MAD Perspectives Blog

The Power of Original Content

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 03, 2017

What did you watch on 'TV' last night? Did you watch it on your TV or on your device? Was it live, recorded or streaming? Actually, it doesn't matter. There is a lot of powerful original scripted content being created and delivered into our homes. Despite the rise of reality TV that is cheaper to produce, consumers are enjoying great dramatic series. Just look at the 2016 Emmys nominees for Best Drama:  Game of Thrones (winner), The Americans, House of Cards, Downton Abbey, Better Call Saul, Mr. Robot and Homeland. These series represent “addictive” content with passionate fans that consume each episode live and on-demand. 

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has noted the rise of content creation in their September 2016 The Future of Television report. The report reflects upon the disruption of the Free-to-Air/Pay TV business model by the s Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) distribution of video via OTT channels. As OTT providers have grown in popularity, so has the demand for flexibility and volume of scripted content. While broadcast TV depends on a combination of scripted, sports and entertainment content, it is the entertainment programming that drives the bulk of broadcaster or Pay TV operator revenue. Additionally, BCG notes the increased value of top tier content, namely sports and scripted or unscripted entertainment content.

Content budgets are on the rise. Netflix has announced an anticipated spend of over $7B on original content creation in 2017. Amazon is on track for the same amount, while broadcasters NBC and CBS will each spend over $4B. It is the lifetime value of scripted content that is not only benefiting the producers and rights holders of that content, but also the consumer.

As a consumer, I find myself recording more broadcast programming even as I stream content online. For me it is about convenience. I can watch this season’s episodes of Scandal live or on-demand, based on my schedule. Or, I can binge watch past seasons of Scandal (as if I could wait that long!) on Netflix. However, content is big business for distributors and rights holders. The traditional broadcast revenue model is dependent on advertising, while content producers generate revenue from licensing. Often the broadcaster (e.g., CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) is also the content producer. Top tier content creates greater long-term revenue than sub-par content.

Of course hugely popular content drives up advertising rates, but it also increases licensing revenue. While advertising revenue is tied to a specific broadcast season, licensing revenue is recurring. For example, the NBC hit Friends, which ran from 1994-2004, is still in syndication. Warner Brothers earns ~$1B per year in syndication rights for Friends. 

Accenture’s The Future of Broadcasting V report notes the economic value of original content. Broadcasters such as the UK’s ITV have shifted their revenue strategies to place more emphasis on content and reduce their dependency on advertising revenue. In 2008, advertising represented almost 69% of ITV’s revenue. By strategic investment in its content production subsidiary, ITV Studios, and acquiring other content production companies, ITV has increased both their domestic and international content licensing revenue. A focused content strategy has diversified their revenue flow and potentially improved their overall financial performance.

Accenture has also found that broadcasters who earn at least 20% of their revenue from content production and licensing outperform peers who rely on ad income alone. They achieve better capital efficiency and larger operating margins. It’s no wonder that content production is on the rise. Libraries of original scripted content not only improve long-term revenue projections, they send a message to consumers about the broadcaster’s commitment to providing their audience with quality content. 

Content IS King.

What's your perspective?





Olympic Inspiration for Innovation

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 03, 2016


Quadrennial sporting events like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup have become benchmarks in how we consume and enjoy live content. The broadcast industry invests in advancing technology and preparation for these events is HUGE. Do other industries have similar events that drive innovation and technological advancement? If we look at other consumer-centric industries like retail or hospitality, we can see industry disruption in the form of e-commerce, online travel sties and e-payments. If we look at financial services, retail banking technology continues to evolve around mobile and online banking. But, there are no significant or recurring events that drive technology innovation.

The Olympics, as an example, drives and inspire technologists and broadcasters to create new ways to engage the viewing audience. Any way to capture a better images, share a more compelling store and encourage incremental viewing is on the table. Broadcasters test technology in advance of these global events. And consumers anticipate how these technologies will enhance their viewing experience.  To be clear, tech advancements around sports are not limited to the broadcast community. Rio was the inspiration for technology such as underwater lap counters, electronic scoring for archery - with accuracy to within .2mm, balloons with high-resolution cameras for security.

