Media Insights Q&A: Chris Moschovitis & Anna Murray

Chris Moschovitis and Anna Murray of tmg-emedia are on the forefront of Big Data management and analytics. President Anna Murray started her career as a broadcast news producer and quickly transitioned into the Internet, while CEO Chris Moschovitis has a background in the hard sciences: physics, math and computer science. This combination of talent positions their company in the forefront of analytics as it applies to Big Data sets in the media sector. In my interview with them, Chris and Anna talk about tmg-emedia, data-driven journalism, the fear of change in today’s executive suite, the future of data use in the media and where the industry is going in the next five years.

Below is an excerpt from the interview, available on seven videos that can be viewed here.

CW: Are there truisms when working with Big Data? Are there any standard rules, or does each Big Data set come with its own set of unique challenges?

CM: There is a vast universe of what we call “Big Data” and there is a lot of regulation around it. If Big Data is about individuals or individual behaviors, there is a privacy concern.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is Big Data that is just straight-up numbers coming in directly from the consumption of media that are not regulated.

So we believe that the landscape is all over the place. Analyzing it and try to make coherent sense out of it is like looking at an ocean: At a very high altitude, the ocean looks like a vague manageable ecosystem. But the minute that you get up close and personal to the ocean you realize that there are currents and many different species living and existing in it in very, very different ways.

So I think it matters exactly what it is you are looking at, what you are trying to get out of it and how you want to harvest the information that forms the basis of the analytics.

CW: Within your experience working with media companies, how are they transitioning from old media to new media?

AM: I think we both have a lot to say on that question!  

CM: It is a difficult question, and there are some hard realities. I would say that the majority of traditional media companies are in what I call hospice. They are dying because of the inability to see the new landscape and unwillingness to embrace change. Those that are embracing the new landscape, those who are willing to embrace change, are transforming themselves just as a phoenix would. And we see new media companies springing up all over the place and really redefining the landscape.

AM: Certainly it is absolutely true that most media companies that we’ve been engaged with have really struggled over the last 10 years. And as Chris says, some of that has been resistance to change.

There is a famous quote that I would love to attribute to its author (whoever that might be), which says that there are three types of media company executives: Those who say reality doesn’t exist; those who say reality does exist, but only after I retire; and those who say reality does exist, and I must do something about it.

There are a few companies, and we can probably all name them  -- I call out Meredith and Hearst -- that have done aggressive transformations online, and who are in the “reality exists and I am going to deal with it” camp.

But most of it, frankly, consists of those who say “reality exists -- but only when I retire” types of companies.

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