HPA Retreat: Leveraging Analytics in a Multi-Platform Universe

Media organizations are behind the curve when it comes to making the most of analytics: 97 percent don’t have automated real-time media analytics solutions and 94 percent leverage social media only for marketing purposes. In an HPA Tech Retreat panel that looked at better leveraging of social media and analytics, HP Enterprise Services’ Steve Poehlein, who moderated, pointed out that, “there’s a deluge of all these different ways to see content.” “What do analytics mean to the entertainment industry?” he asked.

Analytics are now generated from a range of platforms. Christy King, VP of digital technology and R&D for the Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise, noted that UFC’s audience of young men always has “the latest, greatest gadgets,” and the organization is obliged to feed all those platforms.

Kurt Kyle, media industry principal at SAP summed up how content interaction has changed. “If we’re trying to start up a new product, there’s got to be more social media interaction,” he said. “The era of relationship — rather than just transaction — is what’s going on.”

Big data is a potential tool, said Poehlein, but “it’s useless unless you understand what it means… and how it translates into actionable data.” For Kyle, that means understanding behavior of the unique identifiers coming from a mobile app. “You can understand their behavior and begin to make offers or plan interactions based on that app history,” he said.

It’s also important to understand the limits of social media data, said Paul Mears, SVP client engineering at Nielsen. “Predictive analysis is more an art than science,” he said. “You don’t have the ability to predict box office based on social. I think it’s dangerous to think we can predict based on that slice of the pie.”

Big data has introduced an era in which every element of a transaction is, as King puts it, “a two-way street.” “It’s not good enough for someone to watch a movie unless they tell someone they’re watching the movie,” she said. “You need to understand who your ‘influencers’ are and push more energy at those people. Whether they like it or don’t like it is somehow besides the point; there’s no such thing as bad press.”

Big data presents big challenges, added Jeff Caldwell, managing director, Communication Media & Entertainment at HP, but those can also be interpreted as key opportunities. “How do you take it out of transactions for marketing and integrate it into the creative and distribution and franchise aspects?” he asked. “Those are the dynamics as you move towards integration.”

The biggest challenge facing media organizations, however, is not big data, but a viewer who controls everything he or she sees. “The missing part is how to get in front of these people with something new,” said King, who notes that the tools for quick interaction are in their infancy. “How do I show people my sport if they control everything they see?

The answer seems to be blending real-time information into the value chain, said Caldwell, but everyone is still searching for how to do just that. “How do you blend immediate social feedback from consumers?” he asked. “Now that you get real-time information, we have to learn how to mine it.”