However, the technology that enhanced our viewing experience included:

      •      - Drone cameras to provide better view of rowing
  •      - Augmented reality to highlight diving entries into the pool or swimmers setting world record paces
  •      - Virtual reality footage providing Samsung Gear VR users with exclusive immersive experiences
  •      - 4K content provided by NBC to Olympic Broadcast Services partners and NHK in Japan (albeit with a 24 hour delay due to the time it takes to process 4K footage)

In fact, NBC provided more than 6,700 hours of coverage. Yet, only 260 hours were broadcast on linear TV. The rest was streamed at NBCOlympics.com or on the NBC Olympics app. But this discussion is about the technology. What will we see in PyeongChang in 2018? Expect more 4K and even 8K content - particularly as the South Korean and Japanese audiences have been testing distribution throughput.  Expect a strong mobile-centric strategy for sharing content. The U.S east coast is 13 hours behind PyeongChang. There is no hope for live linear TV coverage. Yet, as proven in Rio consumers are more than willing to enjoy content online and on their devices.  I also expect a greater use of IoT technologies and data by and for athletes, judges, broadcasters and consumers.

Are you ready? I can't wait.

What's your perspective?




Clouds Taking Shape For Broadcast & Cable

Peggy Dau - Monday, June 08, 2015

Clouds are a good thing. Really. They are. Especially when they bring opportunity, flexibility and innovation. 

Cloud solutions are making the news on an increasingly regular basis. The M&A activity related to cloud technology is hot as companies throughout the media lifecycle look to the cloud to drive new business models. Whether it is in post-production, the newsroom or cable head-end, cloud is the word. Cloud computing has been the talk of the IT industry for almost 20 years, but it is thanks to Google and Amazon that the terminology, and the technology, is now part of our everyday conversation. Clouds, you remember them - those white fluffy things up in the sky, are flexible and ever shifting. This is the premise behind cloud computing - on demand access to technology resources.

As the media industry increasing adopts IP and IT technology to enable media workflows, live broadcast and content distribution, cloud provides opportunities. In all cases, the consideration of cloud is driven by the need for flexibility without incurring unnecessary cost. Examples of cloud solutions changing the shape of the broadcast and cable industries:

  • Workflows - From content ingest, to transcode, edit, QC, review, and syndication, cloud solutions enable production and post-production teams to collaborate without geographic boundary. Solutions, from vendors such as NativAframe and Forscene, deliver flexibility in orchestrating tasks, resources and people. They simplify upload of footage and stories from remote locations, accelerate the editing process,and improve collaboration. They integrate with established editing solutions, while also forcing those solutions to transition to the cloud themselves.

  • Newsroom - The fast pace of live news requires solutions that allow field reporters to easily upload footage, incorporate user generated content, capture social perspectives. Established newsroom vendors such as Avid and Dalet are now using the cloud to capture real-time content, share and modify rundowns and allow reporters to do what they do best - discover and tell the story.

Distribution - It could be said that the distribution and delivery of content is the original cloud solution. Back in the 1990's content delivery networks emerged to enable digital delivery of media content across IP networks. Akamai emerged as the kind of CDNs enabling services for a variety of online video providers such as Brightcove and media companies such as NBC, MTV and Discovery. However, CDN itself is changing as vendors such as Scality bring the combination of object storage and cloud together to address the storage demands of CDN origin and edge servers. Offloading the storage demands from the CDN to the cloud provides increased storage scalability and economic flexibility as content libraries grow.

Consumption - Cable operators recognize the demand from consumers to enjoy content when, where and how they want. The set-top box has long been the hub which controlled how consumers could watch content on-demand. However, Charter is changing the game with its stake in ActiveVideo. By pushing DVR functionality into the cloud, they increase storage capacity, unify processing functions and eliminate silos of technology specific to ingest, transcode and streaming. They can simplify content discovery and personalize EPGs without concern for the STB hardware. 

