“My latest project demonstrated the added value in combining research insight with customer insight”
Name: Richard Higgins
Job title: Insight Controller
What area do you work in? NOWTV – Insight and Decision Science, managing the insight feeding into targeting and decisioning.
What was the content of the project you worked on? Combining attitudinal research with statistical modelling to drive greater personalisation in online customer cancellation journeys. Our decisioning logic consisted of attitudinal segmentation and price elasticity modelling that will dictate the path through the journey and the conversation taking place within it.
Why was the experience on this particular project worthwhile? It demonstrated the added value in combining research insight with customer insight and to use the output in a way which directly affects the customers’ interaction on the website. Also working collaboratively with many other areas of the business such as the design team and the product development teams in supporting a data-driven organisation.
If this project was in addition to your BAU, how did you manage your workload? It was not in addition to BAU.
Who were the main stakeholders? The Sales & Marketing team as this is a major initiative expected to be a key driver towards meeting several of our KPI’s for this year and beyond
What did you enjoy most about this project? From an insight perspective the statistical modelling is sophisticated and challenging and a great example of why we took the decision to embed research and data analytics within the same team. Also the collaborative effort between many areas of the business coming together to work towards a common goal and working within a group who are all so keen for data to be the principle driver behind key business decisions is exciting.
“The exciting part has been seeing how well the project was received and the number of changes the business is making.”
Name: Steve Waterman
Job title: Insight Manager
What area do you work in? The analytical team, IDS, with a focus on providing insights to help make the in-life customer experience as valuable and enjoyable as possible.
What was the content of the project you worked on? We looked in depth across a range of viewing behaviours to understand what triggered a customer to cancel their NOW TV subscription. This allows us to come up with new ways to improve the customer experience which benefits everyone!
Why was the experience on this particular project worthwhile? The project really helped the business focus its attention on a few key areas which would have the most impact on the customer experience. From a personal element, it introduced me to a range of people across the business and provided an interesting & engaging challenge to try to uncover the key patterns of behaviour amongst lots of noise in the data.
If this project was in addition to your BAU, how did you manage your workload? We had good engagement and interest from our stakeholders, meaning they were keen for us to invest time to uncover the real drivers.
Who were the main stakeholders? The main stakeholders were our Customer Management team, but the results were also informative for our Marketing, Product, Editorial, UX and Strategy teams.
What did you enjoy most about this project? During the project, there was lots of scope for debating ideas, approaches and interpretations of results which allowed a lot of creative freedom. Since we delivered the project, the exciting part has been seeing how well it was received and the number of changes the business is making or planning as a direct result of our insights.
"If you learn better by doing (rather than sitting in class), this is for you"
Role: Journalism Apprentice, Sky Sports News
Zinny has been watching Sky Sports News since he was seven - now he's cutting up montage clips and reviewing the presenters' scripts. All while doing a journalism course. If you want to get your qualifications, while learning on the job, an apprenticeship is the best way forward
You’ll get your articles published
I started off in the planning department, setting up interviews, logging where all the cameras go and making a diary so you can refer to it and know which reporter has gone where. It was a good way to ease into the role, as I wasn’t thrown completely in the deep end, but once I got to the digital department, I was set writing news articles for the website. I did one about Jamie Vardy, who last year wasn’t allowed to practice shooting drills towards the end of the season, and it was at the top of the trending list on the website for most of the day.
It’s not just writing articles
When I was on production, we would spend the beginning of the day looking at footage. If there had been a game we would cut the clips up to make montages for shows. We’d write the instructions for the presenter, and I got to have a go at the script first, then someone else would have another look or change it. I didn’t really expect that, I was pretty nervous, but you learn really quickly. It’s a nicer way to learn, rather than just listening in a classroom. You’ll rotate around all the areas of sports - production, planning, digital, edit, everything, so you can get an idea of what you’d maybe like to do. Soon I’m going to start going out with reporters, which will be really fun!
You get to report at some really big events
I went to do two weeks at Wimbledon with Sky News - for the bulletins, people go down there and, though they can’t go inside or film inside, they film in the front you can see the back of centre court. My job was to record all the press conferences and interviews after the matches, put them in the machine, and feed it back to everyone. I wasn’t working on the men’s final, but I got to watch the women’s final which was pretty cool!
