MAD Perspectives Blog

 Big Data - Revealing the "WHY" for Media Companies

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Discussions about big data are everywhere. In fact, the data surrounding big data content validates the volume, velocity, variety and complexity of information about the topic. It is exactly these attributes (volume, velocity, variety and complexity) that brands are analyzing in order to fulfill their goals for engagement and interaction with customers. For media brands ranging from broadcast to studio to publishing to advertising, big data delivers informed insight about their content and its relevance to their audience.

The challenge for media companies is to analyze owned data, derived from internal sources such as subscriber, transactional, payables and other historical databases, in combination with real-time data found online through social networks, search engines and other online sources.  There is an endless volume of data available, revealing why an audience enjoys a program, article, video or why they engage and respond to an ad or marketing campaign. It is understanding the "why" that drives investment in big data capture and analytics platforms.

Today owned or structured data is voluminous, yet it only represents 20% of the customer data needed to make business decisions. It's the real-time, unstructured data that is the game changer. Accessing and analyzing consumer comments and actions, correlating actions to content, understanding sentiment - it is all available. Yet, real-time data requires real-time analytics if it is to be valuable. The benefit for media brands lies in their ability to use data to reinforce their trusted relationship with their audience. As these brands migrate from delivery of physical assets (e.g., magazines, newspapers, books, videos, CDs, etc.) to extending stories across multiple platforms in various formats for different devices, they must understand how the audience will consume their content. 

Today consumption may take the form of binge viewing or media snacking.  It is likely that the consumer will interact with or engage around the content, whether they are binging or snacking. It is the data related to audience consumption, engagement and interaction that uncovers "why" consumers take actions to pause, delete, click, share or search. The analysis of this data allows media brands to tailor their programming, marketing, storytelling, pricing, visualization and more. 

With competition for audience eyeballs growing thanks to growth of user-generated content, data driven content (e.g, Netflix House of Cards, Amazon's Alpha House), crowd-sourced content, media brands must understand the practical and emotional needs of their audience and then deliver the content that addresses those needs. Big data is the answer to the biggest question driving audience behavior - "Why?".

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