UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Timothy Sheehy, assistant VP of media and entertainment for digital and IT services specialist Birlasoft, puts the state of moving workflows to the cloud simply: “A new battleground is emerging in media and entertainment, and it revolves around audience insight. And in the arms race is for audiences, the most intelligent armies are going to win.”
Speaking May 23 at the HITS Spring event, Sheehy and Birlasoft’s Kiran Chirra, senior director of M&E delivery, and Raghu Seetharam, global head of CRM and SaaS technologies, shared insights into how intelligent SaaS technologies that move workflows to the cloud can deliver benefits at every level, from pre-production to post, and distribution to syndication. Their presentation — “RIP Sneakernet: Cloud-Enabled Workflows for Complex M&E Environments” — offered ideas on how to navigate the complexity and variety of options in today’s cloud-enabled workflow world.
“We have been working with the major studios for a long time and what we are seeing more than ever is a desire for integrated solutions that run on common platforms as much as possible,” Sheehy said. “The days of bolting things together and hoping they will somehow work are over.”
During and after Birlasoft’s HITS Spring breakout session, the company discussed rational approaches to cloud migration for the industry, and the idea that the transition to cloud-enabled workflows and systems is a process, one that continuously evolves. The company’s TruCLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) platform looks to address uncertainties for studios, by solving a central business problem around the very complex and labor-intensive process of contract management, offering a streamlined, automated and cloud-enabled workflow in the business and legal affairs departments.
“It can be applied across the entire ecosystem for a studio, a network, a streaming service or a digital distribution platform,” Sheehy said. “So we are now extending the solution approach into a true end-to-end idea-to-air workflow enabler.”
Another thorny area for the industry has long been production deliverables management, he added, especially when a network or a studio is working with third-party production companies, trying to get everything in order to get a show on the air. Birlasoft’s TruDMS (Deliverables Management System) platform generated conversations at HITS Spring around the capabilities that all sides — studios, networks and producers — are looking for, Sheehy said.
“A mobilized and cloud-platformed anywhere, anytime’ solution that will enable all the decision-makers involved in the production to get and stay on the same page,” he said of the offering. “See what needs to be shot, how it’s shooting, when it’s coming in, how it’s coming in, what it needs or doesn’t need, and then being able to send that over to post in a seamless, integrated workflow.
“Someone we talked to said it was ‘Production Tylenol. Fixed the headache.’ I liked that.”
The audience insight puzzle is something the industry has been trying to solve for years, and there may never be a perfect solution, Sheehy said. But it was gratifying him and his team to see interest and enthusiasm around his company’s when we presented the TruFAN enterprise audience insights platform.
“Studios, content creators and media and entertainment companies are faced with the imperative of truly getting to know their audiences, who they are, what they like, how they are consuming their content and how to reach them and monetize the relationship,” he said. “In the not-to-distant past, that wasn’t possible. Today, the old one-to-many relationship model of creator to audience has been replaced by a one-to-one model, where creators have the ability to connect intimately and immediately to their audiences. TruFAN is a platform that enables that interaction to take place.”
The service allows content owners to aggregate and make sense of both historical date and current trends, and use that insight to discern where tastes, and consumer spend, is going, and potentially critical tool for greenlighting and marketing decision-making.
“Our contention is that if you can achieve that in a media and entertainment environment, you’ll have more hits and fewer misses when it comes to deciding where, and in what, to invest,” Sheehy said.
“The numbers speak for themselves: 80% of films don’t make money. 64% of TV shows are cancelled after one season, or don’t make it to a full season and cancelled in-flight. Think about the financial impact of that and how much better life would be if those numbers were reversed.
“Today, we may not be able to create a complete reversal, but with better audience insights , we as an industry can sure do a lot better than that.”
HITS Spring was presented by Entertainment Partners, with sponsorship by LiveTiles, 5th Kind, Amazon Web Services, Birlasoft, Exactuals, Expert System, MarkLogic, Microsoft Azure, Richey May Technology Solutions, SoftServe, Spark Digital, Avanade, CDSA, Cinelytic, EIDR, MicroStrategy, Signiant, the Trusted Partner Network, human-I-T, and Zaszou IT Consulting.
The event was produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), in association with Women in Technology: Hollywood (WiTH); CDSA; and the Smart Content Council.