Big Data in Media? Here’s Why all the Hype

Big Data in the media industry seems confusing: Google, Apple, Amazon & Co use it against you, early success stories like Netflix’s House of Cards get analyzed everywhere - and tech vendors try to sell you big stuff. Why all the hype? Well, here’s an answer.

Big Data in Media

First of all, why "Big"?  If you have thousands – or millions – of digital consumers, capturing their every click, every search, every browse, every view, every comment, every recommendation creates a vast amount of data. Netflix, for example, is gathering data from 40m+ users and billions of hours of streaming video each day (including every pause, rewind and skip), along with millions of ratings and searches – all linked to data about the device used, the location, the time and place – and external rating and social media data. Moreover, as all other industries – your advertisers - also connect their products and services building the "Internet of Things", our digital universe explodes and already reached the zettabyte level (1 billion terabytes).

Big Data in Media

But is there any value-add in the new "Data"? Yes, and it's entirely different from the "old" structured data tracking corporate results: formerly "invisible" consumer behavior - using, searching, selecting, complaining, recommending products – now becomes accessible data for our business IT systems. So all of this new unstructured data is a huge asset and strategic advantage, especially when connected with traditional sales and subscription activity, customer service contacts, responses to marketing campaigns and external demographic data.

Big Data in Media

And that’s why all the Hype: Consumer Experience

In other words, for the first time in history organizations can build a complete digital view to monitor and optimize their customers’ experiences. Using this “Big Data” it is now possible to build a personalized connection to every individual user and customer. Understanding their likes, dislikes and interests. Their propensity to consume and buy. Their membership of any number of micro-segments. And at any stage of the customer lifecycle.

Big Data in Media

How can Media Companies benefit from Big Data?

With this deep understanding of the customer in place, it becomes much simpler to automate a whole range of incredibly valuable business activities that simultaneously create a vastly-improved customer experience, and drive increased revenues through better targeting and engagement, such as:

  • Highly-targeted marketing – based on a precise understanding of which customer micro-segments will be most interested in a new piece of content or subscription offer – all joined up across former business silos
  • Increasing acquisition and retention – understanding why people subscribe and why people churn and reacting with effective product and promotion strategies
  • Content acquisition strategy – what content will be most popular with the most profitable customer segments?
  • Programmatic advertising – increasing digital CPMs by offering precise and detailed customer segments to advertising networks and exchanges

Startups like Netflix, Flipboard or Spotify delivered initial success stories and demonstrated the value of their Big Data media platforms. But how should established companies join in? Many media entertainment businesses lack the ability to unlock the value from the new data universe. This is a result of both the vast volume of data (far more than traditional IT systems are geared up to cope with) and its unstructured, complex nature – how do you really understand a customer from their seemingly random click stream behavior?

Until recently, launching a Big Data project required very complex technology, and an expensive team of data scientists. Today, simpler and integrated tools are available to launch a Big Data project quickly and cost-effectively. Three case studies from Oracle customers might help on how to successfully start into the Big Data era:

#1 Foundation: Single View of Consumer Data before you go Big Data

In many Big Data projects, we see media & entertainment providers discovering they don’t get one consistent consumer view due to their silo legacy systems. Is the classic subscriber the same person who's tweeting or buying on Amazon Kindle, Apple Newsstand or the web offering? The problem: without a unified data foundation and consumer context, all additional Big Data streams would be pointless.

Sony solved this challenge using Oracle Master Data Management in the Oracle Cloud to manage a consistent view of 77m Sony Playstation consumers. http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/profit/big-ideas/071013-bi-cloudcontrol-1974881.html

#2 Usability: Big Data for Automated Social Media & Marketing

Big Data success often comes from routing tons of small data to the right place, at the right time – especially in all web or social media related use cases. The value of automated audience monitoring and engaging comes from enabling your editorial, marketing, service and sales teams to efficiently connect with millions of consumers. That's why employee usability is a key success factor for Big Data enabled marketing automation or enterprise social relationship platforms.

For example, see how NBC sports achieved double digit growth in TV ratings using Oracle Social Cloud for monitoring and engaging with millions of consumers http://medianetwork.oracle.com/video/player/2036473045001 

#3 Real-time: Content Discovery and Programmatic Advertising

Big Data is often about fast data: it’s not another monthly board-room analysis, but the real-time consumer recommendation or programmed advertising which makes the difference - and will challenge both your teams and technology infrastructure. Oracle simplifies the use of in-memory systems, NoSQL, Hadoop, Real-Time Recommendation and other Big Data technologies. 

Oracle’s Media Intelligence solution provides a cost-effective, quick-to-deploy platform for collecting, connecting and using digital media Big Data to drive immediate benefits. See for example how Thomson Reuters or Immonet, an Axel Springer Digital Classifieds company, use Oracle Big Data products to drive their business. http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/customers/customersearch/immonet-1-exalytics-ss-1927903.html

So, what’s the art building a Big Data media platform?

However you start into Big Data, make consumer privacy your number one priority - don’t compromise on security, governance and user transparency. Based on this foundation, focus all teams on the customer experience: establish a no-compromise consumer-centric culture to create a Big Data media platform that makes a difference for your customer journey.

Inspired? Get in touch via oracle.com/goto/media and oracle.com/bigdata

@haraldbee  Harald Behnke

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