The global streaming market, already experiencing strong growth before the Covid-19 pandemic, benefited enormously as restrictions took hold. Well-known brands such as Amazon, Netflix, HBO and Disney witnessed a boom in subscribers as people sought entertainment amid the lockdown and restrictive movement policies.
And while such activity and growth may have moderated as measures eased, the outlook for streaming remains very positive. According to Precedence Research, the market for global video streaming is forecast to hit US$1,721.4bn in 2030 from an estimated US$375.1bn in 2021, representing a compound growth rate (CAGR) of 18.45% per annum.
‘Working in digital media means working in a fun, cool and exciting environment’
And it’s not just a market of big-name, US-based video streaming players. Cliq Digital, for example, sells subscription-based streaming services that bundle movies and TV series, music, audiobooks, sports and games to consumers globally. It is headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, has offices in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Barcelona and Toronto, is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is a constituent of the MSCI World Micro-Cap Index, and operates in more than 30 countries.
‘Working in digital media means working in a fun, cool and exciting environment,’ says Aleksandre Chubinidze FCCA, a Cliq Digital business controller based in the Netherlands. ‘It’s highly rewarding working in an industry that develops consumer-oriented digital products, and being behind the scenes of the process from concept to realisation.
‘Individuals who prioritise routine and predictable roles should look elsewhere’
‘It’s also a pleasure working closely with creative, collaborative and vibrant individuals. Naturally, generous – yet responsible – financial incentives underpin finance roles in the sector.’
Digital streaming businesses are also fast paced, operating in a highly competitive and expanding marketplace, so finance professionals can also expect a great deal of responsibility and high expectations to drive business growth.
‘Given how rapidly evolving and competitive the industry is, individuals who prioritise routine and predictable roles should look elsewhere,’ Chubinidze says. Finance roles require, by their nature, structure and organisation. This is in stark contrast to what is experienced in the dynamic digital media space, where the only constant is change. Individuals who don’t enjoy the challenge of adaptability and flexibility will find it challenging to work in this energetic industry.
As a business controller, which is a key managerial finance position, Chubinidze’s role incorporates preparing annual budgets and monthly rolling forecasts; defining, reviewing and reporting on key performance indicators; and analysing and reporting monthly to the board on gross margin developments.
He reviews business cases for new markets, products and services, as well as reviewing business performance against budgets and forecasts, and preparing consolidated analysis of results for multiple reporting entities and business units.
Chubinidze also acts as a sparring partner to the management and the operational teams on business performance and financial matters, while also leading ad hoc projects to review and improve processes in finance.
So, it can be a varied and positively challenging sector for a finance professional, with a wealth of opportunities as the market soars.
Getting in and getting on
Many come to the sector with audit or financial due diligence experience in reputable firms, as well as business control and FP&A analyst experience. Once in, career progression generally includes targeting roles such as FP&A director, head of business control, finance director and CFO.
‘Inquisitiveness coupled with an analytical mindset are vital’
‘Strong finance knowledge and commercial aptitude are non-negotiables for success in this industry,’ says Chubinidze, who has a background in assurance at PwC and business control at a mature Dutch-listed company.
Technical know-how is obviously essential but so, too, are personal qualities. Teamwork and interdepartmental cooperation are the core of every task and project. ‘As such, desirable attributes are excellent communication skills and an affinity for teamwork, next to patience, friendliness and a collaborative attitude,’ Chubinidze says. ‘Additionally, inquisitiveness coupled with an analytical mindset are vital, as it can take several rounds of stakeholder engagement to extract needed information.
‘Given the fast-paced environment and diverse stakeholders, agility, a sharp mind, and excellent interpersonal skills are baseline qualities for success.’
If this sounds like the right fit for you, then with digital media being a dynamic environment with rapid iterations and ongoing innovation, there are opportunities to grow and develop in parallel with the industry’s expansion.
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