Smart content production

Which considerations should be made in order to have a sustainable grip on the requirements of the various target groups for content – and thus on production and budgets – in the great media upheaval??

The media market – an ever-expanding universe: more and more competitors, more and more platforms, more and more specific content for more diverse target groups, technical disruption, and all this with growing business constraints for both private and public media houses.

Smart content production

The ever-expanding media universe, endless expanses. The year is 2022. Private as well as public media face a confusing plethora of challenges.

A situation in which many questions must be asked in order to be well positioned for the future. And the first are: What can this future look like? Have we sufficiently addressed megatrends and weak signals? Where do we want to be in ten years or so? What strategic goals do we have, taking into account all the signals and trends that we can identify today?? With which qualities (performances) can we and do we want to assert ourselves in the media market??

Once this is at least outlined as a strategic picture, step 2 follows: What do I have to take into account, change or build up today in order to be sustainably positioned for this?? Which investment horizons must our projects, formats, job profiles take into account?? What intermediate solutions may need to be. be found? How to prioritize and what to measure success against?

Smart content production

Thomas Holzmann ..

It is clear that content plays a central role: What is produced, published and distributed where and how for whom? Whereby we have been talking about an iterative process here for a long time and also no longer assume a transmitter-receiver relationship.

Above all, this means thinking in a networked way: Which aspects have an influence in each case and must be taken into account in project planning and strategic positioning??

Smart content production

… and Natascha Vostrovsky from FLYING EYE deal with "Smart Content Production" in this article.

In order to structure this, FLYING EYE has developed the Smart Content Production Map which helps to consider all aspects and to draw the right conclusions for a strategic three-horizon project planning.

At their heart are the three central starting points of content development: topic, channel/platform and user. Applied to strategic issues and projects, it shows the networking potentials, dependencies, synergy and development opportunities and is the basis for working out sustainable and individual implementation options.

Of course, projects will always focus on. However, one must always keep an eye on the dependencies, other areas and projects and, above all, major developments and trends. An agile approach also always means seeing and adapting projects in context, an absolute necessity in view of the rapid and massive changes in society and the media market.

The Smart Content Production Map is the basis on which epics and networked processes are developed, user stories are described, and are repeatedly reviewed and adapted in an agile process.

Smart content production

The Smart Content Production Map is intended to map the essential aspects of media production; weighting and detailing vary from customer to customer.

The map grows with the opportunities and can be placed on multiple horizons, such as:

Smart content production

To be able to project system solutions and implement them in an agile way, you have to create the basis for it in advance.

– Which investments are already an important basis to prepare for future requirements?

– What decisions need to be made today to both meet current needs and create options for parallel, sustainable development?

– Which potentials with regard to partnerships, networks and distribution channels should be investigated today in order to be able to set the course at the right time??

– Where to focus and prioritize? What will also have to be left?

We thus create the basis for projecting system solutions and implementing them in an agile manner. Because that’s exactly what our ever-expanding media universe around our three content starting points demands: maximum flexibility, networking and adaptability.

Focus on the architecture of the system landscapes

(Enterprise Application Architecture, EAA)

With these challenges, the time of systems that are described in 900-page, rigid specifications and implemented in a quasi-linear fashion is definitely over. The practice of shifting responsibility for functionality to a general contractor has also always been critical. Often enough, endless increase/decrease discussions develop from this. In not infrequent cases, this led to escalations that significantly delayed the tasks at hand.

Smart content production

In the architecture of system landscapes, too, possibilities, specifications and standards change and expand almost continuously.

In order to find sustainable, networked, flexible solutions, modern project planning is about paying particular attention to the following aspects:

1. The entire application landscape of companies is in focus

Up to now, the focus has often been on the individual system and, at best, on the interfaces to the surrounding systems. This must be reversed: Functioning overall systems should take precedence. Thus, the requirements of the overall system are also a good regulator for escalating requirements for the individual system. Individual systems with an infrastructural character have, of course, a different consideration horizon.

These requirements of the individual systems are derived from the overall strategy for the production area, which in turn is derived from the strategic considerations of the entire company. The framework conditions for the requirements of the individual systems are thus derived from the strategy for the production area.

2. Investment projects must adapt to the fast pace of requirements in terms of scope and timing

In our view, the waterfall approach, in which systems are put out to tender that cover as many requirements as possible, has finally had its day. Not only because it is a repository of sprawling requirements, but in particular because its timelines no longer fit the times of rapidly changing demands on the system landscape of media production. In addition, it is maximally remote from the user, since the user is involved, if at all once, at the beginning and then again at the end of the project.

Smart content production

Agility helps in projects.

We are aware that the term "agile projects" has been burned quite a bit in the last few years. Especially because it has been abused by many suppliers to free themselves from the annoying shackles of fixed price.

Nevertheless, the agile manifesto is the right answer to the fast pace of our time.

It is therefore important to have a clear picture of one’s own system landscape across all functions, editorial, production, administration, etc., in order to be able to meet the challenges of the future. and to develop their interaction.

Smart content production

Book tip: "The agile fixed price".

This system landscape must then be broken down into modules that can be processed in short, agile projects. Agility then even ensures changes to the requirements during the project term. This guarantees user proximity.

…and for those who are concerned about fixed prices, the book "The agile fixed price" is recommended. FLYING EYE also uses its expertise in risk management to manage cost risk in agile projects.


Recognizing signals and trends, emphasizing your own strengths, tasks and strategies, thinking about content planning, production and publication in a synergetic, user- and topic-centric way – all these are prerequisites for being well positioned for the future in the media industry.

In the investment and project area, it is therefore essential to be much more flexible, agile, networked and to have a view of several horizons. In order to be able to develop solutions that form a sustainable basis for the major challenges of the constantly expanding media universe.

The term "smart production" has been doing the rounds in the industry for some time now. From our point of view, the above considerations are the necessary entry point to get to "smart production methods".

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