Monday, June 10, 2013

The Problem with Big Data in the Entertainment Industry

These days, everyone is talking about Big Data. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. According to IBM, 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, social media posts, digital pictures and videos, purchase records, and cell phone GPS signals. This is Big Data. But, for Melva Benoit, senior VP, consumer insight and audience research at Fox Broadcasting, Big Data is “a pain.”

At last year’s TMRE, Benoir sat down with IIR’s Marc Dresner to discuss Big Data and how it is overused in the entertainment industry. It should represent a volume in size, when it actually represents everything that goes beyond the standard data that we currently get.

Benoit runs the research group for Fox Broadcasting. “The easy way I like to explain it to people is I help management understand who’s watching, who’s not and why. So, everything from analyzing metrics to program testing,” she commented.

She has several executives that are very excited about Big Data and about collecting every single metric and statistic about viewers that come to the Fox network. Benoir feels that people are getting lost in the name of Big Data when it’s about actually paying attention to the three or four metrics that matter.

“For my industry, when you are talking about measurement you only need four. So, I need to know what you are watching, the time you are watching it, how long you spend with it, how many and where. Once I understand those, I can create multiple calculations to get different types of analysis,” she explained. “Once you start adding more things, the metrics loose relevance and don’t mean anything.”

Moving to the idea of behavior prediction, Benoit feels there are some industries that would be thankful to have predictions, some industries haven’t changed so they can be predictive by looking at data, but in the entertainment industry the sheer number of variables makes it impossible to predict a hit television show.

Watch the full interview below:
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