Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry’s leading content providers, producing programming in every genre; network, cable, syndication, and digital outlets. SPT boasts a current program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies, reality, talk shows and telefilms.
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WorldAPP client Sony Pictures Television is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) - which operates around the world to produce and distribute movie and television content in more than 140 countries.
Managing so many diverse businesses and projects in widespread geographical locations is a complicated challenge, especially when the company is targeting so many different demographic populations.
That’s why the vast Sony Pictures Television enterprise needed innovative and highly flexible survey products that could be simultaneously adapted to a wide variety of uses to help address a full range of different issues.
We originally sought out a survey provider because we needed to conduct surveys that were primarily used with internal personnel and occasionally with external clients," explains Robin Lake, Vice-President for International Research for Sony Pictures Television.
To meet the demands, the survey technology needed to be sophisticated but at the same time it had to be easy to use by those without technical expertise. That way the surveys could be conducted by numerous teams and departments scattered across different continents, without the need for specially trained personnel or technological infrastructure upgrades.
But the company also required survey software that was capable of being used for lots of different kinds of surveys, to solve a variety of different problems or generate information and data related to a host of dissimilar topics and issues. They wanted one survey product, in other words, that would accomplish the work of many different kinds of survey products - and they wanted it at an affordable price point.
Key Survey was selected as our first choice because it was easy to use, intuitive, and flexible," says Lake. "The product has also proved to be really cost effective for the level of services provided, and they are easy for multiple parties around the world to utilize. They allow us to author surveys with ease, and we have found them to be a useful tool for a variety of different purposes."
While Key Survey is primarily used by market research personnel at Sony Pictures Television, the company also finds that they are popular tools for those in other areas or departments including marketing, sales, and production.
We have used the service to conduct surveys on a range of internal issues," says Lake. "Those include finding out the effectiveness of marketing materials, conducting employee satisfaction evaluations, getting feedback before and after special events and training, and many other topics or areas that are of interest to us at any given time."
Sony Pictures Television uses Key Survey to make it much simpler and faster to plan effective marketing campaigns, for instance, and to find out exactly what kinds of resources and support its sales teams and customers want and need.
When they hold training days they can first survey the participants to determine the most convenient times to schedule the sessions for maximum attendance and minimum disruption. Then they can perform a follow-up survey immediately afterward - while the training is still fresh in everyone’s minds - and gather feedback from key personnel to find out how successful or well-received the event actually was.
The company has always used Key Survey standard templates, and Lake reports that customer service at WorldAPP is always exceptionally accessible, knowledgeable, and friendly. "I always find the customer service very helpful and the product very effective and flexible," she says.
Flexibility is critically important to a company as large and spread-out as Sony Pictures Television, as Lake explains. "One reason we prefer Key Survey is because instead of investing in a survey tool that will be used only by a single department, we know that anyone in the company can use Key Survey for any number of surveys and virtually any kind of survey purpose."
She says that someone might use it to gather responses to a sales conference, for instance, and find out which sales materials were most effective. They can conduct this type of survey on their own, quite easily, to quickly get valuable information that would otherwise be very difficult and expensive to ascertain.
We had an internal conference for our production people recently, for example, to come up with our yearly strategy," Lake said. "So prior to the meeting we wanted to know what kinds of TV shows work best in everyone’s respective markets. We also wanted to know what their main priorities and goals were for the next six months, and we wanted to get a general overview of what was going on within our businesses all over the globe. That way we could have a keener understanding of the long-range strategies within individual territories and markets throughout the world."
After the conference, Lake did a follow-up survey to see if everyone found it worthwhile, by asking respondents to list the top three things they got from the event in terms of value-added benefits.
She often canvasses employees in similar ways through surveys in order to stimulate ideas, come up with collective strategies, and gain feedback about previous projects, initiatives, and strategic approaches.
Sony Pictures Television also makes good use of Key Survey to survey external clients, joint venture partners, vendors, production companies, and others. They have a business-to-business website, for example, where clients can go and browse through available TV content and other related resources. A television channel in Spain, for instance, can download assets from that site and then use them in their own region to help them create a more effective marketing campaign.
Lake and her colleagues take advantage of Key Survey application to determine which parts of the business-to-business website are the most visited and popular ones and whether the site navigation is user-friendly for their clients. They simultaneously gather other valuable insight into client attitudes and preferences. That data enables them to continually keep the site optimized and ideally designed so that it provides exactly what the customer wants and makes the user experience more rewarding.
When we use a Key Survey application it doesn’t require technical proficiency," adds Lake, "and we have never once had a complaint from any of those we surveyed or from any of our people who have used Key Survey to create surveys or survey reports. Even if we need to do multi-lingual translations of surveys that is also easy. Key Survey is great."
Best of all, she says, people who are surveyed very much appreciate having their voices heard, their opinions valued, and their input used to guide Sony Pictures Television decisions and strategies. That gives the company many reasons to keep returning to WorldAPP for innovative solutions, outstanding tools, and valuable yet affordable survey products.