Data Poetry: 'And How Should I Begin?'

by , Jun 30, 2011, 4:06 PM
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So far June has been a month full of industry conferences, starting with Tablet Revolution, followed by Mitch Oscar's MPG Collaborative Alliance, Video, Mobile and Social Media OMMAs, the ARF and most recently, the CTAM Insights. In each meeting, the focus and future of the media landscape was discussed, each from a slightly different perspective and projecting often wildly divergent results.

Some of the takeaways from Internet Week were that Facebook could emerge as the imminent measurement currency, that consumers were ready for the ASQ ad model (where they choose to view the ads they want), that "demographics" are not necessarily age and gender to the agencies -- and that standard ad lengths are going the way of the dodo bird. In week two, first at the ARF and then at CTAM, the focus was on cross-platform measurement, the relatively small penetration (and impact) of the tablet and a slow but perceptible evolution into "Tradiginal" Media - where old and young media blend and transform the landscape. It was not the revolution of the previous week but more of an evolution.

Any yet, despite the degree to which one media platform was touted over another, the consensus over the fortnight was that the future belonged to the creative, the nimble and the data innovators. At CTAM, Rishad Tobaccowala of VivaKi spoke of Data Poetry, where data becomes more and more important -- but the sheer amount of it will require a deft and creative hand to make it useful and understandable. There is a difference between data information and insight. "Data data everywhere" he intoned, just like a poetic Ancient Mariner.

So using the Data Poetry analogy, I ask as T.S. Eliot's J. Alfred Prufrock did, "And how should I begin?" In fact, I begin by asking a range of expert media researchers the same question - "Where will you focus your research efforts over the next two years?"

CBS' David Poltrack said, "Our primary goal is focused on the belief that every viewer counts. We want to have all of our viewers measured for all of their viewing on all devices in a manner that captures their full value to advertisers."

Jack Wakshlag of Turner said, "Our focus is on cross-platform metrics and identifying opportunities for our strong brands on all platforms."

Daniel Fischer of SolveItGroup said, "My firm's current focus is dual: understanding the tablet platform (mostly iPad) including supporting app developers; and applying cognitive neuroscience-based techniques to the editing of short form video - show opens, promos, other audience flow transitions."

Angelina Li of AHL Associates Inc said, "One of the biggest operator issues for marketers and researchers (and there has to be a dialogue between the two) is how to position the services offered. Why should people buy cable or high-speed data services from you? What are the features and benefits, such as programming, that resonate with customers and potential customers? How attractive are the benefits and features we offer, and how do they compare with the competition and their focus? What is the market share situation? All these feed back to how we establish a sustainable and profitable business model going forward. In summary, we should look at matters that would affect market share and new issues to be faced as researchers and marketers."

Todd Cunningham, MTV Networks said, "Measurement that goes beyond static, point-in-time HH-level reporting and focuses on individual's real-time cross-screen content consumption."

These responses underscore the myriad of opportunities and challenges for the research community in the short term. For a fuller picture of the range of opinions out there in the research community, please view the two videos - one from the ARF and one from CTAM -- here.

"Do we dare disturb the universe" (as T.S. Eliot asked) with innovative, ground breaking, data-centric research that proves value to the viewer and ROI to the customer? I say yes.

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