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Canepaby Steve Canepa, general manager, IBM Global Media & Entertainment Industry

There is no doubt that Media and Entertainment companies in all segments – from publishers and broadcasters to information providers and social networks – must transform their enterprises to serve up unique experiences to empowered consumers… Consumers who are rapidly transitioning to becoming connected customers.  According to IBM research:

30 % of global consumers now have a smart phone;

54 % have a game console; and

25 % have a portable game player.

Of course, it’s no accident that given the rapid device adoption, new web, mobile and on-demand video services are also experiencing substantial growth. Our most recent survey found that:

mobile30% of US consumers have an Internet-connected TV set;

48% have online video downloads/streaming on their PCs; and

45% have an Internet/data subscription plan for their mobile phones.

The inevitable result of this mix of more content, more devices and scarce consumption time is viewer fragmentation.  Industry players enter this battle for attention burdened with the legacy of proprietary technology and hardened workflows.  The enterprise organizations and workflow silos of the past were optimized for an era when content was prepared for a single output channel and a relatively static audience. While this approach propelled the analog age, it often means M&E firms don’t have the real-time information required to optimize their business for today’s digital world.

Media companies need to be able to extract data from all aspects of their business processes – so they have a real-time and more holistic view of what’s actually happening within their business.  Information – about operations efficiency, content production and distribution, consumer preference and behavior – needs to be translated into intelligence to help executives make better decisions sooner and get the most out of their resources.

I see three core analytics opportunities emerging for media and entertainment companies:

Operations insights.  By using analytics to determine how physical and human capital resources are being used, and then presenting that insight in clear and timely ‘dashboards,’ executives can make better decisions in response to questions like, ‘how are we doing against our contractual commitments?’ ‘Who are my sales leaders and laggards?’ ‘Am I exploiting opportunities across channels to enhance my relationships with my advertising customers?’

Event-driven analytics. There is a tremendous opportunity for media firms to tailor and optimize the real-time consumer experience.  For instance, imagine understanding exactly when a gamer is struggling to achieve the next game level and providing assistance at precisely the right moment to improve gaming satisfaction and reduce churn – while producing a more profitable customer.

As we saw ‘Watson’ perform on the Jeopardy challenge – the ability to understand and analyze human language data repositories in real time, opens up limitless possibilities to unlock the value trapped in the world’s unstructured data vaults.

There’s a growing opportunity to build deeper insights from the ‘sentiments’ being expressed in social spheres.  For instance, CyberAgent and IBM Research developed an analytics framework that enables an unprecedented level of insight into blogging behavior, with a goal to increase customer loyalty and engagement.

And, in an ongoing project by Professor Jonathan Taplin and the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, researcher Laila Shereen Sakr is using semantic analytics tools to deliver insight into a number of ‘breaking news’ topics such as the Arab Spring uprisings, the rise in Republican candidates for the 2012 election and sentiment analysis for the current week’s movie box office openings.

Predictive analytics.  Advanced algorithms can be used to distill patterns out of complex and varied data in order to forecast future behavior. We are already seeing these sorts of tools emerge in areas such as music recommendation engines.

At IBM, we believe that this newly connected, multichannel world means that all media companies must become more precise – in their internal operations, their b2b relationships and in the b2c engagement – and analytics is an integral component to this new “Smarter Media” industry.

Where do you see the big opportunities to apply analytics in order for our industry to become smarter?  Please share your thoughts here….

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