Across the media supply chain, vendors are changing the strategies to capitalize upon the cloud. Ericsson is a primary example of a traditional network equipment provider recognizing the future of TV. Through acquisition and R&D, Ericsson enables cloud solutions for: media processing and contribution; delivery of TV content with MediaFirst a software-defined, media-optimized platform enabling the next generation of PAY TV operators; time-shifting and viewing on any device with cloud DVR. 

Cloud computing, for media, offers opportunities to innovate and bring great stories to market more quickly. It provides greater flexibility in serving content as consumers demand it. And, most importantly it enables innovation and flexibility in cost-effective model. Cloud reduces hardware acquisition challenges while improving scalability, turns capital expenses into operating expenses, and frees up time to create service differentiation.

What's your perspective?

 



IP is the Future for Broadcast

Peggy Dau - Monday, May 04, 2015

My blogs the past few weeks have been discussing why big data matters and IP in the broadcast industry. The connection between these topics may not be obvious, but the point is that all data is critical to the ongoing success of the broadcast business, at every step throughout the creative, management, distribution and consumptions processes. The adoption of IP in the broadcast workflow is critical to obtaining data that will influence business decisions. Internet Protocol based networks provide a volume of data that informs and complements data obtained from other sources.

The use of IP is about more than delivery of content to the consumer home, it's about migrating the operational infrastructure for broadcast. This migration will take years, and broadcasters will likely deploy IP alongside existing SDI components until this components no longer function. However, like the telecommunications industry before it, the broadcast industry will benefit from the flexibility and insight provided by IP networks. These networks have been utilized, for years, to enable creative collaboration amongst editing teams, to interconnect business solutions to manage resources, supply chain, and facilitate the management of rights, licenses and contracts. But, IP did not penetrate the broadcast control room. It was acceptable behind the scenes, but it was not deemed reliable enough for live broadcast. 

Like all technologies, IP has evolved. The pressure is on for broadcasters to create more with less. The TV industry at large is going through monumental changes as an increasing volume of content is consumed online. This does mean that TV dead, merely that the business model is changing. As a result, broadcasters must become more nimble. This means adopting technology that is more cost effective and allows greater flexibility. IP networking is one element. Network providers like Cisco, have been penetrating the media value chain for years. They have long had a presence in cable head-ends. Now their opportunity expands to broadcast operations. Cisco was omnipresent at the recent NAB show with demos and announcements with Grass Valley, EVS, MLBAM, Imagine Communications, Globo, Adobe, Elemental, Signiant, Interra and Snell - reinforcing the relevance of IP to the future of broadcasting.

And, what about data? Well, solutions have long existed to monitor, manage and analyze IP networks and whatever devices are resident within them or attached to them. The introduction of IP networks into control rooms opens the door wider for software based solutions running on industry standard hardware. IP networks contain volumes of data about the effectiveness and efficiency of operational environments. IP networks are already providing audience insight with data about consumer behavior. They are also at the heart of analytics solutions capturing data from traffic systems, advertising platforms or rights management solutions. IP is at the heart of monetization strategies from enablement of workflows to the delivery of content to the aggregation of data. 

The roadmap for broadcast must include IP if only for the flexibility and scalability that it enables. But equally importantly for the interoperability it enables between creative, operational and distribution platforms - providing a true end-to-end perspective through the data aggregated at every point of the media supply chain.

What's your perspective?



Enjoyment at the Intersection of Broadcast, IT and IP

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 27, 2015



Complementing broadcast content with IP delivery and relevant data is the name of the game for audience engagement. Nowhere was this more evident than at the EVS booth at NAB this year. I first checked out EVS's adoption of IP a few years, when they launched C-Cast. This cloud based platform allows live content producers to expand the reach and relevance of their content by enabling delivery to any device, while enriching the broadcast content with data, social updates and graphics.

