Podcast: Contracts Over Coffee with PwC's Todd Supplee

February 8, 2021

Today we are releasing the 10th episode of Icertis’ podcast series, “Contracts Over Coffee.” This series brings together the most influential voices in Icertis’ contract lifecycle management (CLM) partner ecosystem to discuss all things related to contracting while enjoying a delicious cup of joe.

In this episode, our senior director of partner marketing, Anne Baker, is joined by Todd Supplee. Todd is a partner at PwC, where he advises major media and entertainment companies and leads research in the area of video consumption patterns.

In the episode, Anne and Todd discuss the amazing transformation television and movies are undergoing as streaming services continue to grow and how contracts can play a central role in improving business outcomes and viewer experience.

Icertis · PwC — Todd Supplee

Here are four key takeaways from their chat:

1. Your streaming services have made TV contracts way more complicated

Anne: What do you think is the biggest challenge today in contracting, particularly in entertainment and media?

Todd: If you think about a television or film asset, it’s a right. It’s an intellectual property right. There’s not a physical product necessarily to it. So the only way to manage that product is through contracting. So every single time that a right is sold, it’s going through a contracting process. Ten years ago, you had a finite amount of cable companies; you had a finite amount of satellite companies; you had a finite amount of channels, globally. And what’s happened is, there’s been a lot of new entrants coming into this space of wanting to build a platform and aggregate their own consumer base and then put content on, so they’re calling up the studios and saying, “Hey, I need content.” Well, that creates another contract. With the volume of companies that have turned on globally that are looking for rights, you’ve now got a massive volume of contracts that are having to be dealt with on a regular basis.

2. The only way to handle this volume is with technology

Anne: How do you see entertainment and media companies resolving some of those challenges?

Todd: If every single piece of content is going to be distributed differently, then you need some type of technology to manage all the key deal terms in that contract, whether it’s something related to privacy concerns, GDPR, CCPA, those sorts of things that you need to make sure that you are taking that into account and being able to read the metadata or read key terms out of that contract. And you need structure. If you take 80% of your contracts that only make up 20% of the overall value, and you put a lot more structure and rigor into them, that allows you to focus your time and energy and attention on those 20% of deals that make up 80% of your revenue base. You need some way to systematize the key elements of a contract so that your sales organization is armed with the information that they need to go and sell the content.

3. Better contract data is critical in responding to more sophisticated customers

Anne: What is one contracting tip you wish every person knew?

Todd: I think we need to move from what I would call “reactive selling” to “proactive selling.” Customers, that is, content distributors, are getting smarter. They’re leveraging data that’s coming out of their platform and knowing what their viewers are watching. So really, the contracting tidbit is: your customers are getting smarter. We need to catch up and get to them so that we can make sure that we’re extracting every piece of available consumer surplus revenue available for that piece of content to get it to them in a profitable way. That’s going to take a lot of technology transformation in order for us to get there.

4. Ultimately, better contract management equals better viewer experiences

Anne: What would people be most surprised to know about contracting in the entertainment industry?

Todd: As consumers, we’re looking for the content, and we are scratching our heads as to – why is it here, and then three weeks later, it disappeared? Or why am I finding some of it here but another piece of it here? Consumers don’t understand that, and they don’t care. They just want to find their show. It’s hard enough to find something to watch today because I feel like the discovery is so hard. And what’s driving that horrible experience, speaking from a consumer’s perspective, is contracting. So it’s rights. They’re all tied up.

Anne and Todd wrapped up their conversation by discussing Todd’s passion for acting (he’s a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild), flying (he has his pilot’s license), and bungee jumping.

Listen to Contracts over Coffee on Your Favorite Podcast Channels Here

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Interested in learning more? Check out PwC's Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2020–2024, a single comparable source of consumer and advertiser spending data and analysis to help you understand industry trends so you can capitalize on new opportunities.