For a media giant, ratings are everything. Knowing how your stations and their programs are performing tells you where to tune in and when to pull the plug. Media General, which owns 71 TV stations in 48 markets across the US, brought to us their executive team’s need for a unified, up-to-date view of their broadcast markets.

Traditionally, Media General’s executive team are presented market performance at a monthly meeting. Waiting four weeks between briefings delayed tactical decisions. The manual reporting process was time consuming and prone to human error.

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To constantly visualize Media General’s action on the airwaves in a consistent and digestible way, a new Market Assessment Dashboard was envisioned. The goal was to slice and dice Nielsen ratings, Comscore rankings, and website analytics to:

  • Offer a flexible view at the individual market level
  • Track trends up to 15 months in the past
  • Preserve favorite views for easier return usage
  • Compare the current period vs. a comparable period in previous years
  • Provide colorful graphical representations of the data sets
  • Enable executives to apply custom filters, sorts, and ranking

Forecasting in the Cloud

Taking Media General’s goals and running with them, our team considered and reviewed enterprise class vendors such as Birst, Pentaho. LogiAnalytics, and Tableau. We presented features and pricing, distilled industry insights, and supported the CTO’s selection process. Tableau Software’s new cloud-based offering, Tableau Online, was chosen for its attractive pricing model, excellent user interface, and flexibility to be easily brought on premise if needed.

Our software architects chose to leverage the latest generation of SaaS analytics rather than install traditional on premise software. Since there was no waiting for red tape, hardware, or the IT department, prototype dashboards could be stood up and crunching data in a matter of days. This efficiency allowed stakeholders to spend their time fine tuning data requirements, reviewing reports, and optimizing the visual presentation instead.

Hand me the remote

Choosing cloud BI brought an additional major benefit: global availability to corporate leadership on the go. From the C-suite to the airplane seat, any browser- enabled device can serve up a daily dose of dashboard data. And when behind company walls, the Single Sign On feature we prescribed allows each busy exec to conveniently launch the tool without entering redundant passwords.

The Market Assessment Dashboard is helping Media General’s executives stay on top of station performance on a daily basis, leading to an improvement of their critical television programming strategies.

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