I spent all day Wednesday at the Montgomery Technology Conference in Santa Monica, Calif., and participated in a breakfast discussion about the changing role of data-driven analytics in business and in media particularly. The tech-focused venture and private equity event was well-attended this year, as always, with more than 1,000 investors, entrepreneurs and media execs from around the world.
Some interesting points were made during the event that I thought you might find of interest:
Bigger, better, cheaper, faster. Innovation in analytic tools, systems and platforms has exploded over the past few years, particularly in the open-source community. This trend has not only dramatically improved the output of data-driven analytic systems, but the cost of these systems has dropped just as dramatically. In many cases, you can build or buy analytic data warehouses that are 100 times bigger than those available 10 years ago -- for 1/100th the cost.
Accessibility. You no longer have to be a data guru to use data analytics. Whether it is trying to understand content consumption habits of audiences or projecting yield rates for ad spots, what was once the domain of the research department is now available to managers at all levels of media companies.
Data as the business. Data-driven analytics in media are no longer just about driving better business intelligence, but are becoming part and parcel of the business itself. As distribution becomes less scarce and less important as a key value driver in media, and the sale of audience attention grows, data and analytics about those audiences become more and more important.
Prediction, not just proof. Today, whether it is TV ratings, user session stickiness or post-impression conversion tracking, much of the analytic focus in the media industry is about proving what happened yesterday. However, when it comes to those same metrics, new analytic tools are enabling media companies to much better predict what will happen tomorrow, or next week or next month. This will radically reshape media businesses, as we spend a lot less time talking dividing up spoils from yesterday -- and much more time competing over tomorrow.
New data sources. Digital media systems are creating brand-new "exhausts" of data every day. Whether it is web server logs, topic-centric tweets, set-top box viewing data or location-based service data, millions of new data sources that can impact media and advertising are available. Most are non-standard and not well understood (a fact that really frustrates traditional media researchers) but can be very powerful tools in the right hands.
It was pretty clear to me 15 years ago that data would be central to the advertising business as more digital platforms emerged. But data now has a profound effect on media itself --whether it is it created in response to information like user search interests, or refined to reflect changing consumer consumption patterns. You known when the lead story in Time magazine is all about data mining -- as it is this week -- that we have arrived at a true inflection point. What do you think? <