Piloting the Pandemic Storm

Passenger Airplane Flying Above Sea On Stormy Sky With Dark Clouds And Lightnings.

Let’s assume that the airlines return to business, and while we are on a flight to a convention in Vegas our plane enters a thunderstorm. What would an experienced pilot do?

First, given his or her training and experience, they would not panic. They would examine their radar and all the data at their fingertips and develop an action plan. This might include talking to controllers and reviewing pilot reports from those preceding them on this course to assess the situation.

The pilots might turn on the anti-ice system to avoid build-up on the wings as the temperature will drop in the storm. They might boost the thrusters to avoid potential stalling. They would notify their crew and passengers of the impending turbulence and they certainly would quickly determine and take an alternative path to minimize the impact of the storm.

A large part of their success to manage the effects of the storm on the aircraft would be using the data at hand and acting quickly, innovating where necessary. And once they exit the storm, things would quickly return to normal. We all know that “sigh of relief” you feel when the turbulence stops and the plane flies smoothly.

At this moment, many broadcast executives feel like they are pilots weathering a storm. The pandemic has upended any sense of normalcy and expectations for the year. The marketplace is experiencing extreme turbulence, with business activity shifting and causing great instability.

What actions should media executives take to ensure a safe exit when things return to normal? Like the experienced airline pilot, broadcast executives must also rely on data from a variety of sources about their current situation.

Broadcast executives must assess their capacity to weather the storm, including determining if they have the right capitalization and resources and structures in place. They also need to determine what markets and assets will be most and least severely impacted over the course of the next three to six months. Additionally, it’s essential to evaluate what threats are on the horizon and where there are opportunities to take a different path to prosperity.

Innovation will also play a major role in how media companies emerge. It will be key to adjusting from prior standard operating procedures and taking action to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic storm. Now is the time to position their companies for the rebound.

BIA always believes that local market data and insights from others assessing the landscape is vital for all corporate leaders who not only want to a weather storm but also figure out new ways to innovate. Updated information on local economies, direct (and other) competition, emerging business category opportunities, assessments of the in-house resources and outlook for different markets must all be factored into innovative corporate thinking and redesign. 

As it is no small task for a pilot to go through a thunderstorm, it’s not simple for a media executive to lead their company through this pandemic storm. Those that can access the best information and assessments and embark on a new path will be the ones that will experience the best ride and safest landing.

BIA stands ready to assist media executives with local market questions, competitive assessments, valuations, and strategic and tactical plans. Email me directly to set up a confidential conversation.

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