Buyer Insights: The Rise Of The Human Digital Hybrid

At Rawnet, we’re always looking for new ways to strategically enhance the way distributors engage with buyers, so prior to this year’s MIP, we collaborated with Broadcast International & their extensive network of buyers to find out what buyers really want, what’s important to them when looking for and purchasing content and how they see digital driving the future of content consumption.

Freedom to Explore

A key theme that arose from the results was buyers wanting speedy access to accessible content. With 25% of respondents saying they do no business at markets, and only 7% saying they do “a lot” of business, we’re clearly moving away from markets like MIP being the first time buyers view content. 43% of buyers surveyed told us that they screen shows online prior to a meeting and 80% of respondents described themselves as the type of buyer who likes to browse content, as opposed to the other 20% who know exactly what they want.

In order to keep up with buyers, distributors need to use digital as an extension of the face to face relationship. Although it’s clear buyers want to browse and are potentially moving away from buying at market, a huge 90% stated that they expect to be presented with bespoke content during the purchasing journey. It’s not enough to just dump content onto a platform or screen the latest programmes at market, personalised recommendations based on buyer’s behaviour are no longer a “nice to have”, they’re a necessity if distributors want to cater for more than just 10% of their target market.

Accessible Browsing; Advisory Relationships

Let’s be clear here, while the stats above clearly point to a less prevalent role for face to face in content buying, we do not see, nor do we want, an entirely digital future. When asked to rate the top traits in a salesperson, buyers favoured the “ability to make a quick deal” followed by “knowledge of the industry” as their top choices. These two choices together are reflective of a desire to browse independently, whilst still respecting a salesperson’s in-depth knowledge of the industry. In fact, over 90% of the buyers we surveyed expected “a lot of prep”, “knowledge of their business, previous buying behaviour & in-depth content knowledge” prior to a meeting. We think this is indicative of a digitally enhanced future in which browsing is easy & accessible online, with a human salesperson providing an advisory relationship. Rely too much on either one, and distributors are in danger of missing the mark.

Data-Driven Decisions

The theme of data-driven decision making was woven through the survey results. Buyers are no longer content with just seeing the latest and greatest content from distributors and expect both the online experience and face to face meetings to be tailored to their requirements as it “saves time rather than pushing unnecessary content”.
Where personal recommendation and the pedigree of cast and crew in the past have been a big driver in selling content, buyers are now making decisions based on data. When asked what the biggest driver was in persuading them to buy a programme, over half chose “good performance in a similar region” over the pedigree of the cast & crew, market hype, the opportunity to screen first and personal recommendations.

Digitally Enhanced Distribution

In order to stay relevant, distributors need to embrace the online buying experience as an extension of the face to face relationship. Use each one to enhance the other. Personalised recommendations online based on face to face conversations & meeting content built upon online screening behaviour are just a few of the ways distributors can engage with buyers in a manner that will resonate.

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An infographic of the survey results is available here.