You still keep up with your studies
I go to college one day a week, and have to do everything to make sure it fits with what I’m doing at college. I’m doing general journalism at the same time which is good because it doesn’t close me off from options in terms of a future career. Also, if I pass all my exams, I get a job afterwards which is a good motivation to work on my course alongside the apprenticeship! When the exams come up, they say you can have a few days off from the office to revise and I also get an hour a day to do what I need to do coursework-wise.
If you learn better by doing (rather than sitting in class), this is for you
I used to sit at home and just watch Sky Sports News from the age of seven. I think they’re looking for people who have that sort of passion, but also for someone who learns better by doing rather than being taught. At school, I never felt very clever, but in the real world it’s about getting a grasp of things and then you can do it really quickly. It’s easier to learn if you see a point to something, rather than sitting at school and people telling you about things.
"Think cash in red pockets, dragon parades and food overload."
It's Chinese New Year on Saturday, 28 January, so we caught up with Jennifer Ho, Senior Manager, TV Products to find out more...
Chinese New Year is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. Traditionally celebrations run for two weeks involving lots of home time and family reunions. The greeting you may hear frequently during this time is 'Gung Hei Fat Choi' used as 'Happy New Year' but literally, means 'Congratulations and Wishing You Prosperity'.
Another great tradition is receiving cash in red pockets given most commonly to children from elder members of the family as a way to send well wishes and good luck. Believe it or not, the significance is actually the red pocket (not the cash) as the colour symbolises positive energy, happiness and luck. Yes, please!
You may also have heard that we are entering the Year of the Rooster – one of the twelve years in the Chinese Zodiac cycle – it's the idea that the animal representing the year you are born influences your personality traits. If you are a Rooster then chances are that you are a confident, active, hardworking and resourceful person.
So this weekend kick back and relax and enjoy the New Year festivities. If you happen to be in Central London why not join in on the celebrations welcoming the next prosperous year ahead. The highlight for me has always been the dragon dance. This year my family is abroad but I will still be celebrating (instead, but still very traditionally) with a hearty Chinese meal with a group of friends here in London as my home away from home.
“Gung Hei Fat Choi” and Happy Year of the Rooster.
"I didn’t know anything before but I definitely came away with more knowledge!"
Role: Work Experience in HR.
You’ll really learn how a business works
It was really great - every day we spent with a different department within HR, you got to see how it all works. For me, I didn’t know anything before but I definitely came away with more knowledge! I study law at Exeter, and one of my models is employment law. I find all the employer regulations really interesting but didn’t know anything about HR. I hadn’t done any work experience before - so I’d been searching for jobs one day and came across the Sky website. I thought it’d be quite a good insight into how a company worked.
The HR team basically looks after the employees
HR is a way of connecting and representing the people within the business, inviting new people in through advertising and careers, and then looking after them during their journey through the company. You make sure everyone gets their wages, help integrate new employees with old employees, that sort of thing. HR would suit someone friendly and chatty, and who is interested in how things work behind the scenes of a business. You’re problem-solving a lot, and dealing with employers who might be a bit upset about a situation, so you’ve got to remain calm.
Don’t be put off if you don’t have HR experience
I’d say just apply and don’t be put off - I didn’t have any experience in HR before, and I got selected! They just want to see you’ve researched the company, and are interested in how Sky works. I spent a lot of time googling Sky, but also HR in general. Go for it, and put everything into it. It was just literally the application, which was really good as well if you don’t like interviews!
People from all different backgrounds were also on the work experience
We were quite a big group, and we all got on really well! There was a huge variety of people on work experience - one guy who was 17 and a woman who was 26 - also, some people were still at college, and others were thinking of a career change. Some were doing A levels, and weren’t sure what they wanted to do, but there were also a couple of psychology students and business students - it’s really is open to everyone.
It’s a great opportunity to come to Sky
There are definitely parts of HR I’m still interested in, in terms of careers, because there are so many parts of HR. But even if you decide HR isn’t for you, it’s worth coming to do the work experience just to see how the company works - Sky is such a great company to work for. You could get your foot in the door, and then move around.
