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Seema Mandhra, insights and analytics director, Discovery+ EMEA

Seema Mandhra, insights and analytics director, Discovery+ EMEA

How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?

 

Analytics is of the upmost importance to Discovery+, assisting the business with monitoring the success of our products. Discovery+ provides an online video-on-demand (VoD) direct-to-consumer (DTC) service providing a digital entertainment experience to all customers. Data and analytics is used on a daily basis, providing our senior leadership teams with the latest information on customer data. We not only look at general analytics trends, but also monitor platform quality performance to understand the customer experience better.

 

Our data and analytics team collaborate with finance to maintain budget and KPI targets; we work with the product team to identify any feature improvements/changes and platform performance; we liaise with the CX team to analyse customer feedback. The team is involved across all product launches, ensuring analytics have sign-off on all requirements.

 

2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?

 

The global pandemic has affected all businesses across multiple sectors. Discovery+ has also had to adapt to the new challenges faced in 2020.

 

Like many companies in the television and VoD industry, we have been fortunate enough to have a customer base which has increased its consumption of our content. From a business perspective, the main challenge has been to provide a range of content, with a user-friendly, easily-accessible customer experience.

 

Many of our planned popular shows were postponed, major sporting events had been delayed, this of course disrupted our content schedule encouraging teams to introduce different techniques to keep audiences engaged.

 

Whilst remote working has always been part of our culture, like many companies, we have had to adapt. Despite these challenges, I believe as a team we have worked incredibly hard to ensure we delivered our objectives.

 

 

Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?

 

2021 will bring new and innovative ways to interpret data. Our focus is on automation, whether it be automated QA or automated reports and dashboards - our objective is for data to be accessible to all.

 

We now have an established CDP in place - this year we will partner closer with the CRM and marketing teams to drive advanced CRM, personalisation and recommendations. The focus is to provide deeper analysis to the leadership team, enabling an in-depth understanding of our targeted audiences.

 

 

Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?

 

Data is at the centre of our business agenda at Discovery+. We encourage data-led discussions, ensuring all departments have access to key dashboards and top-level performance data which drives exciting internal conversations.

 

From a personal perspective, data is always important to provide a clear picture of achievements and accomplishments, enabling us to make functional improvements of the product. Data will remain at the forefront of our agenda to drive our business decisions.

 

Data and analytics support the corporate strategy for growth and development - our output and data help monitor all aspects of the goals set for the business.

 

 

What has been your path to power?

 

I have been fortunate to have a successful career within the media and broadcasting industry working for some leading players in this field, including reputable companies such as ABC, ITV, Channel 5 and ViacomCBS. Each experience has enhanced my personal and professional development and contributed to my career growth. Along my journey, I have benefited by having exceptional managers and mentors who have believed in me and pushed me to reach my potential. Having a great manager really makes a difference.

 

Being at Discovery has been a valuable experience contributing to my continued growth professionally. Working for an organisation that welcomes the value of data and analytics is refreshing, enabling me as a leader to motivate my team and push our capabilities further. It is reviving to be part of a leadership team that promotes collaboration and encourages a “oneteam” ethos across the business.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

 

Being selected again amongst industry leaders is an honour and no doubt an achievement in itself,. I am grateful to be included again in this years DataIQ 100.

 

The implementation of our CDP (supported by mParticle) has been hugely beneficial to our business this year driving targeted campaigns and drawing in new audiences. I am very proud of leading our efforts in implementing this platform and building an incredible team of experts that work collaboratively with the business to contribute to delivering our company strategy and goals.

 

Tell us about a career goal or a purpose for your organisation that you are pursuing?

 

We are currently using data collection and data science techniques to build a better understanding of customer behaviour and enhance the customer experience via methods of personalisation and recommendations. This provides the ability to tailor our customer experiences when they engage and consume our content.

 

Being in an industry with multiple DTC services, my personal objective is to relay consumer behaviour and consumption to the business to encourage consumer growth. I wish to remain in tune with the latest cutting-edge data and technologies in the market and bring further awareness on our product performance.

 

How closely aligned to the business are data and analytics both within your own organisation and at an industry level? What helps to bring the two closer together?

 

Data and analytics are very closely aligned to our business at Discovery+. We have moved towards a “data-first” strategy, where our business decisions are driven by data and analytics. We host regular discussions with our senior leadership team and our department stakeholders, presenting our key performance metrics, cohort level analysis, customer sentiment/feedback and brand awareness which drive key business decisions.

 

From an industry standpoint, I would like to think we are aligned well with our peers in terms of using data to influence our business decisions, as in some cases it can be regarded as a secondary thought.

 

What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?

 

Developing a strong data culture involves several elements. Ensuring a good data infrastructure first and foremost is important, having a strong analytics framework of implementation, data capture and reporting is highly recommended.

 

Communication plays a crucial role in creating a positive culture. Encouraging all teams and departments to take part in data led discussions and presentations. Working with each business unit to encourage them to think and act digitally.

 

Creating that “single source of truth” and promote accuracy, whether it is a data warehouse system, a data lake or the third-party tool itself. This builds a view of safety and reassurance when making data led decisions.

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