Box Plus optimizes scheduling across the UK’s no.1 music video network with Tableau


Internal reporting times cut by 95%
Data ‘democratized’ for all employees
External BI costs eliminated

The Box Plus Network is the UK’s no.1 music video network. Featuring seven unique TV channels including The Box, 4Music and Kiss, it regularly collaborates with artists, labels, brands, fans and followers to create exciting content for a monthly audience of over 16.6 million viewers. Among the many applications of Tableau within the business is the use of heatmapping to track and compare viewership across the network, based on time of day and content broadcast. The insights gained directly inform a programming schedule that is appealing to viewers. Tableau’s ability to connect directly to internal data sources has also significantly reduced internal reporting times, whilst making meaningful data analysis more accessible to all employees. As a result, the company has been able to eliminate the monthly costs it previously incurred for external business intelligence services.

With the world of TV in constant flux, Tableau is going to be important in meeting these demands. Its relevance is further underlined with 4Music’s recent announcement in March 2018 to expand its programming into the entertainment arena. The strategy is an ambitious challenge to the bigger channels outside of the traditional Music TV space, and a move which has never been attempted by the broadcaster before.

The ability to compare program performance in such a visual way helps our scheduling team create a compelling line-up of content across the network.

Accurate programme scheduling via Tableau heatmaps leads to faster, insight-lead decisions

For an organization like the Box Plus Network, accurate programme scheduling is crucial. But accurate scheduling relies on accurate data analysis and intelligence, which isn’t easy to achieve without the right tools.

“We get a constant flow of viewing and demographic data across all seven of our broadcasting channels from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB),” explains Michael Chan, Senior Research Executive at the Box Plus Network. “The sheer volume of raw data presents a big challenge. A lot of digging is required to unearth insights buried within it and doing it manually was extremely laborious.”

Prior to Tableau, The Box Plus Network used basic spreadsheet analysis. While this method was useful, it was incredibly time consuming. Now the network’s scheduling team use Tableau visualizations and heat mapping to easily compare program performance in different hourly slots across the network, quickly pinpointing the best slots for different types of content.

“The ability to compare program performance in such a visual way helps our scheduling team create a compelling line-up of content across the network,” says Michael.

“In a recent review of Tableau amongst our users, something the Head of Scheduling said really stood out. When comparing Tableau to the old way of working, he said ‘In terms of our chart output, we’re not reinventing the wheel. A lot of what we needed, we did in Excel and then smartened up on PowerPoint, but the point is that Tableau is quicker. Tableau is easier. Tableau just is better to use’”.

Tableau is quicker. Tableau is easier. Tableau just is better to use.

Report turnaround time reduced from over an hour to just a few minutes

Another data issue Tableau helped The Box Plus Network overcome is the amount of time spent on reporting within the organization.

“Before Tableau, every report request was dealt with manually by the scheduling team, using Excel,” explains Michael. “Data from BARB had to be extracted and scrubbed before it could be analyzed and finally pasted into presentations for the person or team requesting it.”

The time-consuming nature of this process meant every report would take at least an hour to create manually. With numerous report requests coming in every day, the team lost an increasing percentage of its overall time to fulfilling them.

Moving to Tableau immediately eliminated many of the most laborious aspects of the reporting process and drastically reduced the amount of time required to create each one.

“Tableau plugs directly into our servers, which means there’s no need to extract or scrub data before it can be analyzed or presented,” explains Michael. “Creating a report now is as simple as defining the required search parameters and creating the visualization you need directly from the data.”

Michael estimates that the average time taken to create a new report has been cut from around an hour to just two or three minutes; a time saving of 95 percent.

“The amount of time saved per report is huge,” adds Michael. “Reports are automated, so the user gets them 100 times faster. It also gives users the autonomy to access when they want to, rather than wait for a weekly email”

Tableau plugs directly into our servers, which means there’s no need to extract or scrub data before it can be analyzed or presented.

Data ‘democratized’: employees increasingly self-serving their business intelligence needs

Tableau’s ease of use and powerful visualizations are encouraging more and more teams within the Box Plus Network to start self-serving their business intelligence needs.

“In most organizations, data intelligence is seen as a task reserved for the Research team due to its complicated nature,” says Michael. “In the past, we were the same, but now we’re finding that once people have been introduced to Tableau and what it can do, they are showing more interest in trying to use it themselves.”

Michael attributes much of this positive cultural shift to the fact that the Box Plus Network Managing Director, Matt Rennie, is himself an avid user of Tableau.

“Having worked with Tableau before in previous organizations, Matt knew what an asset it could be to the Box Plus Network and he was instrumental in its adoption,” says Michael. “Such positive reinforcement from the very top has played a big part in how quickly it’s been adopted at every level of the company.”

Over half of all staff at the Box Plus Network now interact with Tableau on a regular basis, with many more undergoing training. Michael cites the Music team as a great example of self-service analytics now taking place within the company.

“In the past, the team would ask for data reports that they could use in a pitch with industry music labels. We would then need to extract the data, process it, clean it, analyze it and finally, copy/paste the visuals into PowerPoint. Now, the reports are in dashboards in the cloud, meaning they can log in and access all the up-to-date information they need via Tableau Online whilst in the meeting. If the labels need different info, then we’ve set up the dashboards with filters to change the parameters, meaning no more ‘Let us get back to you on that’”

With Tableau we can do everything our suppliers did for us, but faster, on time and on demand. We can create reports quickly, pivot on findings immediately and explore insights as they arise. It saves us time, money and resources. Who wouldn’t want that?

Costly external business intelligence services no longer needed

With the Box Plus Network’s business intelligence needs met by Tableau, the company has been able to dispense with several costly third party BI services that it previously had to rely on.

“We used to pay for weekly reports because we didn’t have the capacity to do them all in-house,” comments Michael. “At the time, we didn’t feel they were providing good ROI, but we didn’t have an alternative. Now we can do everything ourselves in Tableau, plus so much more.”

“The old way of doing things was so labor intensive, we had to choose what tasks we could do and what we had to outsource,” concludes Michael. “With Tableau we can do everything our suppliers did for us, but faster, on time and on demand. We can create reports quickly, pivot on findings immediately and explore insights as they arise. It saves us time, money and resources. Who wouldn’t want that?”

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