TRANSFORMING IN-HOUSE CREATIVE AND PRODUCTION CAPABILITIES
By Guilherme Goehringer, LATAM Video Consulting Lead, Accenture Digital Video
Content production processes and spending levels have changed dramatically, as digital disruptors drive competition for both content and users. After years of cost cutting in traditional content and production capabilities, there is a renewed focus on the strategic importance of owning content with its ability to attract viewers, drive revenues and introduce related services.
However, internal production capabilities are frequently viewed as less flexible, less innovative and less capable of meeting content production needs. Broadcasters must embrace deep-rooted changes in approach to optimize investments and adopt innovations to fuel new growth and competitiveness.
Transforming in-house creation and production capabilities to unlock trapped value;
Optimizing ways of working;
Embracing digital technologies and new sources of revenue.
Whether done in-house or sourced from others, original content production remains a key competitive advantage for broadcasters. By successfully combining new technologies, and ways of working, the most-savvy companies are becoming intelligent content players. They are comfortable with experimentation, Agile working and using data as part of the creative and production process. We see the leaders driving innovation across the content production value chain in four ways.
CONTENT PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY.
Actors joke that their most important skill is waiting. However, the high fixed costs of studios make unproductive time no laughing matter. In the new content economy, advanced production analytics and forecasting tools are making a material difference. They unlock trapped value by identifying the best production scripts for in-house factory planning, optimizing resources, and maximizing the number of productions executed in parallel.
EXTENDING REACH THROUGH DIGITAL CHANNELS. As little as three years ago, broadcasters’ digital channels, and alternate formats, were often an afterthought. Now they’re core to extending reach and engagement. Digital channels are good for audience and producer: convenient for the first, and delivering all the data the second needs for planning. They’ve also created an ideal forum for maximising the value of content. A drama that used to air once or twice can now run many times. Also, building new exclusive formats for digital is a very efficient way to extend reach and drive engagement at a low unit cost, with the side benefit of revealing more about user preferences and opportunities for further engagement.
PREDICTING HIT SHOWS.
As content gets more important, nobody wants to make big, expensive mistakes. Successful companies are harnessing vast amounts of data to anticipate what will have traction and best to position it in front of viewers … whether in the linear programming guide or the on-demand catalogue. This can go well beyond past viewing data, incorporating external factors like demographics, seasonality, audience flow, social media and the competition to create detailed audience insight. Sophisticated analytics can now give us better predictions than ever before of what content will succeed and how to position it.
REINVENTING BUSINESS MODELS.
The traditional, linear advertising model is in universal stagnation. Traditional media companies are fighting back by re-inventing advertising and investing to create (or boost) other revenue streams, such as subscription and content licensing. In the advertising space it is critical to increase reach and segmentation (- through data consortiums for instance - ), and adapt to innovative ways of selling ads, e.g.: guaranteeing audience targets. Yet other sources of revenue are coming from international licensing deals, and subscription where the audience can pay to receive exclusives.
In-house production positions a broadcaster for both higher gains and lower losses. Smart companies improve the odds by using data to improve efficiencies, know their audience better, and experiment with innovative advertising approaches to stretch their revenue models. Change will be required to run content production teams as tightly-controlled P&L centers, without sacrificing creativity.
This requires new skills. It requires digital and technical specialists, combined with data scientists. Just a few short years ago, it would have been hard to imagine these experts at the same table with content production teams. Now they’ve to learn to speak each other’s languages.
The production teams who embrace media tech the best will, I am confident, be the ones best able to maximize their companies’ core investments and pivot wisely to whatever future they desire.