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Winning the Content Wars: Knowing What Questions to Ask, Where and When <br> (Part 2)


To navigate the shift to today’s digital era, information, media and entertainment providers must understand how ecosystem maturity affects their competitive stance.

As noted in Part 1 of this series, the information, media and entertainment (IME) market will collapse into three “mega-segments” –  information insight providers, entertainment experience providers and education outcome providers – within the next five years.

With this in mind, industry players must ask themselves a set of questions to determine their place in both the present and near-term environments. Doing so will help them assess the maturity and intelligence of their content while dictating a range of actions with which to align their business objectives.

Asking the Right Questions

To assess the state of their business and readiness for transformation, content providers must address the following questions concerning the maturity of their content quality and delivery. Companies with multiple product lines or business units with different types of products and content value chains should answer these questions for each product line or business unit separately.

Content Quality

  • Uniqueness. Is the content you deliver similar to what your customers can access for free on the Web? What type of enrichment does your content undergo from the start of your value chain to the end? Is true value being added, such as new intellectual property, advanced analytics and personalization, or just transactional value, such as format conversion and assembly?

  • Outcome orientation. What objectives are customers trying to achieve by consuming your content (make a business decision, be entertained, learn a new skill)? How many additional steps must customers take after consuming your content in order to reach that objective?

  • Discoverability. To what extent is your organization’s metadata tagged to make it easily searchable? How many manual steps do you need to perform in order to locate a piece of legacy content?

  • Reusability. Is the legacy content in your organization easy to reuse across product and business lines? Are approval processes in place for various groups within the company to reuse content? Is content reuse governed by an organizational rights and royalties management mechanism?

  • Accuracy. To what extent must your organization work to improve content accuracy, such as through editorial reviews and copy editing? Have you ever had to recall and correct content once it has been delivered to customers? If so, what are the main causes of inaccuracy?

  • Metrics. Are metrics in place to gauge whether content delivers to expected outcomes? How has your company modified its legacy metrics to address the introduction of new digital products and services?

Content Delivery

  • Personalization. Is content customized in any way based on the customer’s Code HaloTM? If not, what are the challenges of observing this data (know-how, technology, resources, etc.)?

  • Immediacy. Is the lead time for moving a piece of content across the value chain longer or shorter than your competitors’? Has it decreased during the last three years? If not, what obstacles stand in your way?

  • Platform exposure. How many platforms is content currently exposed to? (For example, YouTube, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Apple, Amazon, proprietary platforms). Do you expect that number to increase in the next three years?

  • Platform control. How much control do you have over the platforms or channels through which customers consume your content? Can you apply analytics? How frequently do you lose customers to competitors on these platforms?

  • Ease of use. How seamlessly does your content transition from one consumption platform to another (including Web, mobile, etc.)? What is the lead time or manual intervention needed from customers to enable the transition?

  • Assembly. Has content granularity changed in the last three years? How easily can your company assemble and disassemble content based on customer needs?

Acting on Maturity

As you answer these questions, you can also rate your content maturity and, based on your company’s business strategy, use our content maturity index to identify a target future state and follow our general recommendations for improvement (see Figure 1). 

Figure 1

  • Legacy providers. To avoid immediate or eventual demise, legacy companies must move into one of the other three quadrants as soon as possible. For example, a typical news organization can consider moving to Quadrant 2, a cable network to Quadrant 3 and an information services company to Quadrant 4.

  • Instantaneous providers. To expand their commoditized digital content, providers of instantaneous content should consider pairing premium products with their loss-leading information. For example, live scores for the latest NFL game should also advertise available tickets, merchandise or upcoming related events and products on demand. In short, revenue-sharing partnerships that supplement content will be an important factor in delivering the right personalized experience.

  • Exclusive providers. Providers of high-quality, often evergreen content that is not available anywhere else on the Web need to begin helping customers make better decisions, be thoroughly entertained or gain expertise of some kind. Even if the content supply chain has a longer lead time, organizations may want to showcase content from a partner company; hence, content should be easily discoverable online to ensure long-tail revenue.

  • Ubiquitous providers. Like exclusive providers, these companies deliver content that is not available anywhere else on the Web. Unlike exclusive providers, the providers that reach this state of maturity deliver the right insights, experiences or outcomes via the right platform at the right time. To achieve this, your organization’s content supply chain should be tailored around understanding your customers’ Code Halos and be primarily focused on revenue from apps, subscriptions and ads. 

Looking Ahead

While it is impossible to accurately predict the future, we can expect that what sets a company apart today will be a commodity within months. That’s why applying Code Halo thinking to content creation and strategic partnerships matters. Winning content companies must continuously reevaluate their content strategies and fine-tune their ecosystems accordingly. 

Whether your company aims to be a content provider to public platforms or a platform player with complete control of delivery, your ecosystem will likely require continuous tweaking to keep your business relevant in the eyes and ears of consumers.

To learn more, read our full report on Winning the Content Wars: A Playbook For Today’s Content Providers or visit our Information Services and Media & Entertainment sections of our website.

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