This year EVS took a big step forward with its focus on the #ReturnOnEmotion and a related developer contest. EVS itself has leveraged C-Cast in its FanCast solution which changes the in-stadium experience. Wherever fans are in the stadium, in their seats, seeking refreshments or in hospitality suites, they are able to enjoy live or near-live content on big screens or small screens.

Prior to NAB, EVS launched a contest inviting developers to augment C-Cast capabilities. The contest prize - the ability to demo their capabilities at NAB in the EVS booth. Brilliant marketing by EVS. Not only did they enhance their solution portfolio, but they enabled developers who otherwise would not be able to afford a presence at NAB, the opportunity to showcase their solutions.

Each solution reflected innovation at the intersection of broadcast, IT and IP. The foundation, is C-Cast, which EVS. All of the solutions leverage C-Cast capabilities to provide fun and engaging sports experiences.  

1. LiveLike - developed an blended live sport with virtual reality allowing viewers to step "into" the game with the ability to select different camera angles. For the sports fan who cannot be at the stadium, this is a truly engaging experience. I admit it was my first VR experience and I'm a fan! I can easily imagine avid fans adopting VR goggles and services to bring a new dimension to viewing their favorite teams. Honestly, I know kids who would have been fighting to use this technology during last years FIFA World Cup!

2. ChirpVision - brings mobile to life for in-stadium fans. Their fault-tolerant video streaming, with a less than 1 second delay, sets the stage for live or on-demand viewing of the sporting event. A clean, mobile-friendly, user interface, allows users to select camera angles, check social network activity, and enjoy VOD functionality such as rewind, pause and fast-forward. But, for ChirpVision, it's also about providing brands with a new channel for reaching fans. Their solution allows monetization of the video streams through display and video ad insertion.

3. Playrz - developed by Intellicore, is a fan centric app aggregating data and social content to augment live and on-demand video streams. Fans can find data pertinent to the real-time activity on the field. They can review and compare stats about teams and players, replay plays from different camera angles and interact with other fans. Already utilized at the FIBA (International Basketball Association) World Cup last year, Playrz gives the sports fan easy access to the information they crave during a game.

Seeing this intersection of technologies was compelling. Sports often leads the way in adopting and validating emerging broadcast technologies. And, EVS has long been engaged in delivery broadcast solutions to the sports market. However, they are taking their efforts to a new level by acknowledging the demands of the fans whether they are at home or in the stadium. By enabling content to be repurposed, in real-time, for consumption on IP enabled devices, with the added value provided by integration of statistical data and social feeds, EVS and their partners are helping sports teams, leagues and brands create richer fan experiences.  What fun!

What's your perspective?



Finally, IP Everywhere at NAB2015

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 20, 2015


Finally. Yes, the traditional broadcast vendors have finally accepted that the broadcast industry is accepting and adopting IP (internet protocol) networking as a means to collaborate, create, manage and distribute content. Grass Valley promoted "The Path to IP", while Imagine Communications (the former Harris Broadcast) has gone full steam ahead with cloud solutions for workflow and playout.  Others, such as EVS, has been incorporating IP networking capabilities into its solutions for at least 4 years.

I've always been concerned about the slow transition to IP, but I come from a background in high tech, where IT and IP are pervasive. Broadcast has had the challenge of migrating existing infrastructure, overcoming transmission concerns, and doubts about the reliability of IP. However, as is often the case, the needs of the consumer have forced the industry to see the value that IP can provide. 

Multichannel consumption is here to stay. Whether it is TV Everywhere or OTT, consumers are viewing content live or on-demand on their TVs, tablets and smartphones. Perhaps the delay in TV Everywhere (the ability to access and view your cable providers content anywhere on any device) is due to the doubts about IP networking. But that's just one piece of the value chain.

IP networks have been used for the distribution of TV content to the consumer home for almost 10 years. Digital workflows enabling the creation of video content have been mainstream for at least 5 years. Yet the adoption of IP networks for broadcast workflows has been limited. The argument is that IP cannot compete with SDI for live broadcasts. However, the transition is finally underway.

