Posted by: Himanshu Agarwal

An Introduction to Outsourcing in Media & Entertainment Industry

When we speak of Media and Entertainment (M&E) Industry, we view it as a monolithic block, but its multiple segments combine it into a single industry vertical. Some of the M&E segments we typically interact with are – over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services, broadcast networks, cable television, books, magazines, newspapers, internet media, video games, e-sports, out-of-home advertising (for example, billboards, and street furniture), music, radio, and theme parks.

Some of these segments such as radio and print have existed for over a century now. The ever-transforming nature and co-existence of old and new makes the M&E industry unique. While we still use terrestrial radios and their curated programming, we’ve also seen the emergence and maturing of music streaming apps with playlists tailored to each individual. The same applies to the terrestrial broadcast networks, cable networks, and OTT.

Outsourcing trends are also unique to each segment of M&E and demonstrate varying degrees of maturity. Publishing industry (especially Scientific, Technical & Medical aka STM) has been an early adopter (circa 1980s), retaining only core functions such as authoring & rights management, and outsourcing other functions to specialist suppliers. At the other end of the spectrum are the M&E segments and organizations who are late adopters and are now starting to outsource their non-core functions such as customer service.

Some of the factors that influence outsourcing decisions are cost reduction, focus on the core, solve for capacity issues, and improve service offerings.

While in the initial stages, the M&E companies outsourced non-core back-office operations (for example, customer service, finance & accounting, and payroll), today the industry is gravitating towards outsourcing processes which require specialization, for example, storyboarding & copywriting, subtitling & closed captioning, digital asset/content management, metadata research, and digital transformation.

Outsourcing partners for the M&E industry are focussed on developing deep domain expertise in M&E coupled with digital transformation capabilities, enabled by trifecta of Automation, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This allows M&E companies to concentrate on their core business of creating and distributing content that their subscribers’ demands.

In the last few years and accelerated by COVID-19, analytics too has come into sharp focus both as an in-house capability and as a potential candidate for an outsourced function. This is to ensure that decisions to create content are tightly knit to deep insights on consumer preferences in the new normal. The real-time feedback enables measuring of consumers’ responses to film previews, social sentiments, and in-home consumption patterns. Third party data can be integrated into the analysis to look into segments that are unexplored, and to find and evaluate indirectly influencing factors.

Increasingly, outsourcing partners are also supporting social media and other digital properties of M&E companies. For example, social media management, moderation of user generation content/comments, ad operations, and labelling/annotation of datasets for the AI/ML training.

While outsourcing foundations in M&E industry were laid with non-core back office operations, it is evident that both M&E organizations across segments and their outsourcing partners have since graduated. Outsourcing partners are ever increasing their services portfolio and vertically integrating their capabilities to deliver impeccable experiences to the subscribers and advertiser clients of M&E companies.

Author:

Himanshu Agarwal

Himanshu Agarwal leads the Media and Entertainment practice within the Business Transformation Services or BTS function at Tech Mahindra BPS. He has over 18 years of experience in Information Technology, Business Process Services and Media & Entertainment industry verticals. He has partnered with global clients to deliver engagements with successful business outcomes around value chain optimization of their core M&E Assets and Processes using digital levers of – BPM, Cloud, Mobility, Web Technologies, Automation and Big Data.