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Part 1 – How to Scale up your VoD Operations: What Tools of the Trade are Stunting your Growth

Over the last 12 years, the VoD market has enjoyed significant and consistent growth, driven by widespread take-up of connected devices and – in the last couple of years – by shifts in consumer habits accelerated by the pandemic. This upward trend is predicted to continue unabated.

Whilst this is great news for the industry, it poses a challenge for Ops teams who are responsible for supporting the delivery of the services and facilitating their growth. Not only do they need to get more content through their digital supply chains, they also need to remain nimble in a fast-changing media landscape.

Having analysed the range of projects we’ve worked on, we’ve identified a typical organisational journey – and it starts with spreadsheets! Moving on to in-house software development, before embracing productised solutions.

So let’s talk about spreadsheets…. on paper, tools like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets look suitable for scheduling content, managing rights, preparing and distributing metadata. And perhaps, early on in an organisation’s journey, they are. They offer a simple user interface for the creation of data catalogues that can be easily manipulated and updated. With no business logic out of the box, they offer teams the flexibility to bend them to their will.

However, data stored in applications with no business logic to validate its sanity produces all sorts of weird and wonderful errors. Manual effort for ops teams grows exponentially as new territories and new business models need to be supported. Unstructured data representing plans, schedules and metadata remains siloed in spreadsheets – instead of flowing and informing all parts of the business that need it. Answering simple questions requires searching multiple emails and spreadsheets and worse, by the time you have found the answer, it’s likely the information you have is already out of date. Is it any wonder teams get overwhelmed?

Inevitably such operational issues will start to threaten the running of the business. And at this point a plan is usually concocted to take the pressure off Ops teams, typically the development of an in-house system. Watch this space for Part 2 in our series of How to Scale up your VoD operations: Enter In-House Systems Development – coming Thursday 26th May.