The big announcement at NAB2015 came from Imagine Communications. Their announcement with Disney/ABC Television Group about Disney's WATCH services, enabled by Imagine's cloud-based workflow and playout solutions is the industry game changer. When a industry heavyweight such as Disney, makes this kind of move, the rest of the industry is sure to pay attention. And, eventually, make similar transitions.

Without IP networks, this cloud based solution is not possible. Without IP, delivery of non-linear programming is not possible. Without IP, delivery to smartphones, tablets and connected TVs is not possible. Without IP, the aggregation of performance and usage data is more difficult. Without IP, the broadcast industry cannot innovate to fulfill the demands of its audience.

So, yes, I say FINALLY. It's about time IP is embraced by the broadcast industry! IP is more than networking, it's about infinite possibility.

What's your perspective?



Sports Leading Innovation

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 13, 2014

it's no surprise that sporting events drive technology innovation - or is it? If you were to ask a friend about the technology of sports, they might shrug or look at you with a quizzical expression. However, given a few more minutes to think about it, they might actually come forth with a few ideas. In fact, sports has driven development and mainstreaming of a lot of broadcast technology that we now take for granted. As an example, look at how the way watch and enjoy sports has benefited from the innovations noted in this 2011 article from Business Insider.

The sports industry is all about creating a compelling fan experience. Sure, teams seek out amazing talent, build attractive stadiums and play to win. But it is the fans that pay to attend games, that pay to watch events on TV, that buy merchandise, that share their passion on social networks, that buy the devices that enable them to access information about their team - anytime, anywhere. As FIFA prepared for this year's world cup they understood that global football fans would be accessing match statistics and video from a myriad of devices. As a result, they invested in delivering multimedia services to their licensed broadcasters serving local fans.

These services focused on enabling online and second screen experiences. FIFA partners with Netco do develop an app that could be white-labeled by broadcasters. The app, used by 40 broadcasters, resulted in 28 million downloads. One billion users visited FIFA's Global Stadium - the social online media hub. It was only on digital platforms that fans could view matches from EVERY angle. On the social network front, the World Coup attracted 451M Facebook users and 16M Twitter followers.

The technology demands of the first global sporting event capturing and producing content in 4K required a host of broadcast technology from vendors including Sony, EVS, Deltatre, Netco, Elemental, Eutelsat, Globosat, Aspera, Akamai and Microsoft Azure. The mix of traditional broadcast vendors and vendors enabling online streaming and second screen experiences is a sign of the future. EVS, long known for its sports broadcasting technology, has proven its ability foresee audience demand through development of C-Cast to enable second screen publishing (used at the World Cup 2014) and its recently released FanCast, designed to enhance the in-stadium experience (and sure to be used at the next Olympics).

The IBC2014 Judges Award for broadcast innovation was awarded to the FIFA World Cup 2014 - a confirmation of sporting events driving the future of broadcast technology and ultimately, the fan experience. Sports fans are passionate. Sports fans will invest in the tools to feed their passion. Teams, leagues and non-sports oriented event organizers (e.g., entertainment, political) must take note and adopt the tools that makes sense for their budgets to optimize broadcast and second screen experiences. 

What's your perspective?



Cloudy Days Becoming the Norm in Media

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 28, 2014


When I arrived in Vegas two and half weeks ago, to attend NAB 2014, I anticipated a greater focus on cloud. I was not disappointed. The cloud was a dominant part of the conversation, with companies at all points along the media value chain providing cloud enabled solutions. Transcoding and storage have long been the poster children for cloud services.  Why? Because, transcoding is an infrastructure heavy process, challenging ROI goals due to the high cost in building the required server farms and the inconsistent use of the servers.  

