The media and entertainment industries have frequently been at the forefront of adopting new technologies. The key business problems that are driving media companies to look at big data capabilities
are the need to reduce the costs of operating in an increasingly competitive landscape and, at the same time, the need to generate revenue from delivering content
and data through diverse platforms and products.
It is no longer sufficient merely to publish a daily newspaper or broadcast a television programme. Contemporary operators must drive value from their assets at every stage of the data lifecycle
. The most nimble media operators nowadays may not even create original content themselves. Two of the biggest international video streaming services, Netflix and Amazon, are largely aggregators of others’ content, though also offering originally commissioned content to entice new and existing subscribers.
Media industry players are more connected with their customers and competitors than ever before. Thanks to the impact of disintermediation, content can be generated, shared, curated, and republished by literally anyone with an Internet-enabled device. Global revenues from such devices, including smartphones, tablets, desktop PCs, TVs, games consoles, e-readers, wearable gadgets, and even drones were expected to be around $750 billion in 2014 (Deloitte 2014). This means that the ability of big data technology to ingest, store, and process many different data sources, and in real-time, is a valuable asset to the companies who are prepared to invest in it.
The Media Sector is in many respects an early adopter of big data technologies, but much more evolution has to happen for the full potential to be realized. Better integration between solutions along the data value chain will be essential in order to convince decision-makers to invest in innovation, especially in times of economic uncertainty. Also, the solutions market is dominated by US, and, increasingly, Asian firms. Therefore, there is an economic imperative for Europe to both develop and use big data technologies more extensively. Media and entertainment content and platforms have a global reach that many companies in other sectors, even retail and manufacturing, would be envious of.
Case studies of successful big data projects in media have tended to come from the left-hand end of the data value chain
(i.e. data acquisition and analysis). However, there is a need to identify both exemplars and gaps in the curation and usage of big data, as these are significant areas of competitive advantage for media organizations. Big data contributes to the bottom line by enabling organizations to pursue digital transformation. According to PWC (2014), this forges the trust of consumers, creates the confidence to innovate with speed and agility, and empowers innovation.
Unlike some other sectors, the vast majority of actionable data in the media sector is already in digital form (and analogue products such as newspapers have been created through digital technologies
for some years now). However, this does not mean that organizations are deriving the fullest possible financial benefit or cost efficiencies from both their existing data and new sources of data. There is a growing body of evidence that there is much work to do at research and policy levels to support the burgeoning ecosystem of diverse businesses engaged in analysing, enhancing, and delivering content and data.