Sitting on large volumes of data with no insights is tantamount to sitting in a Porsche and not driving it - worthless!
‘Information’ has long been recognized as key to the success of any business. However, what differentiates the leaders from the rest is their ability to understand and cultivate information in a timely manner and use it to derive actionable decisions.
With the rapid proliferation of mobile devices, the growing presence and reach of the internet, and the increasing use of social media networks, audiences are gradually shifting their focus from traditional platforms such as TV and print to digital platforms. Digitization is giving rise to exciting new opportunities for the media and entertainment (M&E) industry. However, at the same time, it is creating new challenges for players. Technology has disrupted virtually every aspect of how media companies operate - from content creation through distribution, consumer marketing, advertising performance, content protection and more.
While content development, distribution and storage are becoming increasingly efficient on new media platforms, effective management of information is emerging as a key challenge. Media companies are now faced with the new challenge of managing ‘big data,’ which refers to the large pools of data. Size or ‘volume’ is just one dimension of this data; ‘velocity’ (how quickly the data changes) and ‘variety’ (the format, structure, etc.) constitute the other two dimensions. Given the size and complexity of such large datasets, it is practically impossible to manage them using legacy data-management tools and, thus, highlights the need for next-generation techniques and technologies that can enable companies to aggregate, manipulate, analyze and visualize big data on a real-time basis. Some of these next-generation technologies have already started to emerge:
||Hadoop is open-source software used to process complex and large datasets on a distributed system.|
||This open-source database management system is used to handle large datasets on a distributed system.|
||MapReduce is a software framework used to process large datasets on certain kinds of problems on a distributed system. The system is also used in Hadoop.|
||MangoDB is an open source document-oriented database system used for large data content management and real-time analytics.|
|Google File System (GFS)
||GFS is a distributed file system optimized for Google's core data storage and usage needs.|
Source: Company websites
The emergence of improved techniques involved in processing big data is reducing the analysis time from days to hours. This shortened delivery time can be aligned with the product lifecycle of several media products to allow players to sufficiently assess the impact of their content on a real-time basis and take strategic action. For example, In the case of films, production houses can review and revise their pre-release marketing strategies based on real-time first impressions of the target audience, and post-release marketing strategies can be based on reviews received through various social media platforms.
Further, big data analysis is helping players develop breakthrough media offerings such as those in digital journalism - sourcing, aggregating and analyzing big data and reporting key events. It has the capability to take media houses away from a gut-feeling approach to a more formal, logic-driven process, thus allowing them to enhance content value. Support applications such as Visual Revenue, which provide real-time input on online content, assist editors in the effective management and placement of news stories based on reader insights. While the print industry is expected to benefit significantly from big data insights, it will need to add a fourth dimension to the existing three ‘Vs’- Veracity. Players will have to ensure reliability of their reporting to build credibility among readers.
As big data insights emerge as key differentiators for success, they also have the ability to alter competitive landscapes of industries, depending on if and how players decide to leverage their data. While large players that have access to significant pools of data may go alone, relatively small players may decide to coopt and pool their data and resources to gain a competitive edge.
Big data technology has begun to see uptake among Indian firms as well. According to a survey by Informatics Corporation, nearly 72 percent3 of Indian organizations are now considering, planning or running Big Data projects.
However, media players could face certain challenges while adopting advanced analytics technologies related to big data, including the following:
- Huge investment requirements: While considerable investments are required to add data capabilities and to align traditional enterprise data with big data tools to yield meaningful results, yet, execution may prove to be a bigger challenge for media players. Despite migration towards digital content, a large amount of content still exists in non digital, celluloid formats. Players would need to convert it into a more usable format to exploit the full potential of big data, making sure that there is no loss of valuable data. This would entail investments in devices compatible with different data formats and in training people to handle such complex requirements. It is estimated that the demand for data scientists for big data analytics could outstrip supply by more than 1.5 million4.
- Complexity of data: With the proliferation of devices such as PCs, smartphones and tablets, media companies will have to gear up for both - sourcing big data as well as delivery through these channels. A ‘more targeted delivery’ advantage that big data offers could entail several challenges for media players.
