Challenges and Opportunities

Besides asking M&E companies whether their audience data is complete, IDC researchers also assessed the level to which the data is timely, trusted, of high quality, actionable, and secure. In each case, less than 40% of companies indicated that they completely agreed that their audience data possesses all these characteristics. Again, there is room for improvement.

Complete agreement with any of these statements about data sets a high standard for the companies evaluated in IDC’s study. But that’s what it takes to create separation between “the best and the rest.” Winning based on analytics, not just competing on analytics, is possible for those willing to invest in the right data, people, technology, and analytics.

Figure 4 shows the correlation between data characteristics and business outcomes. M&E companies that completely agree that their data is Timely, Trusted, or Actionable, experienced audience analytics project results that met or exceeded expectations more frequently than their competitors.

Figure 4: Correlation between Data Characteristics and Business Outcomes

Another challenge is ensuring that investment in data, people, technology, and analytics is allocated to the right initiatives. M&E firms have a number of priorities ranked as shown in the Figure 5. Delivery of innovative content, protection of IP, and increasing revenue from existing content are the top three priorities for M&E companies.

Figure 5: M&E Company Priorities

But M&E companies are not always allocating scarce resources to the appropriate priorities. For example, increasing revenues from already-owned content ranks only 5th to 6th on the list of business benefits achieved. In other words, it’s one of the top priorities, but not one of the top sources of business benefits. One of the ways to improve the alignment of priorities to investment in this particular case is to publish previously aired content on the internet. Our research shows that many M&E companies want to make this process a reality, but due to technical or business challenges haven’t been able to execute on it yet.

Table 1: Ranking Business Benefits

Business Benefits Rank
Improve operational efficiency 1
Obtain new customers/audiences 2 – 3
Deliver innovative content 2 – 3
Protect intellectual property 4
Increase revenues from already-owned content 5 – 6
Personalize the viewer’s experience 5 – 6
Retain existing customers/audiences 7 – 8
Increase advertising revenues 7 – 8

Source: IDC, 2015

Analytics is not only about data and technology. M&E companies also face challenges with audience analytics related to organizational culture and structure. In our study, 40% of respondents who are not executives stated that top managers are very involved in promoting and encouraging the use of big data and analytics solutions for audience analytics.

Among executives themselves, 68% said the same. The difference raises the issue of internal communication and training about the value of analytics and data. It’s one thing to espouse the data-driven decision-making culture; it’s another thing to ensure the culture is effectively communicated throughout the organization, and to ensure that incentives and resources are in place to make it a reality.

Finally, there is the challenge of having the appropriate analytics skills. Much has been talked about in the industry about the shortage of data scientists — those rare individuals with a mix of deep analytical and computer science expertise. Although the value of data scientists is clear, an enterprise also requires related roles for business analysts, data integration experts, technology infrastructure managers, and others. In our study, we found a clear correlation between M&E firms that said they completely possess such skills, and greater business outcomes.

Figure 6: Correlation between Skills and Business Outcomes