Too Much Media/Entertainment Data? Maybe It's Too Little

You won’t get a clear answer as to how movies are doing digitally -- through on-demand services from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus or otherwise.

Some of these services delivery some data quietly to movie studios -- but nothing is publicly disclosed. Unlike theatrical box office data, there isn’t any uniform system where weekend results are released during the weekend, per day -- or more traditionally on Monday.

TV agents and others executive says this data is important to clients -- and for giving entertainment consumers what they want. One executive in a New York Times story believes all this will improve entertainment, resulting in “richer content." Interestingly, it isn’t just for film/TV entertainment executives: What about consumers?

For many years now, TV news networks and other newspapers have regularly released Monday morning theatrical box-office revenue results. What does this do?  That, in addition to the wall-to-wall marketing of movies, it lets consumers know what is popular and perhaps what they might want to see.

For theatrical marketing executives, it provides an “earned media” extension to their marketing plans. And if you know “Iron Man 3” does well, one film executive might believe other superhero action-adventure movie might work as well.

All this can be a double-edge sword: Ownership of data and measurement can mean a competitive advantage. And, really, who wants to give that away? “Measurement can equal monetization can equal a fight,” Bruce Goerlich, chief research officer for Rentrak told the NYT.

So if you are a Netflix, you might have a different point of view to withhold data -- like not telling a competitor like Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus how you are doing. Few want any sort of fight in the midst of a still fragile and nascent entertainment business.

By way of comparison, in the early days, HBO (a pay TV cable channel that gets compared a lot to Netflix) didn’t release viewing data, either.

What HBO learned -- and what Netflix, and others may learn -- is that telling consumers what is popular, in terms of releasing usage data, can be a key piece of marketing, just like releasing theatrical box-office movie data.
You may always hear the term “big data” these days -- or people complaining about too much data. But not all information is out of the shadows. Now, go roll your dice



1 comment about "Too Much Media/Entertainment Data? Maybe It's Too Little".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 18, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.

    Very interesting points. I would add that data need not necessarily flow from the content-creators. Nor is it still necessary for an industry source or measurement firm to validate the importance of a new program. There is a rich stream of audience data on social media, too. The buzz generated by a new show has a top-trending weight of its own. The standard operating procedure of executives and clients is often stuck in the past, even the habits by which the industry operated five or ten years ago. Times change. Maybe what Nielsen measures with a number is not a relevant as what millions are tweeting. You can use "" to search the names of shows. It won't take you long to judge whether the audience thinks the show is a hit, or not. And the information is free.

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