"I was going to go and do a politics and economics degree. After the Work Experience, I thought that wasn’t the right thing for me"
Role: Finance 16-18 programme
Finance 16-18 is all about doing a group task, and it’s a lot of fun
It’s a week where we went over to the Osterley campus and did a financial analysis project, which was three ways Sky could gain more subscribers. We spent about three and a half to four days on the project and were given a lot of information which we laid out on a spreadsheet. We went through it, with someone helping us and showing us how to do it, and worked out how we could make recommendations. Taking into account common sense, what could happen, and looking at aims of the company as well, not just the money side of things. We presented to a few people on the grad scheme, and there were also a lot of people from Sky who came to watch. The presentation went quite well - I wasn’t expecting it to go well because I didn’t expect that I would be good at it!
Finance isn’t as dry as you’d think
I’ve been worried about getting into Finance because I thought it was really mathsy. I do A Level maths but I’m not the mathsiest person! As long as you have a basic understanding of how to deal with numbers, you’ll be okay. We had to do the project with Excel and I was the only person who didn’t know how to use it! But I learned fast, and as long as you can pick things up you’ll be fine. It’s not as dry as I thought it would be, either!
The work experience helped me figure out what I want to do
Before I did the work experience I was going to go and do a politics and economics degree. After it, I thought that wasn’t the right thing for me and I should do a business degree as that would lead specifically to finance and the area I want to work in. I’m now applying for business management - so I’m glad I did it, because I think I’m going to enjoy my degree a lot more than I was before. Also, Sky is a really cool company - apart from the fact that they care about their employees and everyone seems so happy there, it’s so cool to be working for a company you like. Finance is something that can be done anywhere, so I think it’s important to do it for a company you think are cool.
Make your application about Sky to stand out
Make your application about Sky rather than just finance work experience. It makes your application stick out. If you know what specific projects Sky have going on, then mention that and it makes you look like you haven’t just copied and pasted applications and sent a load out. They want to see you have a passion for the company and a real interest in doing finance at Sky rather than just anywhere.
“This is a place where new ideas are appreciated”
Name: Xin Li
Job title: Financial Analyst
What area of Sky do you work in? Finance – Sales and Marketing
How are you supported to be yourself at work? I have weekly and monthly one-to-one meetings with my line manager when I update him my work and getting some advice from him. We communicate frankly about my strengths, development points and areas I like to work on. And he’s always supportive and willing to help if needed. When I wanted to learn new software for data analysis, he encouraged me to find appropriate training and taught me how to use it when he was less busy.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? Sales and Marketing finance is dynamic and fast-paced, thus the priorities change on day to day basis. The first thing I normally do when I start my day is to go through to-do list and diary to check if anything needs to be completed on the day, and then plan the day ahead. Quite often, new requests from the business or senior would land and I need to re-plan the day. The main part of my job is to support and analyse the offers, and also learn from historical performance. Given that the market is constantly changing and we need to react fast, no day is the same.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? Although I’ve been here for less than a year, I absolutely enjoy it, although it took me a while to actually understand the role and the business. But, at the same time, because of my fresh view, I could make a difference in my role. The proudest moment so far was when I redesigned one of our essential reports, and the data team confirmed my logic worked later on. The change would give us a clearer view of the incentives performance with significant time savings. Making things better is always a nice feeling.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I enjoy the insights from my and other teams’ analysis very much. The analysis enables me to understand customers’ behaviour, the market, and future trends. And lots of analysis keeps me thinking and allows me to constantly learn new things. Of course, preparing the analysis and inspiring others is equally enjoyable.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Always try to think outside of the box and be brave when delivering an idea. This is a place where new ideas are appreciated, which is another thing I really enjoy.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I’ve been training in Tai Chi since I was young and once I assisted a few friends of mine from being mugged when I was in school.
"Show your passion and keep it structured"
Role: Sky News Work Experience
You’ll work with the day team, and the night team
For the first week, I was with the day team, and that was to get a feel of what they do - how the news worked. I went to Millbank to do some filming spots there, then the next week was with the night team, to see how that was run. For the day team, I was researching features. We were waiting for the NHS to provide their winter report, so I was researching that alongside Trump news. Then I was working on the weekly review with Adam Tate, prepping him for the What Went On feature where he talks about the news that week.
