TMT Insights – Q&A with TMT Insights COO Hannah Barnhardt and CEO Andy Shenkler

TMT Insights – Q&A with TMT Insights COO Hannah Barnhardt and CEO Andy Shenkler


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TMT Insights – Q&A with TMT Insights COO Hannah Barnhardt and CEO Andy Shenkler

Journal Article from TMT Insights Group

Fri 09, 09 2022

TMT Insights with:

COO Hannah Barnhardt and CEO Andy Shenkler

Q. Tell me about TMT Insights and how it got started.

Hannah Barnhardt: Andy and I started TMT Insights thinking we’d take on a few strategic professional services projects. Much to our surprise — and we’re grateful for it — the company has grown rapidly, and our client list today includes some of the most innovative global media brands.

We deal with all aspects of production and distribution workflows, helping clients in the M&E world streamline their existing processes or reimagine an entire end-to-end supply chain.  Our professional services include a mix of traditional consulting, CXO advisory services, and software development, while our core focus sits with architecting, building, and implementing complete media supply chains for streaming, fast channels, linear broadcast, and other distribution models. For some clients, we also provide outsourced DevOps, technical support, and vendor management, which includes managing the infrastructure for their backend platform and tech stack. To complement those services, we created Polaris, an operational management system that unifies and surfaces information from various subsystems behind a single pane of glass, giving users the visibility, they need to work collaboratively and efficiently across their cloud-enabled media supply chain.

Q. TMT Insights helps M&E companies prepare for what’s next. What’s your forecast for the industry?

Andy Shenkler: It's a pretty interesting time right now because we’re seeing many counterintuitive indicators. Disney now has more subscribers to their streaming services than Netflix. That’s an incredible growth rate over four years compared to the 10+ years it took Netflix to get to over 200 million subscribers. As that data emerges, we’re also seeing hiring freezes and layoffs across the industry. While there has been trepidation about the amount of money being spent on new content, there also has been an enormous push over the past two to three years, with COVID, toward globalization of content and an immense amount of original programming created across all these different platforms.

Everybody’s trying to figure out if these mixed signals indicate that we’re growing or we’re stalling. Because cash was cheap and everybody was in this massive “space race” for the streaming wars, the industry had access to an enormous amount of cash over the past several years. I think we're now going to see a response from the financial side of the world; companies will start to hedge and pull back. With some stunning decisions being made around content right now, we’re seeing seismic shifts in how companies are re-positioning themselves.

Q. How is TMT Insights positioned to guide M&E companies into the future?

Andy Shenkler: During changing times, you can’t simply take a lever and switch direction at the drop of a hat. I mean, you can, but it could have unintended consequences. That’s why the technology and operations teams within media organizations need to be able to respond to new challenges and opportunities as they arise. Our goal is to help them navigate those paths and remain nimble.

Because our team has a long history building and running enterprise media operations at scale, we’ve been through different cycles of change. We come to every project with a unique depth of experience and understanding, so we’re prepared to jump in and help without a learning curve. That’s why TMT Insights has been able to grow so quickly. As soon as we start talking with clients, they realize it will take just a couple of weeks of engagement, not months, for us to align on what they’re trying to do. In fact, the script often will flip, and they start to ask us if they’re heading the right direction. That’s a pretty unique position for our business to be in, given the fact that there is so much uncertainty about what’s coming next for the industry. But we’re really proud to have the right people, experience, knowledge, and solutions to deliver.

Q. Why did you decide to join IABM?

Andy Shenkler: The challenges of COVID drew everyone together because we were all thrown into the same chaos. In response to those shared challenges, the industry pulled together a strong fabric — a willingness to come together in joint problem-solving. It’s critical now to make sure we don't go back to a world in which everyone pursues only their own directions and interests, pulling that fabric apart.

Organizations such as IABM benefit the industry because they help to maintain a valuable commonality of conversation, a shared philosophy about working together to address whatever the future may hold. They help to preserve the fabric that holds the industry together and bring collective benefits to all businesses. We feel it’s important for us to be part of that effort and that community.

Hannah Barnhardt: IABM does an exceptional job of providing multiple outlets — from research to networking opportunities to events — to bring together different minds and perspectives on topics that are important to the industry. Whether it's finance, technical engineering operations, or any other aspect of the business, the organization plays a vital role in continuing the discussion, enabling collaboration, and fostering positive forward momentum, all in a transparent fashion.

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