MAD Perspectives Blog

 Media. An Industry Drowning in Data

Peggy Dau - Thursday, September 19, 2013

I've just returned from the International Broadcaster Convention in Amsterdam. This event serves the community of professionals creating, managing and delivering entertainment and news content around the globe. Like other industries, broadcast and media companies are talking about big data. And, like other industries they are figuring out what big data means for them. Data serves a variety of purposes in this industry. There is data everywhere - it describes content, subscribers create it, technologies generate it, store it and analyze it. But who or what recommends what to do with it?

As i spoke with vendors and consultants, the topic of big data arose many times. Everyone agreed that the term "big data" was overused due to its adoption by just about every vendor. But big data does not mean the same thing to everyone. For content creators, its about associating the right metadata to ensure efficient workflow, editing, distribution and monetization. For storage companies it is about their ability to physically store both data and content efficiently and effectively, which means they must implement and provide storage management solutions. TV service providers and OTT vendors use data to enable content discovery and to exploit the needs of their subscribers. Advertisers depend on it when making media buys. The Second Screen is providing real-time audience data that is driving ratings and extending the story arc. These are just a few examples of data use within the industry - there are many, many more. 

With these examples in mind, it is evident that big data is a big deal for media and entertainment. There are many tools and platforms to capture and analyze the data. The challenge remains in how to use the data to initiate actions that benefit the organization. A key element of data capture is understanding why the data is needed. This can help in the filtering and analysis of data from one or many sources. Once the data has been aggregated the challenge is to interpret or translate the data into defined actions. Of course, those actions should be aligned with the original intent in collecting the data.

How is your organization using all the data it is collecting? Has it helped you identify new business opportunities? Or has it revealed new product innovation? How about subscriber insight for developing new content (think Netflix!)? Data is a source of validation, discovery, insight and most importantly, competitive differentiation. Consider your goals and then think about what big data can do to help you achieve them. It requires more than tools to collect it, or store it, or analyze it, or report it. It is criitical to define purpose of the data, collect the right data and translate that data into a tactical set of actions to achieve the goal. 

Don't drown in all the data! 

What's your perspective?