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Capitalising on unexpected opportunities

Some companies working in the media, entertainment and tech sectors may be thriving during the Covid-19 lockdown, but their digital nature alone does not guarantee growth and success.
CEO of myFanPark, Joy Des Fountain.
CEO of myFanPark, Joy Des Fountain.

Covid-19 is a beguiling phenomenon and one which has brought a lot of confusion for entrepreneurs and their endeavours. But while we may be used to the overlapped worlds of work and home, the pandemic has presented business owners, managers, and executives with a new set of challenges, for which there is no playbook and no set method.

This is why one cannot help but take great delight when seeing organisations and their owners making it their mission to not go quietly into that curfewed night. Their efforts are inspirational and present us with some guidance where there typically is none.

As a tech company in the business of connecting people, myFanPark has paid particular attention to those players in the greater media, entertainment and communication (MEC) ecosystem who have grown as a result of Covid-19. Of note are the streaming giants and video conference behemoths like Netflix, Twitch and Zoom, who (due to work and school closures along with stay-at-home orders) have naturally benefitted from the public’s search for new and underexplored means of connection and entertainment.

We experienced this too – in just a couple of weeks, our platform saw a 492% increase in the number of users and a 959% surge in total orders. It was a momentous shift for our talent base, with the demand for personalities like Schalk Bezuidenhout increasing by 500%. As a result, we witnessed a 283% increase in company revenue and loads of new artists, athletes, entertainers, and influencers joined our platform too.

At first glance, one could argue that companies like ours in the MEC ecosystem are simply benefiting from fate: As in-demand, online services above the reach of the physical world, we need only relax and watch as the users (and money) come rolling in, right?

A window of opportunity

Yes, Covid-19 has given MEC-players a window of opportunity in which to become the go-to intermediaries between people, but it requires significant work to ensure the opportunity is not wasted.

In the case of Netflix, BBC New reported that Covid-19 lockdowns around the world attracted some 16 million new users to the service in just the first three months of 2020, cementing the company’s dominance in the video-on-demand market. However, with consumers given an array of streaming options, from Amazon Prime and others, to blatant video piracy, Netflix had to take proactive steps to retain these new users.

As such, it launched new offerings like Netflix Party, which allows users to synchronously watch content from separate locations. The streaming service also made a major effort to reduce streaming bit rates to alleviate pressure on network infrastructure and worked with country partners to install additional servers in key markets, according to reports. In doing so, Netflix was able to accommodate the millions of new users and simultaneously ensure a quality viewing experience that directly addressed their needs.

These decisions made by Netflix indicate to us that good positioning on its own does not equate to better results. It is like surfing: The right wave may come along, but you have got to paddle hard to make sure you catch it.

This is a lesson we internalised early-on. While no one could have anticipated just how impactful the coronavirus would be, we realised that we needed to ensure that the backend of our platform was better developed and more user-friendly for customers. When the house-bound masses suddenly demanded MECs, we were ready to serve.

This demand saw us extending our reach into several countries and securing additional high-level talent across these regions. We are continuing to update and improve our offering and are now looking for additional new market insights, ventures, funding, and partners.

As the world races towards a vaccine and as the economic ripples of Covid-19 continue to disrupt markets and investment opportunities, it is imperative that businesses become more agile. And while we too can offer no step-by-step guide in how to do so, through our experience, we suggest that you keep a close eye on the market, take note of the measures taken by your contemporaries, and see how your business could adjust accordingly.

About Joy Des Fountain

Joy Des Fountain, CEO of myFanPark

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