At our firm, we tend have a lot of folks knocking on our doors looking to evangelize a range of innovations in emerging media and technology for the TV, entertainment and digital video industries. As a whole, there is a range of compelling products and services that are revolutionizing both consumer-facing and industry pain points. With that said, about 75% of the innovations out there are bound to fail due to some potent issues with their business model, approach and focus. For those looking to break into the space, the below capture some of some major pitfalls to avoid.

Do not aim for disruption. Aim for enhancement:

There is an old guard protecting the entertainment landscape and a slew of folks who believe that disruption is possible or achievable by their organization. What most fail to realize is that the TV, entertainment and video marketplaces are already going through  immense changes. These changes can be categorized across different areas, but it’s less of a “disruption” and more of a “business as usual” with a plethora of modifications. Yes, there are a range of technologies and behaviors that are altering many aspects of the business. And yes, there are tech giants poised to take on specific elements and players in the space. But the bottom line is there is also an industry of very smart, very well financed and very protected organizations that are capable of rolling with the punches.  With that said, there are a variety of pain points that could enliven the state of entertainment media and take it to great new places. Smart start-ups will seek to pinpoint these areas and craft innovations to bring the industry to new levels. They will not seek to upend a very profitable system, but seek to enhance it.  They will figure out compelling ways to change outdated products, service and methodologies , while learning disruption isn’t the key to their success, but enhancement is.

Whether you are consumer focused or industry focused, the end clients are always consumers.

The entertainment and content industry has one true set of end goals: Engage, retain and monetize eyeballs. So whichever sector you are focused on, and whatever vertical you are in, there is either a group of companies seeking to directly engage these eyeballs, or a group of organizations helping these companies to do so.

This point is most specifically directed towards the B2B folks. While your direct business may lie in solving an industry problem, there is literally no way to do this without deeply considering the consumers, their experiences, and especially their wants and needs. All too often we see organizations providing some amazing ways to solve an industry problem, but their myopic view makes them forget what is important to the true end client and usually results in failure.  This is an industry where you must not only know everything about your clients, but about your client’s end users as well.

Proof of concept is king:

Entertainment technology is an often hype-filled place. This hype extends across the board and runs the gamut of mild to quite intense. Given an industry that is fast moving, fast changing and has a fair share of monetary gain, there is an immense amount of people trying to grab at it. Some of these people are great marketers, but that doesn’t  mean their product will live up to the hype they create. If you don’t provide a tangible product, eventually all the hype in the world won’t help you. Even before marketing begins, you need to prove your product actually works. There is no such thing as “we’re working out a few kinks.” If a product is ready, it’s ready; and if it’s not, it’s not. On top of proving the validity of a product, a company must also prove the business case. In fact, this is the single most important aspect for any new emerging entertainment company. Your business case should be well-structured to perfectly capture the reason and need for your product. In these industries, the folks that live up to the hype and present a proof of product are the ones that will flourish.

Jump off the buzzword bandwagon.

All too often, startups, innovators and well-established companies will create and innovate new products based on buzzwords alone. The problem with this approach is that buzzwords last as long as most fads, and by the time a product actually goes to market there may already be another buzzword in its place. Seeking to capitalize on particular trends is a short-lived strategy based on novelty and doesn’t have any real staying power. Marketing a product solely built around a temporary buzzword/fad/novelty is not only a giant gamble that typically doesn’t see any fruition, it’s also a crutch for the less creative to lean on. Instead of relying on word/trends that may be huge today and gone tomorrow, create and take ownership of your own trends that will allow for profitable results.