What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Supply Chain

Once upon a time, Hollywood had a straightforward business model. It produced TV shows and movies, showed them in theaters or on the air and finally packaged them up for home media distribution. There was a relatively simple supply chain supporting this journey from the Hollywood set to the store shelf lined with DVDs.

Today, things aren’t so simple. On-demand streaming options from Netflix, Hulu and service providers such as Comcast and AT&T allow for content to be viewed instantly anytime and anywhere. While this model is convenient for consumers, it creates numerous new complications for studios in meeting consumer demand.

For starters, have you ever watched something on a streaming service, only to notice that it later became unavailable? Such rights-related issues are complex, and beyond anything that would govern physical media that consumers own outright. Plus, there’s the common problem of older assets – including some prominent films such as “City of Hope” and the TV/VHS-exclusive “The Godfather Saga” cut – still unavailable for distribution, despite the fact that streaming access might generate considerable interest from specific audiences.

In other words, the entertainment industry’s supply chain hasn’t kept pace with its rapidly evolving business models, or even with the advancements in other industries. Let’s look at some of its specific sticking points and what supply chain organizations can learn from them.

Problem: Lack of a global content catalog

In the days before music streaming, a lot of people organized their own MP3 libraries, which often contained erroneous data and duplicate entries. Such inconsistencies are common in the systems Hollywood uses for managing its content, wherein three siloed databases might contain their own respective copies of the same video, each with a unique name. This setup creates headaches during distribution.

Lesson: Put analytics to work

Fortunately, it’s solvable even without consolidating everything into one new system. Analytics can map common sets of behaviors and attributes to a single category and then deduplicate and cleanse the different entries via machine learning-capable algorithms. In integrated supply chains, real-time analytics similarly provide continuous insights on operational performance, allowing for timely adjustments as company requirements and external conditions evolve.

Problem: Poor inventory visibility

The essential structure of the entertainment industry leads to key assets being scattered across many locations managed by studios, publishers and service providers. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to know exactly where a specific item is at a given time. This has resulted in many movies, especially ones made before 1952 on highly combustible nitrate film, to be lost either because they were misplaced or kept under poorly monitored environmental conditions.

Visibility into inventory has long been a challenge in entertainment industry supply chains.Visibility into inventory has long been a challenge in entertainment industry supply chains.

Lesson: Integrate data for a clearer picture of inventory

Technologies such as RFID scanning, Bluetooth connectivity, IoT sensors and cloud-based infrastructure can greatly improve the efficiency of inventory tracking. For example, RFID is many times faster than barcode scanning. Meanwhile, warehouse management software can draw upon these readings to update inventory in real time. This eliminates the need to rely on outdated methods like consulting old invoices just to get a sense of current inventory levels.

Problem: Not matching supply to demand

The vast amount of video content not available for distribution represents a major lost opportunity for studios. On paper, they have the supply to meet pent-up demand for all sorts of movies and TV shows and discourage piracy of these rare assets in the process. Nevertheless, the right infrastructure, from better-integrated databases to coherent storage hierarchies, isn’t in place to deliver this video to consumers.

Lesson: Implement SCM solutions

Supply chain management tools from Oracle are perfect for addressing these shortcomings. Solutions for product lifecycle management, supply chain planning and more give you the power to accurately gauge demand, identify new revenue opportunities and eliminate the steep costs associated with backed-up inventories as well as item shortages. Accordingly, you can build a supply chain that supports instead of detracts from your business.

The Inspirage teams consists of integrated supply chain experts ready to help you select, implement and support modern SCM solutions. Contact us today to learn more, or visit our Resource Center for additional information in our blog posts and case studies.

Lavenia Whitner

Lavenia Whitner | Key Contributor

Lavenia Simmons Whitner is a Solutions Director, Supply Chain Management at Inspirage. Lavenia is an accomplished, innovative sales leader with extensive experience in leading high-performance teams and developing strategic initiatives to help drive sales. She’s familiar with all of Oracle’s applications, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Value Chain Planning & Execution and Human Capital Management (HCM). She has a proven record of success in developing pre-sales strategies, designing sales/marketing collateral and helping to improve sales teams.