A Guest Post by Eric Stein of Impact Global Media

Media industry operations are changing. Everything from how films are handled in post production to the way consumers access the finished product have completely transformed in the digital age. 

For some, the transition has been a difficult one. Instead of selling physical units to brick and mortar stores, media companies are now responsible for running digital distribution businesses, focused on licensing rights across a multitude of platforms and regions, licensing rights to third parties or even more of a shift – selling directly to consumers. It’s not even close to the same business model as before, and many organizations are having to implement changes to their distribution structure on-the-fly. Unfortunately, applying best practices from your brick-and-mortar business to a digital distribution one isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need a new strategy. 

There are plenty of details you’ll have to hone when making the transition into digital media, but here are the top three pieces of the puzzle that are absolutely essential to have on your side.

Licensing Deals in Place

Your licensing deals need to be spot on in the digital age. Sometimes these deals can have the simplicity of a single, global distributor partner, with one streamer, which can limit upside, but minimize certain complexity of windows & contracts. More often, instead of simply licensing to one streamer, by country or by continent-wide distributor, you’re likely to be negotiating multiple licensing deals for each piece of content – in each country or region, on a variety of digital distribution platforms, for individual seasons or episodes, potentially changing month-to-month. 

With so many distribution agreements for a single piece of content you really need to make sure that your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted so your digital distribution plan runs smoothly. Having both an excellent deal manager and an even better rights management software are both essentials to making the digital transition (more on that to come.) 

An Efficient Supply Chain

Once upon a time a supply chain was physical. Films were processed, finalized and recorded onto VHS, Blu-ray or DVD, and the physical product was delivered by truck to a distributor: widgets, units, physical shelf space in stores. 

These days, it’s a bit different. Digital deliveries – be they via Aspera, hard drive, or any of the newer, disruptive technologies – still require an efficient supply chain to operate correctly. A digital media supply chain has to create, manage and deliver digital media from its point of origin to its destination (B2B or B2C, frankly) in a secure fashion. It’s not always the easiest task with so many different destination points to deliver to, and hackers constantly stalking the internet for vulnerable content they can steal. 

In the digital age, you need to make sure your supply chain is delivering assets, metadata, and artwork files cost effectively in an air-tight fashion across digital channels, so that your valuable new releases aren’t falling prey to bootleggers.

Innovative Marketing Strategy

Marketing in the digital age is a whole new ball field. Previously, most media companies worked in the B2B space, but for many leaning forward in the digital transition, that’s no longer the case. B2B communication is completely different to selling directly to consumers, and many marketing departments have struggled to make the transition.

Branding, for example, is one of the new essentials for media companies. In the great war of the streamers, it may be one of the main means to set yourself apart from the crowd. With so many streamers in the field (and new ones being added every day), how can you make your brand instantly recognizable and desirable to consumers? Perhaps more importantly, how to cultivate the audience in such a way that manages churn?

Many media companies will need to have a complete overhaul in their marketing department to make it happen. You can’t be afraid of big changes if you want to remain competitive in this brave new world.

The Secret Sauce

There is a fourth, even more essential item – the glue that holds it all together. Your intellectual property rights and licensing agreements need to all be recorded in one place, in a way that’s easily accessible between departments and updated to the minute. You’re not going to be able to manage a digital transition on the back of traditional excel sheets or weak databases – those legacy systems can’t handle the complexity of the global marketplace, linear rollouts, new media, digital products or the multitude of platforms that exist in the digital marketplace currently.

You need a rights management software that tells you exactly what intellectual property rights you own for each brand or business that you operate – whether it be art, films or other content – and gives you an overview of how you can best exploit them to the ultimate profit. Navigating these queries and getting answers is only possible if you have a modern, scalable rights management solution. 

Getting your legacy media operation transitioned into the digital age isn’t easy, but it’s also not an impossible feat. With the right team in place, excellent consultants on your side and the best rights management software for your business, it’s definitely possible to make a smooth – and ultimately profitable – transition into the world of digital media distribution.