The Move Toward Glass-To-Glass Internet Ecosystems

Mandheer Walia

The media value chain has changed.

In the traditional established value chain for television, for example, content was pushed out to an audience. Audience members were passive recipients. In today’s more consumer-centered experience, the consumer chooses the content from an array of digital sources and decides when, where, and on what device to consume it.

Consider the most recent Olympic Games. A traditional TV experience, it increasingly was consumed on mobile devices. To meet the demands of a newly empowered audience, the digital media ecosystem has had to adapt rapidly. The vast amounts of data available for consumer consumption today represents a significant opportunity to take the entertainment experience to new levels.

Glass-to-glass ecosystem

The value chain now exists as a digital network. It is increasingly becoming a “glass-to-glass” Internet ecosystem (GGIE). Glass-to-glass means “from the very beginning to the very end of the chain in the life cycle;” in the entertainment sector, this is lens-to-screen.

This begins with delivering the right content to the consumer in a beautiful, easy-to-consume experience, driven by deep customer insight and personalization and powered by the data within the value chain, which is growing exponentially every second of every day.

However, delivering the right content to the consumer is one part of the equation. The big opportunity is driving back down the value chain to manage the content at a cost point that makes it profitable to deliver it to a wide variety of devices, in order to reach the widest possible audience.

More importantly, consumers will want to be part of that value chain. In a world of personalized sneakers, medicine, and consumer goods, media is just one aspect of life that consumers want to make their own.

The complexity of the glass-to-glass value chain must be simplified so that your content can be consumed in an easy, frictionless way. This will help ensure that consumers do not go elsewhere to fill the entertainment time slot in their busy day.

Behind the scenes, the media company must manage the complexity of rights, royalties, participation, and by-title profitability so that content creators get paid for their work in a timely manner. Artists and creators are just as empowered as consumers, and in fact are consumers too. They demand visibility across the glass-to-glass value chain, want access to their financial statements in real time, and no longer consider it necessary to be at the mercy of the content distributor.

Within this context, let’s look in a little more detail at the glass-to-glass ecosystem.

The process begins with capture or creation of content. This can be done by media professionals or by consumers themselves. It may also be done by intermediaries between professionals and consumers; think of them as “prosumers.” They use digital cameras that produce broadcast-quality results.

The use of the product then depends on what path it takes. Think of these alternatives as the product’s “use case.” Depending on which use case is adopted, the content may then be edited or curated. This is done on the platform in real time, so there is no delay or gap in the process. The content is then made immediately available for prime-time broadcast. At this point, the consumer experiences the content on whatever device they prefer. This is the end-screen in the consumer’s process—the final “glass.”

Content is shared on the platform or on social media. Predictive recommendations connect creators and consumers. Some content will take on new life and exposure through social media sharing.

Since the entire process is digital, data captured along the value chain can be measured and analyzed. Data about the usage, the audience, and the engagement are available for analysis. This provides advertisers with feedback on the efficiency of their ads. Campaigns are analyzed in real time for reach and frequency.

Consumers continue to demand increasing media personalization. From customized music playlists to flipboard-style magazines, variety in content is today’s norm. The consumer is no longer happy with a one-size-fits-all approach, and sharing of digital content has become commonplace.

Marketers are hungry for the data generated across the value chain as it helps them better understand, in real time, consumers’ likes and tastes. They can then use this insight to either upsell or cross-sell content and other goods, and/or to demonstrate the value of the audience to advertisers who spend against compelling content.

Artists demand apps on their mobile devices that show real-time information on the number of views, device types, and what financial compensation they are due – all of this powered by usage data, cross-referenced with deal specifics held in enterprise rights systems.

These are the true opportunities and challenges presented by the glass-to-glass ecosystem.

Every media company must be a consumer-focused platform business

The boundaries of traditional media value chains are changing as new competitors disrupt the market and customers expect increasingly personalized products and services. To survive and thrive in the digital era, media companies need to reimagine their business models and operate on a platform that enables live business to better serve their customers.

We believe the winners in the shift to digital are media companies that build their businesses around a core platform. This platform must support the legacy business while at the same time having the flexibility required by new business models, processes, and empowered employee expectations. This platform must have data as its core central nervous system and support the end-to-end digital value chain, both inside the organization and, as importantly, across the glass-to-glass ecosystem – from content creation and consumption, video analytics, audience identification and targeting, to monetization.

Learn more about the impact of digitization on the media industry.


Mandheer Walia

About Mandheer Walia

Mandheer Walia is Senior Director of Media and Entertainment in the Industry Cloud Solutions Organization at SAP. He leads go-to-market activities for SAP Customer Engagement and Commerce solutions for the media industry. His particular focus is around audience building, engagement, and monetization.