You’ll also get a lot of experience on the job
During the second week, I worked on the Tesco banking story, when people couldn’t get money out. I worked on a package, so went with a producer and a presenter to interview certain people who had been affected, and certain people who worked in the industry. We researched which stores we could film at - that was my job. Then me and the producer went in and edited it all together, got some statistics about people who had been affected by similar things, and did background research into how banking works. We edited with the digital editor, and it went on TV at 8pm. I was travelling home so didn’t see it - but you’ve already seen it so much before it even goes live!
You might be trusted to do a job by yourself
During the presidential elections, I was given the responsibility to make a minute long sizzle as an introduction to a TV feature. I did that all by myself, working with the editor. It was put out at 7.30pm I was really excited! I was in the gallery when they picked it up and got to see it.
If you impress, you’ll get asked back
Three or four weeks after, I got asked back to work on a different team - it was for Sunrise, the morning show, getting guests onto the show and booking them in, which was quite tricky because it was the lead-up to Christmas and also including Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I worked with a really brilliant team who were so on the ball.
Take notes as you go and learn fast
You’re not always introduced to everyone, and it goes very quickly, because that’s just how the news desk is - so if you feel a bit worried, then just be constantly taking notes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to anyone you get a rapport with, even if they’re not the person you’re assigned to. Try and do your very best to get on with what you’ve been asked to do, ask if there’s anything you can help with too - as there usually is!
Before I started, I was on the Sky News app all the time, because it’s easy to access, making sure I understood what Sky was reporting in comparison to other news companies. You will be across international news as well and, while you don’t have to know everything, it’s just good to understand what people are talking about. It was helpful that I knew a bit about the presidential elections already - so when they were discussing a particular state, I wasn’t completely confused.
In the application, show your passion and keep it structured
In the application, be really honest and show your passion for Sky News. I was really shocked when I got the phone call! I had to check what I’d written. It was a big surprise. Tell them what you can bring, what you want to learn, what you want to get out of it. Why Sky News, why you. Pinpoint your ideas, and structure it into points so you don’t waffle on!
"This was the ideal placement, because we looked at every area of the Production Services"
Role: Work Experience at Sky Production Services
This is perfect for anyone interested in media and communications
I do media and communications at university, so I’m really interested in entertainment and TV production and wanted to see how it all works. This was the ideal placement, because we looked at every area of the production services, every hour we saw how an area worked. Which means we saw the whole picture, and that production services is much more than just the studio and the camera and things like that.
You get a real overview of how everything works
I keep thinking about the Ingest Operations team, because that was really fun. It’s basically looking over content and making sure it’s delivered to the best quality. And looking back at footage that has already aired, and storing it. When I used to think about it, I thought things just aired as is, but there’s so much more to it. When we looked at quality control, the woman who talked us through it told us they watch all the content and have various things they notice that people at home wouldn’t even see. They flag it up, then that gets sent back to be reworked. I saw how colour correction works as well - that was in post-production, and it was cool because I thought everything was done by the camera.
You get to go into the studios, which is fun
My favourite bit was actually going to the studios - being interested in production, I found that exciting. Following a camera operator was interesting, and we were on set while they were testing, then went to the gallery where I shadowed the sound guys. I wasn’t just with sound either, I got to see how the directors and producers work in the gallery. I also loved the editing part, as it connected what i was doing at uni; I was editing a short film myself at the time with the same software!
It will help you work out what you want to do, and how you can get there
Doing this work experience really changed my perspective regarding what I want to do; I was a little scared of not finding my way into the media and TV industry, as from the outside it seems quite closed. But there are a lot of opportunities to start working in. I don’t need to start immediately as a producer, I can start up in different area and work my way up. All the coordinating and scheduling was quite interesting - what shows are going on when, and also managing the relationship between Sky and the clients - so there was a lot for me to think about, in terms of a career!
You get to ask a lot of questions
We did get a lot of time to ask questions, because the time we spent in the departments was more personal. You were working or shadowing particular people who were so friendly and open! We kept contact with some of the team, I sent out a couple of emails to people who did interesting roles, and Ingest Operations invited me in for a more detailed overview. Anyone interested in working in production in the media and TV industries would benefit from doing what I did, and seeing how it is all put together.