Can traditional cable and media companies leverage data to overcome the digital challenge

“The way that we’re consuming what we watch. Netflix, binge-watching, destination agnostic were not terms. It was about networks, times, dates. Even with feature films, you had to see it this way, in this capacity, at this time. All that has changed. Now it’s really about the story. It’s a gift that I became a storyteller at this time.”

Ava DuVernay

This is the new era of digital transformation. Even the world of television and cable production, distribution, and consumption has changed drastically.

In the past, with a limited number of channels, people used to watch news, sport, and entertainment series at specific times of the day based on schedules defined by the media companies.  With the rise of the internet, mobile technologies, and streaming channels, people now have limitless sources of news and entertainment shows. Not only that, people can now choose to get specific news and media channels on various smart devices. This is now one big integrated ecosystem driven by the power of data and IoT.Users can have (and do demand) a seamless experience irrespective of the device they are watching on.

The advent of the digital age has tremendously affected traditional cable and media. Consumer habits have changed. People are now inclined to watch series, entertainment, news, and other content on the internet without any advertisement.They have taken control of the content they watch; a massive shift from when they were fed content on television with loads of advertisements.

This sheer convenience of digital channels has driven a steep fall in the number of customers opting for traditional cable and media options. More and more viewers are turning to digital media due to the variety of options, ease of use, flexibility, and control. Consumers love being able to access content on all kinds of portable media like smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.

There was an initial period of uncertainty when traditional media did not know whether to ignore digital, see it as a threat, or jump on board. But now, the media and entertainment sector has finally started trying out more synergistic strategies. Now the mindset of the media industry is no longer to question how digital transformation is affecting traditional media and cable; the question is how media companies can respond to that and how they can leverage the opportunities presented?To compete in this new ecosystem, new strategies, digital-based solutions, and associated capabilities are essential. Media and cable companies that hesitate now to shift from the conventional way to new digital-based solutions know that they may have to spend years trying to catch up later.

Across all content value chains, media giants have made aggressive bets to change business models, acquire web-based companies, partnerships, and innovate new services. They are beginning to look at the natural advantages their physical and digital relationships with virtually every available household afford them. These companies are looking at their existing relationships with consumers and realizing the true value of the data that can be available to them from those linkages. While they have not traditionally focused on these assets and metrics as much as they could, in the age of transformative competition they are looking at building strategies on a strong data foundation.

Today each media business is just a part of a complex digital ecosystem involving various players including web-based content distributors like Netflix,communication service providers, device manufacturers, gaming platforms, retailers, etc. Acquiring and retaining customers in this highly competitive ecosystem require traditional media and cable companies to determine and identify the assets, skills, and capabilities they must add or develop to be relevant in the new digital market. To successfully compete in this new ecosystem broadcasters, telecommunication, and cable companies are moving from a silo-based approach to a horizontal approach supported by common services and infrastructure. This also helps balance costs.  Media companies are also now leveraging customer feedback continuously in service creation. They are now prepared to experiment with new business models that can pay dividends.

Media companies have a huge amount of data available from each and every household through various social media sites, watch list history, and channel preferences to strengthen their business to customer relationships across all digital channels.They are adopting a clear engagement strategy of aligning traditional content.These strategies are driven by data. Data also supports more sophisticated segmentation, price optimization, and targeted advertising, and, even, increases the success of content commissioning.

Another aspect that media companies have focused on is making IT a core business process.They understand that a robust IT strategy can help them take charge of the digital journey. In a world where legacy video services exist in parallel with IP-based video services, media companies have to operate with broadcast and broadband flexibility. This can be handled and operated at a reduced cost by IT collaboration.

So, in this age of rapid digital transformation, media companies and cables have started moving to high definition and many of the discussions are about 4K and 8K video standards.Television stations have embraced new technology, storage, digital media, and cloud computing for optimizing business processes and marketing. A key technology shift occurred when broadcast TV migrated to a digital signal. This transformation has helped improve the customer experience in various ways. The station can now produce timely and accurate reports faster, giving the audience the freshest information and entertainment. Technologies like cloud-based high-definition video production and cloud-based storage and sharing architectures eliminate many of the challenges and pains associated with reporting news and bringing TV entertainment to a large audience.

Big data and data analytics are key here too.  With analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), improved mobile broadband, etc., television stations can bring faster, more accurate, and more convenient entertainment, engaging content, and news to their viewers. By leveraging data in the digital age, media and cable companies are optimistic about their ability to withstand the competition from digital media to some extent. Of course, media companies must recognize that adopting a new approach to data management is an immediate necessity. It seems clear that broadcasters without customized video content on-demand and print companies without digital books and magazines won’t survive the digital era.