It’s clear that the future of VOD distribution is smart and autonomous,

but at this point, distributors are flying blind.

One of the gold plated promises of digital is that it is meant to join everything up. When every asset and every micro-facet of an asset is data it can be searched, aggregated, linked into fresh patterns of insight and action for ultra-smooth real-time operation.

It’s time to kill this sacred cow.

Far from running on sophisticated software that offers full visibility and therefore control over where your TV show and movie property is, let alone who is buying it and for how much, the digital distribution business is in the dark ages.

Business strategies are being determined today with an assumption that distribution will be straightforward but this seriously underestimates the complexity required to deliver on the increasing customisation of content.

Imagine examining a spreadsheet for multiple different VOD stores in every one of 100 marketplaces and trying to divine acute business rules. Simply seeing all your titles in one place would be a benefit.

Then you have to manage the catalogue, updating pricing and availability as a baseline, across all those stores globally. A typical studio with 250-500 titles might employ two people taking two days a week simply to keep on top of this.

Easy to imagine then the sheer amount of value being left on the table. Let alone the errors – sadly inevitable where human calculations are involved – the inefficiencies built into this reactive supply chain is costing the entertainment industry at least 10% in revenue annually.

Quick ready reckoner: that’s billions of dollars. Lost.

Without the ability to interrogate sales data, cross-reference prices, and update availability with a workflow that makes this transparent and real-time there is no way you can optimise your sales. That doesn’t just hurt the studio or the operator’s bottom line but it directly impacts on talent with a stake in their own IP. Alarmingly, this is modus operandi for virtually the entire supply chain today. Being able to easily curate content, analyse sales and spontaneously react to the market should be table stakes.

Content owners, including studio majors, want insights. They need to understand in real time, who is watching their video and how are they consuming it.

Data has to flow back and today it does not. There is no standard communication of the viewing data from the store or the operator back to the content owner. Any such information is principally delivered in analogue by Excel.

As the connected consumer demands more, the only way to meet their needs is with adaptive, data-driven strategies. The way content is described and it’s artwork looks, how it is priced and positioned, when it’s consumed, where it’s consumed, by what means – all of these factors need to be tracked and shared across the supply chain in real time, so content owners and operators can drive the most value from their content.

It’s clear that the future of VOD distribution is smart and autonomous, but at this point distributors are flying blind.

It’s time to drive inefficiencies from the system and take back control of your IP assets.