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Case Study: Technology, media and entertainment

Designing a digital rights management system

The client’s perspective

As the media industry moved into the multi-platform online digital age with an empowered audience and consumer, managing rights was becoming increasingly complex. One large broadcast media organization’s legal department was still utilizing a paper-based rights management program, a system with around 400 key stakeholders and users supporting 10 different departments. Production costs were rising, and the organization needed a new digital rights management process to help minimize payouts to other networks, maximize pay-ins, and help them avoid unnecessary rights agreement violations.

The company selected a software vendor, then brought in Eagle Hill to help design the new rights management process, reengineer the organizational design around the system, and design and support a change management approach.

A new view

After completing a thorough analysis of current processes, 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 enabled the organization to not only take on good rights positions, but to also manage it successfully throughout the entire lifecycle of the contract.

One of our key recommendations was the implementation of different teams, or groups, to oversee each phase of the rights management system process. In the past, this client had approached rights management sequentially; therefore, Eagle Hill recommended a contract team bringing key players together to collaborate early in the process. The 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—financial, legal, 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 team makes sure that the organization receives all payments owed for royalties, licensing, and other associated fees included in the contract. The revenue team also ensures that the media organization acts as a good partner, paying out fees owed to other networks in a timely manner.

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

Unconventional consulting—and breakthrough results

From inception to launch, the organization’s rights management system project was completed within a year and a half, on time and on budget. Eagle Hill’s business case, created at the beginning of the project, showed what incremental revenue the new system needed to generate to pay for itself and provide value—and ultimately, the system met these objectives and beyond.

By conclusion of the work, not only had Eagle Hill successfully designed and developed a new, more digital rights management system, but it also reengineered all of the surrounding processes and orchestrated a major reorganization of how this client manages rights.