Tencent's SY Lau, winner of the Cannes Lions 2015 Media Person of the Year award, reflects on China's increasing power in shaping and re-defining the media industry worldwide.

As Tencent's SY Lau accepts his Cannes Lions Media Person of the Year award, he tells ClickZ how the contributions China is making to this year's event reflect the country's growing influence on the global digital media industry.

ClickZ (CZ): How are you feeling about your award and how significant is it for Cannes Lions to be recognizing a Media Person of the Year for their work in China?

SY Lau, senior executive vice president of Tencent and president of Tencent Online Media Group (SYL): It is truly an honor to accept this prestigious award on behalf of Tencent Online Media Group.

This award not only demonstrates the success of Tencent OMG, but also highlights the rise of China as a global force in online innovation, creativity and the provision of the highest quality content.

CZ: Can you expand on China’s contribution to the digital media industry?

SYL: According to an EY report, the compound annual growth rate for China’s media and entertainment industry between 2010 and 2015 is estimated to be 17 percent, which is significantly higher than the overall forecasted economic growth of the country.

China is currently the second-largest film market in the world after the U.S. and is expected to exceed the U.S. box office by 2020.

China is the largest Internet market in the world and digital entertainment continues to grow exponentially.

Online media in China, including Tencent OMG, is also playing an increasingly active role in covering and reporting breaking news. At the 2012 London Olympic Games for example, Tencent Video enjoyed over 200 million plays per day and Tencent Microblog reached over (Read more...) million users. At the time, the BBC praised Tencent's media coverage team in London as: "An expensive and ambitious operation, which also reflected the ambition of China's Internet industry."

The 2014 Brazil World Cup saw the participation of 100 million users across all [Tencent] media platforms every day with the total number of World Cup video plays across all platforms hitting 1.6 billion per day.  

Content wise, take Tencent OMG as an example, one of our strategic imperatives is to invest heavily in world-class content while building exclusive partnerships. While investing in original content, we are in joint production with widely known intellectual property owners to produce a reality show for the Chinese market.

All these demonstrate China's increasing power in shaping and re-defining the media industry worldwide

CZ: What trends do you expect to see at Cannes Lions this year?

SYL: This year in Cannes we will continue to see the growing importance of data in the creative mix. We will also be seeing better integration of data and technology and media agencies transforming into the space of marketing services. This is in line with what I said to fellow marketers when I met with Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Publicis Groupe at Cannes Lions in 2014 that creative individuals should not fear the techno geeks or the most cutting-edge technologies; rather, they should embrace data, love complex numbers, and think [about] data as a lever instead of a threat. This remains even more true today.

In line with this trend, at Tencent OMG, technology always comes first when we develop superior user experiences. We build our competitive advantage and advance the development of our content, products, and advertising services via technology. What's more, we see ourselves as a collaborator in marketing technology. We most recently partnered with Nielsen to launch the Digital Ad Ratings System in China.

CZ: Is it a new phenomenon to see Chinese media platforms having a strong presence at Cannes Lions?

SYL: Just as China's many other sectors continue to rise on the world stage, creative professionals from China are increasingly taking center and front stage at Cannes Lions – one of the most influential platforms for the creative industries.

CZ: What will be the highlights of this year’s event?

SYL: There were discussions last year to add a data category to the Cannes Lions. I am glad to notice that this category has been created this year to help the industry celebrate a new benchmark in data-inspired creativity.

The Creative Data Lions category was created to recognize campaigns using this data as a catalyst for creativity – game-changing campaigns that clearly demonstrate an execution enhanced by the use, interpretation, analysis or application of data. I expect this to be one of the highlights of this year's Cannes Lions.

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