Four ways we'd like to see the TV industry embrace big data in 2017

Four ways we'd like to see the TV industry embrace big data in 2017

Giles Cottle, Tue 10 January 2017

2017 is upon us, and with it the inevitable slew of New Year’s resolutions that, however well intended, are sure to be broken sooner rather than later.

The start of any year is inevitably a period of reflection and contemplation in the work environment, too. So it’s in that spirit that we present ways we’d love to see the TV industry embrace data in 2017. We think all five would help to move the industry forward in its use of data.

Call them our New Year’s resolutions for TV, if you like (except that some are hopefully more likely to come to fruition than your Uncle Terry’s annual commitment to visit the gym).

1. More mixed messages

Mixed messages: terrible in relationships, but great in marketing. If operators know what their subscribers are watching, we’d like to see this reflected more in how they talk to their customers.

It’s understandable that operators want to promote the big, blockbuster content that they have paid millions of dollars for, but we’d like to see operators varying and personalising their promotion strategies a little. Not everyone wants to watch Game of Thrones, after all.

If you can surmise from my viewing that I probably have no interest in dragons and beheadings, then show me something else I may want to watch instead.

2. Making TV and online really work together

We couldn’t agree more with the increasing consensus that TV and online work better together – and we’re glad that more and more of the industry is coming around to this viewpoint.

But we still see relatively few examples of them actually working together – as opposed to them simply being used side by side.

When they really work together, TV and online are truly greater than the sum of their separate parts. We’d like to see more data matching, where MVPDs and DMPs can share viewing data sets and learn more about their customers for significant mutual benefits. This is increasinlgy common in the US; we'd like to start seeing it in the rest of the world, too.

3. Real use cases for real-time

Real-time data continues to be a holy grail that operators want to move towards. It comes up at some point in almost every pitch or RFP we are involved in.

At the moment, operators know that they want real-time data, but they don’t quite seem to know why. We’ve yet to see a “killer” use case for real-time data outside of an operational setting. We’d love to see more examples of operators using real-time data to, for example, adapt editorial on a big live show. Real-time data is undoubtedly cool, but feels like a solution in search of a problem now.

4. More chief data officers

The role of the chief data officer is commonplace in some verticals, but less so in TV (with a few notable exceptions). We think it’s a crucial role to fill, helping operators to not only demonstrate that they are serious about data, but to help understand and maximise the value from the often-fragmented data sets that they have access too.

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