1
 

Designing a Digital Rights Management System for a Broadcast Media Company

From system design to change management support, Eagle Hill Consulting provided an end-to-end rights management solution for a large Broadcast and Media Organization.

The client’s perspective

As the media industry was moving into the multi-platform online digital age with an empowered audience and consumer, managing rights had become increasingly complex. Production costs were rising and the media organization needed to implement a new rights management process. Its primary goal was to help minimize payouts to other networks and maximize pay-ins. Additionally, due to the complicated nature of navigating the rights management field, the organization sought a new system that would help them avoid unnecessary rights agreement violations.

When the client first approached Eagle Hill, the media organization’s legal department was utilizing a paper-based rights management program. The system had approximately 400 key stakeholders and users, and supported 10 different departments covering the organization’s core programming content. The organization needed to move to a more digital approach to rights management. It had already begun the process by selecting a software vendor that provided a rights management system.

A new view

Eagle Hill was initially brought in to help design the client’s new rights management process, reengineer the organizational design around the system, and design and support a change management approach. While not part of the initial project scope, Eagle Hill also collaborated with the software vendor to conceptualize the design of the rights management system and how it would work.

After completing a thorough analysis of current processes involving nearly 400 stakeholders, the Eagle Hill team learned that intellectual property asset acquisition and management was decentralized across the organization, which limited the enterprise-wide view of all assets. Eagle Hill needed to ensure that the new approach to the rights management system enabled the organization to not only take on good rights positions, but to also manage it successfully throughout the entire lifecycle of the contract.

A breakaway approach

One of our key recommendations was the implementation of different teams, or groups, to oversee each phase of the rights management system process. The first group was the contract team, who was appointed after projects were green-lighted. In the past, this client had approached rights management sequentially; therefore, Eagle Hill recommended bringing key players together to collaborate early in the process. The contract team stays in place from contract negotiation to execution to ensure that the rights management deal is a positive one for the organization in all aspects, i.e., financially, legally, business affairs, programming, and content production.

Eagle Hill also recommended forming a production management team to manage the production of the (often) lengthy list of content deliverables. Next, the revenue function makes sure that this Broadcast and Media Organization receives all payments owed for royalties, licensing and other associated fees included in the contract. The revenue function also ensures that the media organization is being a good partner and paying out rights management fees owed to other networks in a timely manner.

To propel the project to the finish line, Eagle Hill rolled up its sleeves and helped the organization write procedure manuals and training scripts for the new system, and assisted with user testing.

Results

From inception to launch, the Broadcast and Media Organization’s rights management system project was completed within a year and a half—on time and on budget. Eagle Hill created a business case at the beginning of the project showing what incremental revenue the new system needed to generate to be able to pay for itself and be a valuable asset for the organization. It met the objectives of the business case and beyond.

At the conclusion of the work completed with this Broadcast and Media Organization, not only did Eagle Hill successfully design and develop a new, more digital rights management system, but it also reengineered all of the surrounding processes and a major reorganization of how this client manages its rights.