As for storage, the cloud addresses a variety of concerns. The adoption of cloud storage, across all industries, was initially focused around disaster recovery. Companies opted for cost effective solutions to store and protect key assets. However, other valid uses quickly became apparent. Centralized access to media assets for either professional or consumer purposes addresses concerns for ease of access, effective collaboration and workflow efficiency. While concerns for content security have diminished, they have not complete disappeared. 

The business drivers remain consistent: increased collaboration, quicker time to market, enabling new business models, cost flexibility and  infrastructure scalability. At NAB, companies across the media industry announced and promoted their solutions in and for the cloud. From the Level 3 Communications bus, parked outside the South Hall, decorated in clouds, to the Avid Everywhere announcement. The cloud was front and center. 

     - Grass Valley introduced its cloud-based GV Stratus Playout solution, which positions playout cards at the edge of any network to provide fame accurate playback, displays still and animated logos and high quality pre-rendered graphics.  

    - Forbidden Technologies, a leader is cloud based workflow,  announced its rebranding to better reflect is primary solution, Forscene, which is a cloud-based video post-production platform.  

     - RGB Networks presented its CloudXStream capabilities, a cloud enabled platform to manage ad insertion for multiscreen and nDVR solutions

     - Vizrt now provides a cloud based media repository, on-demand media processing, management and storage services in the cloud leveraging their VIzOne Media Asset Management Services in combination with Aspera's FASP high speed transfer.

     - Chyron's Axis World Graphics allow broadcasters to create graphics such as high resolution maps, 3D charts or financial quotes for broadcast, online and second screens (aka mobile) - all in the cloud.

     - Imagine Communications (formerly Harris Broadcast) offers SelinioNext adaptive bit rate transcoding leveraging its IP based framework, MediaCentral, for migrating and optimizing media and playout functionality in virtualized cloud environments.

These are just a sampling of the announcements that exemplify the industry focus on cloud. All of this attention to cloud is good news for IT companies. The evolution of digital workflows and IP networks have set the stage for this transition. Companies like Microsoft and its Microsoft Azure Media Services partners with Forscene, Imagine Communicaitons, Wowza Media, Digital Rapids and NBC to enable live and on-demand cloud-based media workflows. IBM SoftLayer, a global cloud infrastructure, sits behind solutions from Vizrt and Imagine Communications. While Amazon Web Services is the enabler for Telestream, Harmonic, Wowza, Adobe Creative Cloud and others.

Sometimes a cloud day is good news. It looks like clouds are here to stay in the media industry.

What's your perspective?



Real-time Takes on New Meaning

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The sense of immediacy that occurs at live events is now pervasive online. We expect to find information immediately. We connect to our friends via social networks with an expectation of instant response. Brands and marketers have been focused on understanding the impact of real-time data for the past few years. The broadcast industry has also been ramping up its capabilities for real-time. Where once upon a time we could wait until the evening news to review the days events, that is now unacceptable.  Social media has forever changed this paradigm. Now, broadcasters are incorporating real-time capabilities across their operations, in the form of breaking news news incorporating user-generated content, real-time voting, real-time audience engagement or real-time advertising.

There was significant focus on real-time at the NAB show last week in Las Vegas. The adoption of IT solutions such as Cloud and Big Data are in one part due to content producer and broadcaster need for real-time solutions. These solutions will help them become more efficient and advance their capabilities for audience engagement. How is real-time related to these big trends?  Let's consider a few examples.

     - Avid announced its Avid Everywhere. Recognizing the demand and need for geographically dispersed teams, while taking advantage of the best talent available, Avid Everywhere provides new ProTools capabilities in the cloud enable connectivity and collaboration with remote team members in REAL-TIME or offline.

     - Never.no, a leader in Social TV technologies, showcased new products Story and Spots. While cloud-based Story was the "big story" with its ability to integrate real-time posts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Vine into live broadcasts (think chat shows or talent contests), I found Spot to be quite interesting. Social Spots provides the audience with the ability to submit its pictures to be inserted into a pre-defined advertising spot. What may have been a anonymous ad now becomes immediate and relatable due to the real-time insertion of real people.

