And why having a quality rights management platform matters

There is incredible competition in the OTT and streaming market these days, with new streaming services popping out of the woodwork seemingly daily. Streaming and OTT servicers are proving themselves as a profitable business model, and just about everyone is trying to get in the game. The more streamers launch, the more that competition opens up, and the war for providing the best content at the ideal price point begins.

And now you’re looking to join in the game, aren’t you?

In order to launch a successful streaming service, you need a huge media library filled with quality content that is constantly evolving. One of the main ways that streamers compete for viewership is via the content they provide. Disney+ can probably attest its rapid success (nearly 95 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2021) to the fact that it provides an exceptionally large content library filled with classic films and fan favorites (what parent doesn’t want instant access to all their children’s favorite movies in pandemic times?)

Many streamers even produce their own content, gaining respect and increased viewership for award winning in-house content – think House of Cards, The Handmaiden’s Tale or The Queen’s Gambit. 

However the amazing content you have is only as good as your system for managing it. 

If you’re looking to launch a streaming service, you’re going to have to get the logistics right to have any chance of competing with the top dogs. That means having the right data management structure to support a deep and varied content library with constantly rotating titles. Read on to find out more about some of the aspects your rights management system needs to have in order to successfully launch a streaming service.

A Single Source of Truth

One of the major pain points about legacy rights management systems is that the date simply doesn’t always match up across the board. If there’s a change made in legal, it could take days or even weeks before the same change is made in accounting. Having to constantly cross-reference spreadsheets isn’t just a pain -it’s a time-consuming practice that slows your company down and opens you up to possible errors. 

Any quality rights management platform that you might use to operate a streaming service works as a single source of truth – a centralized data hub that instantly updates rights data across departments when any changes are made. It also stores original contract data and historical IP usage is stored for easy reference, from any department. Without a centralized hub for your data, running a streaming service is essentially impossible. 

Instant Access to Rights Availability 

The logistics needed to manage a streaming platform are extensive. Besides the need for multi-departmental updates to be applied instantaneously, You also need to have a solid handle on what rights you own for what content: from exactly when-to-when, and in what locations across the globe.

This isn’t a question of having a good idea. A streaming service requires that your content rights are updated to the minute – if a piece of content remains online for one hour too long in the wrong country, you could be in contract violation – a serious offence for a fledgling streamer. 

Automatic Alerts

Similarly, if something gets removed before it’s rights period is up, or the renewal option for a well-performing piece of content slips by, you could be losing valuable viewers and potential signups. A reputable rights management software will keep track IP expirations and options periods, automatically alerting you on the platform or via email of essential upcoming dates, so that you have plenty of time to act without missing out. 

Data tracking

One of the most interesting things about OTT services is how they allow content owners to track what shows are watched, by who, where, and for how long. This is an essential insight into user consumption habits that was never possible before the existence of OTTs. This sort of data allows both studios, producers and streamers themselves to better understand what sort of content is likely to be a hit with their user base, and adjust their offerings to provide – or even create – more of it. 

System Automations

Many of the tasks that you would normally throw to an intern, a high-class rights management system will automate. This removes the need for extra main hours, or the risk of human error. When you’re adding an entire TV series to the docket for example, management software should automatically build out seasons and episodes, avoiding the normal copy-paste headaches and ensuring there are no errors. 

These sorts of automation features are essential when it comes to launching or maintaining a streaming platform. Streamers host huge amounts of content, and being able to automate tasks ensures that you don’t need a huge amount of humans checking rights details for you day and night.

Customizable API

Not all OTTs are created equal, and recognizing that each company is different and has a different way to work is one of the essential qualities of a great rights management software. Trying to fit your company’s legacy rights management data into a highly specific template might not work out as well as you would hope – unless said template is customizable to fit your company’s data and way of working.

True, multi-tenant rights management softwares should be fully customizable so that your data remains true to your business, and your team doesn’t have to learn new in-house terminology, for example, while simultaneously launching a new project. A good rights management software exists to make work easier for you, ensuring that your journey to streamer-hood is a smooth success. 

The streaming wars are becoming ruthless. Nearly every media company – from NBC to Apple to Disney – have launched their own streaming services. Legacy companies have the advantage of promoting their own streamers via empty ad space on their traditional channels, while new streamers struggle to compete amongst the noise. 

Yet for those who are ready to get their own OTT off the ground, getting their data onto a high-quality rights management system is an essential first step in the process. Without it, you’ll just end up another streamer, lost in the crowd.