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As a Digital Strategist working within Media & Entertainment I often hear customers express frustration over having more data than they know what to do with. If you can relate, what a wonderful problem to have given data truly is the new currency of this digital age. I believe the problem is best flipped to ask what is needed to position a media organization as a data-driven digital-first business operationally optimizing every decision with meaningful intelligence and algorithmic insight.

As a business, when truly planning and forecasting for digital optimization as part of overall growth strategy, data is the central tenant of enablement.

This rings true even more so for the Media Industry uniquely impacted by COVID-19 as the world shuttered closed. When we now look at life and workplace redefined by the pandemic, the industry is poised for dramatic rebound and transformation. If not out of necessity, then for sheer survival as more consolidation is forecasted ahead.

chart, bar chart, funnel chartLockdown proved the need for a constant refresh of entertainment for all of us hankering for escapism during these challenging past two years. Mega trends arose with consumers hungry for at-home binge worthy content, social media became increasingly more important as a connector to the ‘outside’ world and gaming became a staple for enthusiasts across the globe. And as the box office, theme parks, sporting arenas, and music venues reopen, several key and critical factors will determine not only survival but the ability to thrive in this new normal world with digital leading the way.

  1. Audit your data estate. A data audit allows for a deep microscopic view of disparate data silos that most likely exist across various divisions of an organization. This is a foundational step in bringing those silos together in a secure environment with company-wide governance in order to activate business optimization, operational efficiencies, disruptive innovation, faster speed to insight and better ways of engaging customers.
  2. Build a platform, not a gate. Once the burdensome need for a deep data audit is addressed, most organizations realize the need to consolidate, modernize and optimize by building a tech intense roadmap or what we refer to as cloud scale analytics. Cloud scale analytics deploy a set of big-data solutions that help gather, store, process, analyze, and visualize data of any volume, variety, or velocity, all by realizing the power of the cloud.

Microsoft is clear on our position pertaining to customer data and the ownership of that data. Our success relies on our customer’s success by securely protecting their data and data estate, not gating nor profiting from it.

Only when an organization’s data effectively resides on a single platform that informs the entire organization, can a customer realize modern business intelligence that drives data driven decision making. By working with a cloud-based low latency platform that enables extracting intelligence seamlessly, anyone within the organization is able to connect to data while performing unique modeling, digestible visualization, and deliver actionable insights.

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The Microsoft BI platform offers the flexibility that organizations need to transition to Modern BI on their terms.

These steps are true cloud enablement that not only better serve the organization operationally but more importantly help interpret emerging trends with front end consumers and customer wants and needs. Whether on-premises, hybrid, or entirely in the cloud, harnessing the elasticity and power of data and artificial intelligence (AI) presents new opportunities for each business domain and organization to improve the speed and accuracy of how data is modeled, governed, and abstracted from the underlying platform that enables revenue growth and cost efficiency.

  1. Find the pulse of your audience. Segmentation and mobility are a reality more so than ever before, as are new consumer habits that will likely remain, if not increase, post-pandemic. Traditional media companies now find themselves in new and emerging markets with the explosion of virtual reality, gaming, celebrity generated posts and social influencers as well as every day folks producing very engaging and addicting content on Snap, Reels, TikTok and countless others. The quest to find an audience of one is even more elusive and fan engagement is increasingly competitive.

The development of faster and more reliable networks, especially the extensive rollout of 5G, will certainly drive the need for more immersive content. Even more so, given the accelerated pace of the Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices becoming ubiquitous to our everyday lives, the upside for Media is to serve content on any device any where be it in our connected homes, cars, workplace or favorite entertainment venues.

bar graphAccording to Statista, “The total installed base of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices worldwide is projected to amount to 30.9 billion units by 2025, a sharp jump from the 13.8 billion units that are expected in 2021, almost 4 IoT devices per person on average.” Embracing this new paradigm is a crucial opportunity for Media and Entertainment especially as more platforms emerge hungry for content.

The industry has proven itself to be resilient with remote broadcasts, virtual productions, streaming platforms launched, and sporting events won, all during a very disruptive time in history. Business signals from operational data telemetry coupled with consumer behaviors, captured and visualized, enable more interpretable and meaningful insights that will drive the future. Those insights will help redefine end-to-end content creation and omnichannel distribution; empower employees and workplaces; better connect remote studio workers on location; and enable more seamless collaboration cross-teams and cross-divisions.

Technology and tech intensity has played a vital role, and will continue to do so, in how Media & Entertainment defines itself going forward. Consumers are no longer solely voyeuristic but active participants in content creation and distribution. As that power paradigm shifts, it certainly gives pause. Data, in all of its facets, will help dictate market longevity, true innovation, and rich, loyal customer interactions almost anywhere on the planet and beyond.

Microsoft empowers media and entertainment organizations to achieve more with our powerful and flexible development platforms supported by a comprehensive partner ecosystem with industry-leading solutions for creativity, collaboration, content management, audience insights, and personalized customer experiences.

Learn more about intelligent media and entertainment to see how the capabilities of solutions from Microsoft and our partners have optimized workflows, streamlined content delivery, and deepened audience engagement for the likes of Digital Domain, Waave, Wunderman+Thompson, the NFL, LaLiga, and Thomson Reuters.