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On April 19, 2022, Business Insider reported that for the first time in over a decade, Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers and was expected to lose 2 million more in the following months. On February 7, CNBC reported that the co-producer of “The Matrix Resurrections” filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros for an alleged breach of contract. That same month, People reported that U.S. Olympic figure skaters and NBC were being sued for copyright infringement for using a song in their Olympic routine.

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These are just a few of the many cases of data governance gone wrong in entertainment. And the same principles apply to any company in the industry. Undoubtedly, the entertainment industry is one of the most affected by digital transformation. Switching to on-demand entertainment, streaming services, cross-platform products and moving away from traditional channels, the industry has reinvented itself and found itself living in a data-driven world. However, data governance is still a relatively new concept to the sector.

Why entertainment companies should utilize a data governance framework

Why should entertainment companies adopt data governance? The answer is simple, but the implications are significant. Data governance ensures high levels of data security and management, sets standards for managing customer data, meets regulations and laws, streamlines operations, maximizes efficiency and helps companies adequately face the ongoing cybersecurity crisis.

Data and data governance is the essence of new business models that the entertainment industry has constructed in its transformation journey. Microsoft explains: “Whether it’s providing new insights, improving decision making or driving better business outcomes, enthusiasm for unlocking the power of data has never been greater.” For the media industry, nothing could be more accurate.

Today, media and entertainment companies are intelligent data-driven platforms. Streaming content production on any device with automation, creating a highly personalized customer experience with data-powered AI and enhancing productivity with workers collaborating from different parts of the world — data is woven into its daily operations.

As they deploy new ways to monetize experiences and try to understand consumer behaviors, the risks of poor data governance are too significant. Entertainment companies must ensure their data is valued as a strategic asset and is secure, reliable, high-quality, compliant and fit for use.

The benefits of using data governance at an entertainment company

Accurity lists compliance, monetization and management benefits as the main drivers of data governance programs in the entertainment industry. The company explains that the sector’s data governance efforts, data creation, storage and processing capabilities need to level up for the industry to reach its full potential.

Accurity explains that content used to be bound by national or regional licenses and regulations. Companies like Disney+, Star+, HBO Max and even startups are now international, offering content directly to users and simultaneously facing new challenges. From legal requirements to user data protection, how these companies manage and secure data is fundamental.

Additionally, top executives and managers are confronted with an ocean of new internal and external data, which they must navigate to make effective operational decisions every day. Maintaining, cleaning and engineering data for it to serve internal purposes is key. Entertainment companies also use data governance for external goals, such as better understanding customers in a new media environment.

Companies have more specifically been using AI to understand customers’ behaviors and interests. This complex approach to user analytics poses many challenges, and exploiting users’ data is regulated by international, federal and state laws.

To tap into this rich but challenging environment, entertainment companies must trust their data, rely on their reports, and understand the context and metrics. In this sense, data governance is the key to the kingdom. Good data governance ultimately increases performance, revenue and audiences.

How you can decide if data governance is right for your organization

Whether your entertainment company is small, medium or large, established and traditional, or an innovative startup, it should consider having some form of data governance program or strategy in place. DataVersity explains that the right data governance depends on your organization’s culture and business goals.

When organizations take on data governance frameworks that do not fit their culture, these tend to fail. Data governance’s primary resource is people. The right people will build the process and inform executives about the necessary technology and tools for the job. This is why culture is influential: Data governance works throughout the organization when it works through its people.

But data governance approaches still depend on business goals. Suppose your company aims to increase content delivery, expand viewers, enter new regions, or better manage HR, budgets or production. In these cases, data governance programs need to be built to drive and support these targets.

Regarding compliance, if your company works with data, it is obliged by law to meet its standards. But a good data governance program can help your organization achieve full compliance with ease, simplicity and automation.

“Data governance just becomes part of how you do things in your company,” said Mary Levins, the founder of Sierra Creek Consulting, during the DataVersity Enterprise Data World Conference.

Today, companies’ brands and reputations, sales and performance are built on data governance. Data governance, ultimately, represents a company’s values and mission,  especially in complex industries like entertainment and new media that are constantly generating new user data that needs to be both protected and optimized.

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