The sunk cost fallacy is when we continue to do something because of our past decisions (time or money spent) rather than making a rational choice to change things up that could lead to maximising value or bringing greater efficiency.
“The sunk cost effect is manifested in a greater tendency to continue an endeavour once an investment in money, effort, or time has been made.”
Hal Arkes and Catherine Blumer (1985), The Psychology of Sunk Costs. Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 35, 124-140.
Some examples of a sunk cost fallacy:
- Sticking to a commercial strategy because it worked in the 80s even though revenues continued to decline
- Eat all the food because I paid for it (even though I am full and feel a bit sick)
- I am camping in a storm because I paid for the site and the car is packed
- Trying to make legacy technology fit the demands of the modern media consumer
In the M&E space, the sunk cost fallacy can mostly be seen in the reticence to move away from LTO in fast turnaround archive workflows. The most prevalent instances of this fallacy can be seen in investments made in some of the larger format removable storage platforms such as LTO-7 and LTO-8, where it is felt that moving away from them would be too great a financial burden.
It must be said that the pandemic has accelerated the move away from LTO in sports and news workflows, but there are still a good number of organisations that we talk with that say:
- I only bought the library 3 years ago, so come back in 2 years’ time
- I’ve used LTO all my career and won’t be changing now
- It’s all paid for now, so I won’t get any new budget
- We just planned a migration from LTO 6 to 8, so the timing is not ideal
All of these statements are classic sunk cost thinking and totally preclude the possibility of implementing something new and more modern that can bring many benefits to media organisations.
In fact, if you are planning an LTO migration project, then the timing could not be more perfect to investigate, procure, and implement an object storage-based hybrid cloud archive platform.
Hybrid cloud platforms bring operational efficiencies and the ability to generate revenue from your archive. The cost of implementing this new technology will be paid back quickly and handsomely as editors, producers, and commercial partners will be able to self-serve access to archive content from wherever they are.
What makes hybrid cloud platforms so compelling is that they can be scaled up or down very easily and quickly to match the activity levels of a particular operation without requiring an expensive upgrade project.
So don’t fall victim to sunk cost thinking…explore the new and all the benefits that it can bring!
About Object Matrix
Object Matrix is the award-winning software company that pioneered object storage and the modernisation of media archives. It exists to enable global collaboration, increase operational efficiencies and empower creativity through deployment of MatrixStore, the on-prem, hybrid and cloud storage platform. Their unified deployment approach ensures content spans on-prem and cloud storage whilst their focus on the media industry gives them a deep understanding of the challenges organisations face when protecting, processing and sharing video content. Customers include: NBC Universal, TV Globo, Warner Bros. Discovery, MSG, ATP and the BBC, to name but a few!