Global design research with cultural sensitivity

Understanding how streaming media content creation is done around the world

For one of our international clients, we carried out a foundational study to create knowledge on the evolving practices of media creation for online streaming around the world. The aim for this qualitative research was to investigate to what extent our client’s strategies and services may need to be localised while content creation rapidly expands amongst several global markets. We collaborated with our local partners from the Reach Network, to explore how content creation is perceived and done across 6 different countries on four continents, and discovered how cultural trends, geographic location, socioeconomic situation, access to resources can influence content creation from one market to another. 

To carry through this large scale international research, we immersed ourselves in the world of streaming media creation for almost 7 months. Split into 2 research phases, we started this study through desk research, followed by remote interviews with content creators. The first phase aimed to better understand creators’ expectations, objectives, needs and motivations, as well as their experience subscribing to a content creation platform. The second phase of the research aimed at learning the ropes of content creation. This deep-dive research stage was carried out through home or studio visits with an ethnographic approach.

Journey mapping of media content creation

Ensuring  cultural representation

We used an agile approach for this global scale research in order to make sure that cultural contexts were well represented. This approach was centred around three principles:

Local researchers with local knowledge

A contextual understanding of the environments in which the content creators operate has been vital for the outcomes of this study. We therefore worked with 6 local research teams who have valuable knowledge about the culture, language, and context in which the content creator operates; it is essential to ensure that local stories and insights do not get lost in translation.

A collaborative approach to produce a coherent body of work

Having research spread across many countries requires a significant alignment effort. Maintaining a close working relationship and continuous dialogue with our client, who was doing the fieldwork in one market themselves, and with our local research teams from the Reach Network, has been vital to ensure the transparency of the entire research process. The client and the various research teams co-produced many materials for this study, from fieldwork preparations to final deliverables. Stby usually provides the frameworks for desk research, discussion guide, fieldwork materials, and analysis to produce outcomes rooted in local cultural understandings and at the same time aligned with what the client stakeholders need.

Visual documentation and storytelling as a way to capture and convey cultural uniqueness 

Films- a media cherished at Stby- capture the richness and complexity of a context in a way that text and image can’t convey. We used this method for documenting content creator’s practices and reflections. We made these films with participants so that their stories would be expressed in the best way possible. These clips aimed to equip our client with a deep understanding of content creators’ particular environment, surroundings, and conditions and how they can influence their creative process, the material they use, how they interact with their audience, and the type of support they need from our client.

Photo by Flutter Innovation

Research deliverables with a long-lasting impact

We delivered 190 short films, these were produced as part of an ecosystem of data collected and documented for this research aiming to be used as evidence in strategy reports, as inspiration in design teams and as a source of knowledge by many teams, including marketing and communications. Higher-level deliverables are built on top of the film evidence, including executive summary, insights and opportunities that can be shared and understood beyond the client’s project team. It is designed to be accessible and valuable to a broader audience within the global client organisation, aiming to influence a wide range of discussions and decisions. 

These higher-level deliverables can be traced back to the data sets we delivered, consisting of not only the edited films but also structured data and clustered notes. Together the different data sets make up a library that can be continuously mined, curated, clustered and filtered by the researchers and design teams in our client’s company to answer new questions about streaming media creation around the world, even a year from now.