The case of movies is shown to exemplify the complexities involved for the media players - scalable storage, cataloguing, compatibility with devices, data duplication, etc. This complexity would grow as we drill deeper into individual scenes and sequences of movies.
- Diversity of audience: Technology adoption, involvement and interaction could potentially affect data availability and quality. Advertisers target a wide variety of audiences across different profiles, regions and languages. The use of multiple languages, often at the same time will require innovative techniques to process responses. Media companies will hence, have to adapt to needs of a wide variety of stakeholders – advertisers and audiences.
Additionally, achieving full potential of big data benefits could be hampered by privacy issues. Options such as ‘do not track’ provide an easy option to consumers to block access. In such cases, media companies may need to look at options to incentivize participation and maintain privacy.
The media industry is leveraging big data insights:
Newspaper Publishing5: Daily Telegraph used data analytics to define its iPad strategy. It measured key metrics including page views, number of visits, time of day of visits, day of week, app version, most-read stories and others. The findings revealed that iPad users showed a preference for curated news, iPad users were older than smartphone readers, the app drove more return traffic to the Telegraph website, etc. After analysing these findings, the Telegraph launched a new version of the app in April 2011 on a subscription model bringing several new features.
Digital books6: Barnes & Noble, which accounts for 25 percent to 30 percent of the e-book market through its Nook e-reader, has recently started studying customers' digital reading behavior. It is analyzing readers’ engagement habits by genre, speed and time spent and sharing its insights with publishers to help them create books that grab attention.
Music7: New York-based company TuneSat is putting information in the hands of music rights holders so they can obtain the royalties due to them. It is using digital fingerprints of music to actively monitor more than 300 television channels in the US and Europe. Further, it is generating reports on when and how music is being used.
Television8: Indian show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ used big data analysis to process millions of messages received during the show. The responses on social issues and feedback on the show were studied and incorporated in future shows. Few out of millions of stories were selected and followed-up for an on-going radio.
Different formats/file types
Content: Edited/Uncut Different languages
KPMG in India’s point of view
Big data is a potential game changer for the M&E industry in an emerging digital world, and its differential use is expected to increasingly define the industry leaders of the future. It has the capability to bring speed, power and agility to the M&E industry by generating insights on customer behavior. Technology adoption and innovation could serve as catalysts of this change. Big data can prove to be the next stage in the evolution of the M&E industry, one that will likely redefine competitiveness altogether. Players who appreciate its potential and evolve accordingly can be expected to breach traditional competitive barriers such as regions, reach, etc. The current environment, in which a large and diversified consumer base has supported the co-existence of many players, may, thus, change. The chasm between leaders and others can also be expected to deepen in the new competitive environment, where the weak could be eliminated quickly.
The key to success lies in adopting and adapting the use of this technology to suit the Indian M&E environment. Science will do the rest.
1. “Big Data Meets Big Data Analytics”, SAS Whitepaper, May 2012
“4 Important Advantages of Data-Driven Marketing for Your Organization”, StartupCEO.co.za, September 2012
“Facebook hits 1 billion users a month”, Guardian.co.uk, October 2012
“Self-service, Prorated Super Computing Fun“, The New York Times, November 2007
“Mobile Data Growth and What it Means for You”, Mobilefuture.org, March 2012
“How India’s favorite TV show uses data to change the world”, Gigaom.com, August 2011
2. “Global big data industry at USD 25 Billion by 2015”, Nasscom - Crisil Press Release, September 2012
3. “Indian IT and business professionals say Big Data equals big opportunity”, Informationweek.in, September 2012 4. “Creating a Winning Strategy with Big Data”, CIO.in , June 2012
5. “Embracing 'big' and 'little' data”, Emediavitals.com, July 2012
6. “Competition Exists in the Field of E-Book”, Web-cornerstones.com, 2010
7. Company website -Tunesat.com, accessed August 2012
8. “How Indian TV show Satyamev Jayate used Big Data to inspire the world”, InformationWeek, August 2012