     - Decentrix, provider of Media Business Intelligence Solutions, introduced programmatic ad buying for broadcasters. Their solution not only collects static data from traditional sources, but aggregates and correlates data from real-time sources to define the true value of ad inventory.

     - AMD's FirePro workstation graphics cards provide performance enabling creative talent to develop and edit 4K content without typical latency concerns. Their technological focus on speed and responsiveness enables the next generation of ultra-high speed visualization environments.

These solutions impact the technology and business of broadcast. They improve operational efficiency of workflows. They invite greater audience engagement through audience participation or enhanced content development. They allow broadcasters to identify opportunities to capitalize upon their own assets. Isn't this what any business desires?

The focus on real-time is the result of the world we now live in where immediate access to information is the norm. The adoption of smartphones and the availability of content via 4G LTE networks has influenced our psyche. As a result, our expectations in the workplace or at home are for solutions that support our need for instant gratification. As an industry whose fortunes are intricately dependent on its audience, the ability to provide real-time content, whatever form it takes (news, advertising, engagement, dialogue, etc.) will continue to influence the creation and advancement of enabling solutions. I expect the discussion around real-time to become as dominant as those around cloud and big data.

What's your perspective?



Adopting Disruptive Technology? Manage Expectations!

Peggy Dau - Monday, March 17, 2014

In a world where new technologies are emerging every day, there is now an expectation for immediate success. However, that is simply not realistic. Innovators of the past benefited from the lack of social networks sharing speculation, much less leaking technical specifications, as to the purpose, benefit or proposed business model for new products or services. Today, the stock market turns on a dime if Twitter usage is not as hoped. One of the biggest challenges for management, sales and customer service, is managing expectations.'

The same is true when adopting new technologies or using new solutions. As I've attended conferences addressing the benefits, adoption and use of social media, cloud services and big data there is one common theme - manage expectations. This is a two way street. Both providers and adopters of these services must manage expectations as there are many examples of solution deployments that disappoint. In some cases it is the inability to translate numbers of followers into tangible leads, and subsequently revenue. In other situation its the failure to clearly understand new processes required to optimize a SaaS (software-as-a-service) offering.

As with the creation of any strategy or adoption of tactics, well defined desired outcomes are a critical part of success. When adoption social media, organizations often forget that this can be a multi-stage process. The Altimeter Group has been at the forefront in providing insight on business use of social media, providing a common sense framework for adopting, incorporating and formalizing social media into existing processes. Their reports, such as The State of Social Business 2013, helps businesses set realistic goals, identify required training or process improvements, and yes, manage expectations.

I listened to broadcasters, at the recent Broadcast & Video Exposition in London,  talk about their adoption of social media. In every case they talked about trial and error in their use social media. They spoke about how social networks such as Twitter had changed the nature of broadcast by becoming the "channel" for breaking news. As a result, networks now use Twitter to break news in real time. Their tweets direct followers to their online or scheduled broadcasts for more detailed information. At the same time their online destinations and live broadcasts invite viewers to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. They also utilize the social networks to raise awareness of special programs or ongoing series. 

Every content or social media strategist emphasizes the "trial and error" nature of social media, not in terms of actually using the networks, but in determining the content that will drive engagement. While data can be collected to identify key topics of interest to an audience, the manner in which those topics are discussed often influences the level of engagement. Understanding that the use of social media is an evolution not a miracle cure is critical to managing expectations. Understanding that social media is part of a greater content strategy is critical to managing expectations.  Understanding that policy and training will help employees understand how and when to use social media is critical to managing expectations. Get it? 

Whether you are in the broadcast & media, financial services, manufacturing, high tech, pharmaceutical or other industry, you must consider the impact of ANY new solute. Whether it is social media, cloud, big data analytics or other disrupting solutions consider how the technology will impact people and process. Share proposed goals, benefits, concerns, training and anticipated changes.  In short - manage expectations! Success will come more easily!

What's your perspective?