Digital transformation = increased expectations for media & entertainment


Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA --- Image by © 2/Ocean/CorbisConsumers want content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all around the world. It's a tall order for media & entertainment (M&E) companies and a 180 degree shift from days past. How do they provide enough content to meet demand?

Audiences are binge watching over-the-top (OTT) programming, creating enormous pressure to create engaging storytelling, while managing international distribution through multiple channels and securing content.

It's digital transformation, and it was one of the foremost topics at MESA’s Hollywood IT Society (HITS) summit last week in Los Angeles.

Incumbent studios vs. digital disruptors

In the M&E business we see two camps. First you have the players that have dominated the entertainment industry for 100 years, including Sony, Fox, Warner Brothers, Disney, Paramount and NBC Universal. In the second camp, you have the digital disruptors like Netflix, Google and Amazon.

Not surprisingly, the digital disruptors have strong data management capabilities, cloud-based centralized data, sophisticated content recommendation engines, teams of data scientists and limited data silos.

The incumbent studios are just the opposite. They're still operating in silos with TV, film and distribution run by separate groups, all with separate IT and data sets. They strongly desire a holistic data-driven view of audiences, but are struggling with where to begin and how to bridge the silos to compete with the digital players.

Is there a power shift brewing in the M&E space? If so, what can players do to protect their turf? The answer is most certainly analytics. Analytics on audiences, content, anti-piracy and data security to name just a few.

For me, attending the HITS summit confirmed this, for sure! Almost every topic was focused on analytics. Michael Smith, professor of information technology and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University even compared the Studios to where casinos (like Harrahs) were 10-15 years ago. He specifically gave the example of how Gary Loveman transformed Harrah’s and the casino industry by investing in analytics on their loyalty program and all the data they collect on patrons.

Where to start?

So where do the incumbents begin? Well, some already have by creating a centralized Analytics Center of Excellence that spans all the silos using multiple applications, including ones created using open systems.

Since data scientists are hard to come by and typically like to work together, this approach works well. But at the same time, it's important to democratize analytics and get more data in the hands of many to spawn innovation. And this can be onsite or in the cloud.

With SAS, M&E companies can take a traditional onsite approach to analytics, or a cloud-based, open approach with SAS Viya. SAS Viya gives M&E companies a cloud-based, unified, powerful and open approach to analytics for everyone from data scientists to business analysts and citizen data scientists.

At SAS, we see many customers using open systems for analytics, but if speed to results is the goal, or if it's customer facing, a packaged application becomes the better option.

I hope you'll be interested in learning more about game-changing analytics. In the meantime, here are some interesting sound bytes from the Data Analytics panelists at HITS (included BI and analytics executives from Viacom, Warner Brothers and Disney):

  • “Information is centralized. Action is decentralized.”
  • Data science teams need to be run by data scientists.”
  • “Look for ways to marry different data sources.”
  • "Data analytics means being customer focused.”

I couldn't agree more.


About Author

Suzanne Clayton

Principal Product Marketing Manager

Since Suzanne’s start at SAS in 1997, she has been bringing emerging and innovative solutions to the Communications, Media, Entertainment, Travel and Hospitality industries. Currently, she is Principal Product Marketing Manager for Communications, Media and Entertainment, which includes all aspects of product marketing and is a very exciting role! Suzanne gets to work with global customers and team members on addressing critical business issues. Her marketing tasks include: building out new industry specific solutions, developing new positioning, and producing assets to support SAS' sales efforts. Plus, she works with leading analysts and partners to make sure SAS industry solutions are externally supported and validated. Suzanne’s achievements at SAS include bringing the SAS® Patron Value Optimization to the gaming, sports and hospitality industries. Additionally, she was a key driver in bringing to market SAS Revenue Management Price Optimization Analytics for companies seeking a revenue optimization solution that is different than the typical off the shelf systems. Prior to joining SAS, Suzanne held positions at DMB&B and JWT in New York City, both global marketing communications companies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hofstra University. Suzanne lives in Cary NC. She is passionate about her family, her work and her travels, which include adventure travel.

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