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Not Everything Is a Nail

utility hammer vs. premium screwdriver

Across our industry, media organizations persist in treating all assets as though they are the same: equally important and equally valuable. If all you have is a hammer, you might be forgiven for thinking everything’s a nail. But is a tentpole series really the same as a syndicated gameshow?

No. And it shouldn’t be treated as such. Nor should an early morning rerun be treated like a hit movie. Instead, content should be tiered so that its economic value aligns with the type and cost of tool used to process it.

When organizations tie their business systems to their supply chain and allow those systems to describe each asset to the supply chain, then the supply chain can put assets through processes that are commensurate with the returns expected.

Aligning Asset Handling with Asset ROI

In the old television model, the goal of 100% technical accuracy 100% of the time drove how content was handled. This approach treated every single asset as identical and, as a consequence, the work done was identical. The care, the feeding, the concern, the checking, the validating — they were the same for every asset. No matter what that asset was, it was treated as if every asset attracted the same viewership and generated the same revenues.

Now that media organizations have embraced supply chain technology, however, they have access to supply chain metrics and reporting. Seeing this data, they’ve begun to realize that not every asset needs to be — or should be — handled exactly the same way. Some assets can be pushed through with low touch, while others should be guided with much more care and attention.

white glove holding a media fileIf, for example, an incoming asset is described as a high-ROI asset, then you might use high-value tools to process it. You might take a white glove approach. Perhaps you’d run the asset through automated QC but then, because it’s so important, assign an operator to review it just as a double-check. For issue remediation, you might choose to use specialized tools to address minor imperfections discovered during these checks. But you also have assets that won’t generate as high an economic return, and for them your supply chain might run an automated QC process and leave it at that. It’s a no-touch asset; you never have a human look at it unless the automated tool flags something that needs attention.

For every one of these assets, information from your business systems can inform the actions your supply chain takes in working with that content. Supply chain behaviors can be orchestrated to match the asset’s expected ROI.

Content Tiering: Meeting Different Needs

In past blog posts, we have talked about how understanding “resources per output asset per time” can drive efficiency and make a positive impact on the bottom line. We’ve discussed the value of metadata in the supply chain (and also technical metadata in the supply chain) with the Rally media supply chain management platform. We’ve covered edit in the supply chain, localization in the supply chain, and machine learning (ML) in the supply chain as well.

All these discussions focus on how to make supply chains more efficient. Possibly even more compelling: the impact of bringing business systems into the supply chain too. As media organizations begin to leverage business system data to inform their supply chains, we’re starting to see this process at work.

In almost every industry, 20% of the product drives 80% of the revenues. Media is similar: 20% of the content drives 80% of the viewership (and hence, revenues). Some content is viewed by millions of people, while other content is hardly viewed at all. Why, then, process all content the same way? Smart media operations leaders are factoring in these dynamics as part of their supply chain management, building discrete supply chains that align the work and the tools with the asset’s viewership expectations.

When you align the tool and attention given to an asset with the ROI of that asset, you achieve a whole new level of efficiency. Some Rally users now are doing just that by connecting business systems — a rights system, a scheduling system, an ordering system — to their supply chain systems. These organizations are applying expectations for content viewership as a determinant of the work performed on particular assets.

As this occurs, we’re seeing media organizations think more about tiering of content — high engagement versus low engagement. This approach is driving a need for the operations staff to understand the ROI of the content. It also underscores the need for a supply chain platform that can interpret that information and make intelligent decisions about which path to send content down.

If your supply chain is data-driven, it can pick the optimal path based on the expected returns from the content, or on other business rules defined for that content so that, for example, it meets the requirements of a particular region or partner. This model will become easier and easier for organizations to embrace as upstream systems begin to capture economic or consumer value information that can then be passed downstream to the supply chain systems that are doing the actual work on the content.

Leveraging Your Supply Chain Platform

One of the most significant benefits of working with Rally is that it gives you the ability to build multiple supply chains to support your media operations. These supply chains can mix and match tools to best suit both the asset and job. You can intelligently allocate supply chain activity in any way you want. And with information from the business side of your organization, you’re better equipped to choose and apply the right supply chain. You don’t have to treat every asset like a nail, pulling out a hammer to bang on it. Rather, you can tailor the work and the degree of human touch to match the business value and/or rules associated with each asset.

If you’re treating everything the same, you’re bound to mistreat high-ROI assets and to over-process assets that don’t need as much engagement. As a result, you’re either compromising where you shouldn’t, or spending too much on an asset with relatively low return. If the goal of supply chain optimization is to appropriately match cost and effort to economic value, then bringing business system information into the decision engine is a no-brainer. It’s already driving tremendous efficiency gains for Rally users, and it can for you too.

Interested in seeing this model at work? Contact our experts to learn how to leverage data from your business systems to drive even greater supply chain efficiency.

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