Corus Media strategy hints at the future of Social Media

jdesormej    June 26, 2017

There is a continuing revolution of communication occurring in our midst called Social Media and many of us are scrambling to understand it, to use it effectively and to measure the real impact that social media may be having when so strategically employed. Social Media engagement at its best, opens up a dialogue with relevant, interested parties, where none might have existed before. These parties could be creators or consumers of the web communication, the employees who sustain the business being discussed or the customers who acquire the business product. These parties might also be the essential stakeholders in a critical supply chain whose contribution, although indirect to the business itself, may determine overall success of the enterprise. The participants may be passion player readers, influencers or activists. Social Media is affecting media business practices in a big way.

Where is Social Media, as a new means of communications, going to go from here?

There is little doubt of its continuing effect upon business. But will social media redefine business itself?  Will social media become the new lingua franca for generation Z and beyond, the primary means of marketing a service or product and then determining a virtual, then real value for the item in question?

The question of language itself is important. As a language in its own right, the epistemological question asks whether the language will change the mind’s thought process rather than the process changing the language?

Will Social Media ultimately alter human business perceptions and consumer consciousness?

Social Media, in a political and cultural way, is certainly changing journalism and how writers now perceive their role and behavior in the American and Canadian marketplace of ideas. [The Tyranny of Twitter]

There are also now, so many possible variations to Social Media that it makes sense that business and media people understand and are trained in its many facets. So, I decided to integrate a social media webmaster “teacher’s” thinking into the case study mix so that any musings on the future of Social media would include this element of the discourse.

This week I have chosen to study the Corus – Global Media organization and to speak directly with a veteran journalist-social media expert and marathon runner Peter Hadzipetros, who now teaches social media in his role as web coordinator to journalists at Global Corus.  Peter began his career as a radio journalist but then intuitively moved to the then, new media platform of on-line journalism at the CBC, where he helped to develop their now dominant on-line presence in journalism. Today, Peter teaches social media and web knowledge to journalists at competitor Global, whose own on-line presence recently rose to number two in Canada.

I wanted to ask Peter about his personal views on Social media while also studying parent Corus-Global organizational media investment actions, to see if we might discover a few  convergent hints about the future of Social Media in business.

In the perfect Social Media business model, interest is being developed, relationships are being solidified, new product development is being designed with interactive response in mind, all motivated and monitored for relevance, purposefulness and quality control. Engagement and response is the goal. With continuing technological advances, and the further amassing of increasingly acute, targeted data, measurement analytics are predicted to become even more effective. This progression in turn, will most likely spawn even more interactive services or product, and our society, as we know it, will evolve.

Social media is presently seen as a bit of an outlier right now in terms of traditional management or corporate governance. We see numerous examples of enlightened marketing practices where corporations permit any number of divisions and subsidiaries to manage their own social media processes. Indeed, there is some evidence that when corporate control tightens, the engagement factor, so critical to interactive discourse diminishes. There are many examples where large corporate investment in social media does not always generate the stakeholder engagement response sought.

“Attracting attention and creating engagement is everything,” says Peter H. Brand linkages simply don’t always work that well. The whole thing is non-linear. Facebook for example, may seem like the obvious main page to your newspaper headline-like message, but social media consumers will always follow a a linear pattern and are more likely to leap about and beyond such linkages. This is especially true in on-line journalism today where 80% of consumer use is found in mobile.”

So, the idea that corporations can control eventually strictly social media  practices is not probable in a direct, linear manner.

Yet there are some effective tools that will work to engage a viewer. Video streaming is especially powerful. Video using drone technology is a fun example of engagement expansion strategies. However, there are no guarantees either than the fact that social media creators will seek to find imaginative ways to attract viewership. Reliance upon visual gimmicks such as drones, may or may not work. One remembers  1950s Hollywood’s failed battle with the new medium of television when they produced visual event pieces like 3D, cinemascope, etc. An early form of engagement strategy?

So, video yes, but again, it seems that this may not a guaranteed engagement prediction for the future.

It is a certainty however, that continuing technological advances will grow corporate data- capture capacities which will then enhance the social media marketer’s ability to identify potential engagement partners, passion participants and influencers, along with the broader community that is somehow linked to the specific issue at hand.

Search engine optimization., identification and consumer reach will now doubt alter social media depth and capacities to reach the consumer of one.

Let’s look at Corus now.

Canwest Global was a broadcast group with global broadcasting assets that overextended its capacity and was ultimately acquired by the western based Shaw Communications in 2010.  In 2016 Corus Entertainment acquired Shaw and the growth of this merged enterprise in the business has been nothing short of phenomenal. Corus is a significant corporate player to watch on the Canadian and international scene and here specifically, this paper looks briefly at their strategic investments Relay Ventures and other ventures for that possible hint of the future of social media.

Corus believes that social media is a growing reality and has set up a funding and data management group to take advantage of rising opportunities.  Relay, one of these ventures, is a business primed to support and fund such digital enterprises in the multi-platform and social media world who  seek expertise and financial capacity in this area. What does this all suggest?

Lessons for Others

With the growth and complexity of data and the adaptation of social media for business as a practical tool in the marketing arsenal, Relay group looks like a model for the future. The graphic is stark in Relay’s potential reach. Relay will support and fund multiple small and large enterprises who must ingest and understand SM data as part of their operating process, from very large business enterprises, to small “not for profits” or charitable organizations like Impact Producer Ring Five  who rely enormously upon targeted social media engagement data to achieve their goals, in whole or in part. These groups do not have the capacity to deeply understand the analytics of their efforts and so will have to rely upon specialty companies to determine their effectiveness.

So here are a few thoughts on this future reality.

Many believe that corporate control is relatively ineffective in the area of social media. As my web guru marathoner Peter H. suggests, “the best laid strategies can be upset in a nanosecond if someone like Ricky Gervais decides to like your page. Web numbers will explode and all the best bets are off.”

However as technology evolves, deciphering metrics for advantage will become much more complex. As new media platform usage expands, a new language will emerge and social media will become even more important to the marketing strategy of the given product.  Marketing may in fact evolve into some other unforseen communications form. Super specialty organizations will become a necessity for clients to understand and to exploit the new data in the potentially new platforms to come.

As technology dives deeper and grows into its own capacity, the tools for deciphering the value of social media will leave the simplicity of Google Analytics behind and move into the control and realm of companies like Relay, who will either adopt the capacity or fund entrepreneurs to establish and offer such services to various business consumers. Social media and Silicon Valley will become inextricably linked.

So social media control will ultimately come to larger institutions in an indirect, interpretative and potentially less democratically attuned manner.

Hopefully not.

What about the counter revolution in the future?

This brings up the final continuing and future issue of regulation. Will Social media have to be regulated? Is Facebook for instance, a broadcaster? We see content stories and are all ready consumers of this content. The traditional competition would like to see the internet regulated. The Netflix crowd. Social Media may very well surpass their market.  As SM grows in scope and importance, and the reach of service providers grows with this, and the language and culture of the internet begins to surpass present media power, the NBC and CBC and other crowd, the reality of regulation will become more and more likely.

Remember, when they start a revolution, they always take over the television stations first. Maybe Facebook will feel the heat.



Organization: Corus Entertainment
Industry: Broadcast Industry
Name of Organization Contact: Peter Hadzipetros

Authored by: Jean Desormeaux

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.