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Big data simulation: Gaining insights on media life cycles from users' social media lifestyles

Technology Writer

Big data simulation and analytics has become an invaluable business tool for media and entertainment (M&E) companies as they seek to maximize the life cycles of movies and TV shows.

Leveraging social media data in M&E

The business model for TV shows and movies has changed dramatically in the age of digital entertainment and social media. M&E companies must now consider many variables when making decisions, such as the devices used to view media, the various monetization channels and the countless distribution and delivery vehicles.

Many companies are turning to historical viewing data to overcome these challenges. Additionally, there's a huge amount of consumer sentiment data flowing constantly via social media. If mined and interpreted correctly, this torrent of social media data contains gems of insight for TV and movie producers.

"Twitter is the world's largest focus group," Chris Moody, Twitter's VP of data strategy, explained to Variety.

By collecting data from these sources and employing simulation and predictive analytics, M&E companies can not only improve forecasts, but they can conduct ad hoc modeling of real-world business scenarios, changing "what if" variables on the fly for more prescient strategy analysis. This gives them the ability to sketch production, marketing, advertising, promotion, licensing and distribution plans for movies and TV shows in a much more precise manner.

Using audience data to improve media content

Film studios traditionally pre-screened films to gather audience feedback and make changes that would improve chances of box office success. However, this process is imprecise and relies on viewers giving quality feedback. Now, the pre-screening process is getting the data analytics treatment, resulting in deeper insights that can lead to more accurate life cycle predictions.

Yahoo News reported that the producers of "The Revenant" outfitted test audiences with fitness trackers that captured physiological information, such as body temperature, movement and heart rate, throughout the film. The company collected hundreds of millions of rows of data, which gave producers a second-by-second snapshot of audiences' somatic responses to the action. This data-driven strategy eliminates the need for viewers to recall what happened in a given scene and removes the possibility of biased answers.

The ultimate goal is for filmmakers, artists and producers to use this data as they're creating TV shows and movies. When M&E companies understand how people react to certain scenes, they can create shows that resonate with audiences from the get-go.

Crafting personalized trailers

Data can also be tied to promotion efforts to ensure that TV shows and movies are well received. For example, Legendary Entertainment knows that fans of the video game "World of Warcraft" will likely see the movie "Warcraft," which is based on the game. However, the challenge is to attract viewers outside of this core fan group, so the company is crunching data to deliver multiple online trailers that appeal to different audience types, according to Data Informed.

Matt Marolda, chief analytics officer at Legendary, told the publication that the company's analytics team studies how trailers are being consumed on a daily and real-time basis. This lets the studio tailor and customize trailers by testing them against hundreds of audience microsegments. By providing viewers with a trailer that is customized to their interests, the company is increasing the chances of a successful release, which will ultimately impact the movie's longevity.

Finding value in prolonged viewing horizons

Analytics can provide value beyond a show or movie's initial release, too. Chris McCarthy, general manager of Viacom's Logo and VH1, recently told Variety that, through social media monitoring and analysis, the company discovered significant interest around "Celebrity Deathmatch," an MTV program that has been off the air for years. As a result, a new version of the program is in the works. Without these advanced analytics, the M&E company may never have realized that there was an opportunity to extend the lifespan of this show.

These examples show how big data simulation, social media monitoring and analytics can help M&E companies tailor their content to optimize the media's lifespan. With these advanced tools at their disposal, producers can ensure their latest releases will be received positively and continue to thrill audiences for as along as possible. Discover how TV Broadcast Networks can

  • predict program ratings;
  • grow audience and increase "tune-in;" and
  • increase advertising sales potential and revenue yield

with a deeper understanding of audience segments provided by big data and analytics solutions, including IBM Behavior-based Audience Insight for Media and Entertainment. View related customer stories and take the analytics assessment today.