approved AT&T’s proposal, but the regulators have not yet reviewed the merger.

Stankey discussed on how the telecom company has rethought their approach to its business. “Our previous course and direction failed to value customers when they really craved appreciation. We offered them prepackaged solutions when they craved customization,” he said. “We perfected the model of offering customers more for more [when in reality] they want more for less.”

He concluded by stating, “It’s the customer’s world, and we are just living in it.” According to the AT&T Entertainment CEO, the situation is “a big pivot,” and “we need to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable.” He also added that his team drew up 5 guiding principles with the customer relationships.

  1. “Video will be the dominant payload of future networks,” Stankey said, as more than 60 percent of traffic on AT&T’s networks today is video, which will soon hit 70 percent. “We just cannot envision a future where AT&T is relevant if we don’t directly participate in some of the water flowing through our pipes.”
  2. Stankey said that the multisided business models will stay important. He also added that advertising and subscription are necessary and they may require a little of innovation.

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  3. “We believe that in the content-connectivity equation, the weight is now starting to move to the content side, both premium and native digital,” Stankey added. “We strongly prefer to address and participate in the innovation of emerging models from a position of relevance and scale than trying to get there from the ground floor up.”
  4. He also stated that integration matters for convenience and value. Stankey pointed out that customers are looking for simplicity and control. They might not watch a live basketball game, “but they want the highlights, the differentiated delivery with unique camera shots up close and personal right when they want it.”
  5. Stankey also argued that engagement and passion like the number of hours spent with content would become an increasingly popular metric, which gauge the success of a telecom company’s offerings.