Q&A: How Whip Media’s insights & analytics are assisting licensing decisions

Ahead of MIPTV, Whip Media’s GM & EVP Shery Brennan tells TBI about the commercial launch of the Whip Media Exchange, a global licensing and research platform.

As the international television industry soon returns in-person to Cannes, Brennan talks about how bringing consumer insights and predictive analytics into the licensing decision-making process can help meet the needs of buyers and sellers in a constantly changing marketplace.

What are the biggest challenges that buyers and sellers are facing?

We’ve crossed a threshold in the last few years with respect to the huge volume of content, growing number of platforms and a truly unprecedented demand for original and library content. Platforms and operators are competing to grow, acquire and retain audiences in new markets, yet the volume of content, rights, platforms, and pricing combinations make it difficult for content buyers and sellers to identify the right licensing opportunities at scale.

Companies are also struggling to keep up with all of this change – teams can’t be built fast enough to accommodate the growth in content and platforms. We’re focused on providing data and licensing solutions that solve for the challenges faced by buyers and sellers to help them make the right acquisition and distribution decisions for their audiences.

What makes the Whip Media Exchange unique, is there anything comparable in the content marketplace space?

The Whip Media Exchange is different in that it uses data to predict which TV and film titles will perform best on a specific platform and in a specific territory through our brand-new Demand Score, which allows buyers and sellers to make better informed choices. We provide buyers and sellers new insights for content evaluation such as deep dives into gender and age appeal, territory and cultural fit, and other modeled insights.

We also offer an easy means to access to new or existing partners through our platform, and to a host of partners for localisation and content delivery. Combined with our personal customer service, there’s really nothing else like it in the market today – nor do I think anybody else can really compete in terms of breadth and scope of the data underlying our predictive analytics.

Tell us a bit more about the proprietary Demand Score and other predictive insights – how integral are those components to the Exchange process?

The insights provided through the Exchange include performance history, viewer demographics (age and gender), talent and genre info, as well as Whip Media’s Demand Score, which is modeled on engagement insights from more than 21 million viewers. Together these insights predict demand against hundreds of thousands of film and TV titles and help users identify those most likely to work for specific audiences.

For example, if there is a TV series which is a hit on one platform in a particular country – we surface titles that share similar qualities with it, and the analytics to help buyers decide which are the best acquisition targets.

What did you learn from the Exchange beta testing process, what’s new about the Exchange?

The feedback from our beta clients has been really valuable and we have listened both to what they loved and what they felt we needed. One request we got over and over was access to insights about content whether it’s listed for sale in the Exchange or not. So, we’ve added a new content planning tool which provides insights on hundreds of thousands of film and television titles worldwide. This new research and content planning tool provides valuable insights around key audience characteristics, including age and gender, as well as similar titles – helping customers better evaluate what content to buy or sell, and where.

We’re also already working on another enhancement which will roll out soon: the ability to communicate with other Exchange clients outside of the content inquiry and license request flow. We know that clients really want to make connections with potential new partners, and if they can use our platform to do it – we all win. The feedback has already led to lots of enhanced functionality and the Exchange will continue to evolve as the licensing landscape changes.

What trends from Whip Media’s data and insights are important to the content licensing marketplace, and how will you address those in the Exchange?

Squid Game might have been the most recent global title to grab headlines outside of its native market, but this isn’t a new phenomenon – our data has shown cross-pollination of content across borders for years now. For example, several years ago we noticed that Turkish telenovelas play very well in Latin America, and more recently we’ve seen Japanese anime really resonate with viewers in Western Europe.

We’ve also seen a decline in viewing of US-produced content, although it still remains the most popular content globally. This shift away from American content is a result of the migration of viewing to OTT services, which has led platforms to look beyond the US for programming to differentiate themselves and satisfy demand. The Exchange helps platforms accomplish this goal, because The Exchange helps predict content travelability — or how well shows perform in different countries and on different platforms; it also helps both buyers and sellers capitalize on this knowledge. Our aim is to make it easier for platforms to respond quickly to the changing landscape with our streamlined research and workflow tools. We’re well-positioned to anticipate changes that may be coming on the horizon, as well as adapt our content planning and licensing tools to respond swiftly.

Whip Media will be exhibiting at MIPTV located at stand R7.L3 in the Riviera Hall to showcase the Exchange.

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