Software Infrastructure Global Viewpoint – September 2017

Rise of the Data-Driven Business

Broadcasters and programmers often struggle to understand demographics, behaviors, and intentions of their viewers. These broadcast managers simply do not know enough about the factors that influence viewers to watch, or not, TV shows. These problems exist because the viewer data broadcasters can access tends to be sparse, disaggregated, and unreliable.

There is a solution to this issue and it involves internet-based platform companies known as digital natives. These companies have extensive and valuable data about consumers. This specific and relevant data forms the core of their businesses and arms them with a wealth of information about the demographics, behaviors, and intentions of people viewing their content.

Deep wells of viewers’ data

Able to create deep understandings of their viewers, platform companies can deliver to consumers more personalized and valuable video content, services, and recommendations. As owners of the customer experience, digital natives deliver compelling video experiences that drive more advertising revenues.

The competitive advantage this offers is motivating traditional broadcasters to become data-driven businesses, which have the following characteristics:

  • Data-centricity: data-driven organizations build direct, one-to-one relationships with audiences, creating value propositions that encourage and reward audiences for sharing their data. These companies are in the business of amassing data on audiences and exploiting it.
  • Platform-based approach: data-driven organizations take a platform-based approach to gathering data from across all their brands and audience touch-points. Data is gathered and exploited in a coordinated manner across propositions and functional silos and throughout legacy and new digital channels. This enables broadcasters to exploit audience engagement across their product portfolios starting with visibility of how each audience member engages with each channel, brand or product.
  • Operating models led by data insights experimentation: data-driven organizations do not just collect data and invest in technology. They overhaul their operating models to place insight and experimentation at the core of their operations. This requires new structures, skills and ways of working to drive strategic KPIs (key performance indicators).

Broadcasters have tried for years to improve the quality and reliability of their customer data. At IBC 2017, because of mounting competitive pressures and growing demand by consumers for more personalized services, broadcasters will need to focus on new ways to gather and use data.

This means broadcasters must increasingly adopt the approaches of the major digital disruptors and become data-driven media technology companies. Unfortunately, few are doing so as quickly or effectively as the market indicates.

Gene Kranz (foreground, back to camera), an Apollo 13 Flight Director, watches Apollo 13 astronaut and lunar module pilot Fred Haise onscreen in the Mission Operations Control Room, during the mission's fourth television transmission on the evening of April 13, 1970. Shortly after the transmission, an explosion occurred that ended any hope of a lunar landing and jeopardized the lives of the crew. Click to enlarge. Image NASA.

Gene Kranz (foreground, back to camera), an Apollo 13 Flight Director, watches Apollo 13 astronaut and lunar module pilot Fred Haise onscreen in the Mission Operations Control Room, during the mission's fourth television transmission on the evening of April 13, 1970. Shortly after the transmission, an explosion occurred that ended any hope of a lunar landing and jeopardized the lives of the crew. Click to enlarge. Image NASA.

Data is a tool

To transform into data-driven businesses, it is critical for companies to pivot their corporate cultures so everyone understands that the company is driven, first and foremost, by data. A broadcaster, for example, needs to re-invent its business model so it is responsive to insights from customer data and then use that data to reduce costs and generate more revenues. Insights and analytics must be applied across all areas of the business, from the front office to master control playout.

At this year’s IBC, broadcasters will increasingly focus on:

  • becoming data-driven as the industry continues to be reshaped by digital consumption;
  • building more direct, insightful, and deeper relationships faster by knowing more about their viewing audiences; this includes their habits, preferences, ages, and genders;
  • constantly measuring performance of their products, including TV shows, based on data-processing analytics;
  • using valuable data for continuously experimenting with new products and making real-time pricing changes;
  • accessing and developing more advanced audience targeting using multiple data sets rather than broad, simple and basic demographic data; the goal is to deliver more personalized content.

Failure is not an option

Broadcasters face more challenges that ever before. New competitors include; streaming companies, mobile, satellite and downloaded content, even social media sites. Over-the-air broadcasters also face the near-term challenge of changing channels and rolling out an incompatible (to current standards) broadcast format, ATSC 3.0.

Finally, viewers have now tasted the experience of receiving their content, anytime and in any place on multiple devices. To gain these viewing advantages, many of them will gladly trade intimate and private information for a more personalized viewing experience.The goal is to use this data in revenue enhancing ways.

If broadcasters want to seize the new data-centric opportunities, they must change the way of doing business. To quote the actor Ed Harris playing the role of NASA director Gene Kranz, in the 1995 film Apollo 13, “Failure is not an option.”


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Gavin Mann, a global managing director with Accenture’s broadcast business.

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