A single system of truth for your rights data will avoid issues, increase productivity and can even up your bottom line. 

How many pieces of media do you own or manage? Depending on the size of your enterprise, it could be thousands, or even hundreds of thousands. 

Now, the more important question. Is your rights management data for all of this content streamlined? Better yet, do you have a single source of data, or are you still working off of siloed information and cross-referencing spreadsheets between departments? 

If you answered the latter, then it’s high time to modernize. Read on to find out why employing a single-source rights management software won’t only just overhaul your organization in terms of efficiency, but it may also extend the lifespan of your archived content – and ultimately, up your bottom line. 

Rights Matter

Rights Management is one of the most essential parts of media and entertainment in the modern age. Without it, negotiating film distribution, securing licensing agreements or even simply selling an ebook would be downright impossible. Yet for being such an essential part of the biz, too many rights management systems are downright archaic. 

A 2019 Global Data Transformation Survey by McKinsey Analytics reported that “an average of 30 percent of their total enterprise time was spent on non-value-added tasks because of poor data quality and availability.” In other words, 30% of employees’ time is being wasted trying to cross referencing spreadsheets while trying to get business done – practically a faux pas in the digital age. 

Insisting on separate departmental data sheets is apt to lead to employee confusion, decrease productivity and ultimately deter potential profits. The rights to your media should be managed from a single source of truth to avoid confusion, missed opportunities and even legal battles.

A Single Source of Truth

It might sound a bit like we’re preaching, but a single source of truth doesn’t have a religious ring here. It simply means that all of the information surrounding a piece of media – from the title metadata to the financial components – be aggregated into a single system or piece of software that can adequately manage and update the content across all of your departments. 

Imagine that your distribution data was separate from your financial data. Every time you wanted to make a deal with a piece of media, you’d need to cross reference your two data systems (although most companies admit to really having three to five data sources.) That’s opening the door to potentially costly human error. 

You could end up selling a VOD license to an archived indie film in a country for less than it’s worth – or even worse, selling distribution rights that another distributor already owns – and all due to a simple spreadsheet error. 

Creating a single source of truth will avoid such costly errors by ensuring that everyone is working off of the same data, whether they’re negotiating deals, distribution or licensing agreements, paying royalties or the like. With single source rights management software you don’t need to verify information between departments, which means that things will get done more efficiently and with a smaller margin of error. 

It also means you’re less likely to miss out on lucrative opportunities.

Mapping Potential

One of the great things that technology has brought to the entertainment industry is the ability to map out the licensing future of a piece of content, and optimize its earning potential – or better yet, to know when to pull media out of the archives. 

“With a dramatic reduction in the amount of live content, broadcasters and other content creators are seeking to monetise ‘back-catalogue’ material more effectively,” wrote David Davies in a 2020 IBC article

Resurrecting media from the archives became one of the main ways M&E companies looked to help their bottom line during the pandemic. Thanks to an ever growing amount of digital data, predictive analytics can help intelligent managers make decisions about which content has a new found earning potential, and where it could best be licensed .

Yet companies can miss out on profitable opportunities if their rights management system isn’t streamlined. Without a single source of information, it’s difficult to reference VOD deals for multiple pieces of media across the globe. A newer product manager might overlook licensing a film for two extra months in Europe, for example, simply for not having the up-to-date contract information at the fingertips. Small mistakes like that can add up to hundreds of thousands in missed profits.

Investing in the Future

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the media and entertainment industry to make some drastic changes. Premieres were pushed back; low budget films fast-tracked; blockbusters released online first; and across the board content was pulled from the archives and re-sold with gusto. 

While some of these choices (like Warner Bros deal with HBO Max to premiere their 2021 heavy hitting titles online) were questionable, others, like studios heading on buying sprees for book rights, were backed up by analytic data from single source software. 

Predictive analytics allows producers and studios to forecast what content could become a future hit – or in this case, which books are best poised to translate into feature films. Single source rights management software can allow insight into what previous titles audiences have responded to, calculate their earnings both nationally and internationally, and follow what posterior licensing deals a piece of media entered into. With the data to back them studios can, for example, buy up the rights to the best potential earning books at pandemic prices, and save them for future projects. Having up-to-date data at their fingertips gives execs the insight they need to make fast paced decisions in the ever-changing entertainment landscape – insight that’s even more relevant in these unpredictable pandemic times.

Stay up to date

Single source rights management software helps you to avoid confusion and potential missed opportunities. They work to bridge the gaps in internal communication and are essential to a modern business functioning, as explained by Thomas H. Davenport, a Professor in Management and Information Technology and a research fellow at MIT, in the Harvard Business Review. 

“Not having [a single source of truth] can lead to chaos. One large industrial company we studied had more than a dozen data sources containing similar supplier information, such as name and address. But the content was slightly different in each source,” Explains Davenport. “The single source of truth allowed managers to identify suppliers that were selling to multiple business units within the company and to negotiate discounts. In the first year, having a single source of truth yielded $75 million in benefits.”

If your licensing agreements aren’t on a rights management software that acts as a single source of truth, it’s highly probable that you’ll miss out on similar profits, or even muck up some details during contract negotiations and end up in legal hot water.  

An ideal rights management software should encompass all of your media’s data onto a single source of truth. Especially in today’s world where archived content is becoming more and more valuable and the ability to predict future hits is an essential part of business, a streamlined rights management system is going to set some M&E companies apart from the pack.