FTI Consulting buys media specialist HighView Media

06 January 2015 Consultancy.uk

FTI Consulting has added Philip Schuman’s HighView Media boutique entertainment and management consulting firm to its Media & Entertainment Group, appointing Schuman as the Groups Co-Leader. The acquisition will further strengthen FTI’s media expertise to help its clients navigate a rapidly changing environment on issues such as distribution and delivery platforms.

HighView Media (HVM) was founded in 2002 by Philip Schuman and is a management consultancy and media advisory, specialising in enabling new forms of media and entertainment distribution. The firm has offices in Santa Monica (headquarters), New York, Vienna, Paris and Mumbai.

In line with its ambition to strengthen its expertise in the media industry, global consulting firm FTI Consulting has expanded its entertainment and media practice with the professionals of HMV. The acquisition of HMV is part of FTI’s larger strategy to position itself at the forefront of providing advice on delivery platforms, to cable operators, satellite companies, IPTV providers, mobile providers, Internet platforms, and branded entertainment destinations. With changes in the distribution environment and methods of entertainment media, acquiring HMV situates FTI Consulting well to guide media businesses through the pitfalls of a rapidly changing distribution landscape.

Philip Schuman and Carlyn Taylor

As part of the merger, Philip Schuman has been named Senior Managing Director and will co-lead FTI Consulting’s Media & Entertainment group with Luke Schaeffer and the firm’s content valuation experts, Roy Salter and Eric Briggs. “Phil and the HVM team give us added depth and another key point of entry into media and entertainment companies, especially at a time when both sectors face not only intense day-to-day strategic, competitive and operational challenges, but potentially disruptive technological changes as well,” comments Carlyn Taylor, Head of FTI Consulting’s TMT practice, on the HVM professionals joining her team. “With the HVM team and our already strong existing services, we have created a leading large-scale media and entertainment group designed to assess, recommend and execute the actions needed for our clients to prosper amid transformative changes facing their industries.”

Reflecting on his firm joining with FTI consulting, Schuman says: “FTI Consulting is an ideal platform for the HVM team to join as the industry pushes closer to a tipping point because of new technologies, consolidation and globalisation. By combining HVM’s sector expertise, business development and strategic assessment capabilities with FTI Consulting’s global reach, leading media and entertainment valuation and financial advisory services, we believe our combined group will create its own special alchemy.”

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Despite industry disruption televised sport still draws audiences

24 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Despite the disruption wrought on most areas of traditional broadcasting by streaming challengers, sports remains a major draw for audiences of television networks. This is particularly true of viewers who bet money on sporting events, with those that have skin in the game considerably more likely to follow the event on a television screen.

Arguably the true opiate of the masses, for centuries organised sports have been a major draw for hordes of fanatical spectators, from the grand coliseums of Ancient Rome to the more understated greens of local cricket grounds. The advent of television in the 20th century took this to a new level, allowing for widespread visual access to major sporting events, and sowing the seeds of a multi-billion industry in the process. Yet while watching sport remains a key pastime for many, changing consumer preferences and new technologies are affecting the traditional sport distribution channel of TV.

To better understand trends in the sporting broadcast market, Deloitte recently released an article titled ‘Does TV Sports have a Future?’ as part of its wider ‘Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions 2019’ report into telecommunications trends. The conclusions in the piece are based on the firm’s own survey of 1,062 US-based respondents.

More men than women watch sport

Traditional television has in recent years begun to lose out to streaming and on demand services, resulting in a generation that is watching considerably less television. The shift in consumer sentiment has caused traditional TV companies consternation as well as shifts in business models. The average Millennial now watches 42% fewer minutes per week of TV in 2018 than they did in 2010. Yet not all areas of the traditional television market have been as hard hit by the shift, and sport is one of them. This contradicts previous studies which may have suggested that Millennials were abandoning ‘old’ media for their sport viewing.

One reason for this could well be sports betting, which means that many of the people watching the event are keen to see how their punt is faring, in play. According to Deloitte, 78% of male sport viewers, and 64% of their female counterparts would be more likely to tune in to a live event if they had bet on it.

The study found that sport gambling remains a key fixture in the gambling industry as a whole in the UK. In the United Kingdom in 2017, sports betting had £14 billion in turnover. In the four Nordic countries, meanwhile legal gambling of all kinds was an approximate €6 billion industry in 2015. In the US, meanwhile, the industry as a whole is worth around a quarter of a trillion dollars – with sports betting figuring at around 40% of that total. The industry is projected to see growth of 9% over the coming three years.

Betting on sports is associated with watching sports on TV for more than five hours on a typical weekday

However, while the gambling industry does indeed seem to have some impact on television engagement, it would be dangerous to overstate this as a positive, and such a conclusion might also put the cart before the horse. Deloitte’s study found that ‘super-superfans’ – those who watched more than five hours on a typical weekday – were more likely to gamble than average viewers.

Of those who watch more than five hours of sport per day, only 4% do not bet. Of those, 2% do not currently bet, or have never bet, respectively. Again, it could be asserted that these people are engaging with televised sport, and thus keeping the advertising-based industry afloat, due to the betting they participate in. However, it could equally be argued that they are exhibiting compulsive behaviour in spending such a large amount of time viewing sport in the first place – behaviour which would leave them as easy prey for gambling firms, who can now milk them for profit.

But where is all this set to lead? According author Duncan Stewart, the potential profitability of this model means it is likely to be exported from the UK in the coming years.

Steward concluded, “As a thought experiment, one can imagine a 30-year-old American man in the year 2025… watching a football game on the TV set, smartphone in hand. He can bet on the match at any point, modify his wager, buy back a losing wager, bet on the outcome of individual plays or individual stats such as the number of passing yards by the quarterback—all in real time, and all tailored to him. Ads could be served that are customised for him, informed by his betting and attention, and watching would have to be 100% live. The broadcaster or betting site could not only charge more for ads seen by such an involved viewer, but even have a share in (or own outright) the profits from the betting/video stream … at margins much higher than the usual for TV broadcasting. To an American, this sounds like science fiction, but in the United Kingdom, these solutions (or variations of them) are available today.”