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How leading media companies increase customer value

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Communications Sector, IBM Analytics

Throughout the year, I’ve been participating in a series of day-long “Art of the Possible” sessions with clients that run the gamut of media and entertainment. I’ve met with cable companies, broadcast TV providers, movie studios, sports networks and beyond. These sessions are intense, provocative and always full of eye-opening debates in which we learn a considerable amount from each other.

What I am learning is that there is a clear and present shift from being primarily focused on building an agile digital supply chain that drives operational excellence to a deepening focus on delivering differentiated experiences that increase customer value. The conversations are no longer isolated around questions about improving internal content delivery processes or increasing overall ad sales. More and more, these industry leaders are practically obsessed with deploying solutions that provide a smarter, more relevant, more predictive and highly individualized audience-centric experience.

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Of course, this isn’t to say that these businesses don't have their bottom-line and the interests of employees and shareholders in mind; those other concerns have not been forgotten because of an increased, cross-departmental focus on the individual consumer. On the contrary! All of those internal processes and revenue streams are what feed these new opportunities to acquire, grow and retain viewers, subscribers and fans. This is more than creating new ways for businesses to differentiate themselves and push ahead of the fierce media competition—this is a brave new world of data-driven relevance and personalization that is increasingly consumer required and, depending on the functionality inherent in the system, consumer led.

Providing customer-centric experiences

The discussions I’m having now typically focus on reshaping the customer value proposition in order to deliver innovation at the moment of content consumption. The first thing to consider here is how a media company increases customer value. I usually start by asking “how do you provide differentiated, customer-centric experiences?” Inevitably, the discussion that results from such a question dive into the initial need to identify and integrate all available data to provide an accurate 360 degree view of the customer and establish the information platform for advanced customer analytics. This is where we begin to reveal deep insight into the behavior of today’s increasingly connected customers. This insight enhances the value of media and ensures that media outlets are giving viewers what they want, exactly when and where they want it, regardless of time, channel or device.

Customer-centric marketing enhances the buying experience

These companies must also integrate and execute customer-centric marketing and selling processes to improve operational efficiency and enhance the consumer buying experience. For example, a television broadcaster in Paris gained near real-time data analysis of viewer comments from social media with the goal of anticipating trends and behaviors, and establishing customer-specific profiles to deliver a better, more relevant experience, thereby increasing ratings.

Boosting ratings and anticipating trends

To set the stage, let’s go back to 2012 when a large European broadcasting company held its 57th Annual Eurovision Song Contest, a massive event viewed by more than 100 million people. To boost ratings, they wanted to analyze viewer comments posted on social networking sites about the event, the candidates on the show and the commentators. They also wanted to perform real-time analysis of viewers’ tweets during the show finale.  

By implementing a comprehensive solution which included IBM Cognos and IBM InfoSphere software, France Télévisions gained near real-time data analysis of viewer comments from social media networks, which provide reliable, ready-to-use information. They analyzed, in real time, the following:

  • Over 710,000 tweets
  • Over 255,000 web docs
  • 520,340 clickstreams
  • Messages in 56 languages

With this data now successfully added to preexisting internal sources of data, they can anticipate customer trends and adjust their television programs to meet those needs, as well as establish customer-specific profiles. Almost two years later, they continue to benefit from increased ratings, making it clear that now, more than ever, customer loyalty drives real business performance.

With that being said, I’ll ask you: “how do you provide differentiated, customer-centric experiences?”

I’ll be at IBC in Amsterdam from September 12 through 16 to talk more about this and other related subjects. Come join IBM’s Smarter Media Team in Hall 13, Meeting Suite 22 and let’s see where you want to begin.

For further reading on the new customer-centric approach, check out this new blog from Penny Schlyer on how to become more engaged with your audience using big data and analytics: