Prof. Adil Matin is the President and Founder of WeTel Group UAE, which he started in 2016. Prof Adil has done his graduation in economics, and masters and doctorate in mass communication. He is the Chairman of Britts Imperial University College, Board of Blockchain Council.
In a quick chat with the team of CXO Outlook, Prof. Adil shares his thoughts on the emerging trends in and future scope of the media and entertainment industry, challenges faced by him as a leader, personal source of inspiration, and a lot more. Following are the excerpts from the interview.
According to you, what are the 3 emerging trends and challenges shaping the media and entertainment industry?
The rise of social media, democratic internet access, and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets have changed the demands and expectations of media consumers. The result is an astounding variety of new digital products and services. Through video on demand and live streaming, consumers have developed selective blindness to traditional ad delivery strategies.
In the age of diminishing attention span, the widespread use of ad blockers, and a multitude of content channels, media companies such as WeTel TV needs to get creative to engage with our user base. For a consumer to engage with an ad, it must be relevant to them and presented in a novel, creative format.
As the President & Founder of WeTel Group, what type of challenges do you face? And how do you overcome them?
Targeting users with contextual media is more of a trial and error approach, made difficult by having to stitch together a viewer persona from various sources. This has, however, not deterred us from investing in contextual media in a big way, and AI makes this task easier. AI will also help advertisers such as myself in narrowing down on ads that will capture the viewer’s attention and won’t interfere with the visual experience. Competition in media is intensifying. Where once Netflix cornered a significant market share in the OTT space and still does, production studios are brainstorming why they should not venture into this space themselves, especially since they own vast IPs. OTT players, on the other hand, are pouring money into developing their own content in fear of these new players catching up to them.
What is the right balance between humans and technology across the full media and advertising ecosystem?
Technology enhances our life experiences as humans—whether it be work, play, learning, or connecting. The possibilities available through artificial intelligence, augmented reality or cloud computing creates a wide range of options for businesses to leverage. In the realm of customer experience, technology allows customers to engage and interact with businesses in new ways. While e-commerce and online retail stores are on the rise, technology is also providing new ways for brick-and-mortar stores to connect with customers. As businesses engage in personalization at scale through new technology, consumers are able to enjoy unique and satisfying customer experiences that speak to them, which I believe is a good balance between the two.
What kind of business opportunities does Dubai offer the aspiring entrepreneurs?
Business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been growing to make many ex-pats into business entrepreneurs. The investor-friendly regime has ensured that Dubai, Abu Dubai, and other emirates in the country are fertile for the growth and development of businesses. Consequently, the UAE witnesses one of the pinnacle enterprise locations around the world and lots of foreigners are beginning groups in Dubai. A few opportunities include Construction Business, E-Commerce Solutions, Tourism and Travel Agency, Real Estate, Health and Hospitality, IT Agency and so much more. Not to mention, it is the cheapest free zone.
According to you, what is the future scope of media and entertainment industry in the next 5 years?
Streaming will become the norm, leading to continuous shrinking release windows, particularly for non-blockbusters.
With streaming increasingly becoming the preferred method of accessing content, we are likely to see further development in ‘home cinema’ technology. While opinions among filmmakers are split on the proliferation of streaming services, the growing popularity and geographical expansions of services such as Netflix or Apple TV shows a clear preference of the audience, as it allows for them to adapt the experience to their needs and create their own habits. When it comes to new content, through streaming the creators have the opportunity to bypass traditional distribution patterns and virtually eliminate release windows. This will benefit both the creators and the audience, at the expense of current gatekeepers: distributors and exhibitors.
Who inspires or mentors you?
Albert Einstein has inspired me in my career. His theories and vision enabled some of the technology we take for granted today, like GPS, lasers, atomic clocks, and much more. He also struggled with and had to overcome self-doubt, like so many people do. The fact that even he faced self-doubt is inspiring and reminds me to be persistent and believe in myself.
How do you maintain your leadership development and growth?
Leadership skills can play a large role in a person’s career development. Technical skills and a college degree may only take you so far. To be an effective leader and help move your career forward, you’ll also need soft skills, such as the ability to be a good listener and communicator. There are several core leadership skills that are considered important traits to help one become a more effective leader. Whether it’s taking the initiative, developing critical thinking skills, or learning how to motivate and empower those around you, I must constantly be challenging myself to enhance my leadership capabilities.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Share relentlessly with your team. Let them know everything you know unless it is absolutely confidential. Admit to the possibility of being wrong, then you will more often than not come up with the best answer. Last but not the least, manage with courage. Keep calm and don’t take things personally—you need emotional stability and clear thinking.