Commentary

Big Data Is Needed For Program Development As Well As Marketing

We all know what big data can do for TV marketers, specifically in improving media investment returns. But what can big data do for the creation of premium programming?

Audience testing companies have been around for some time. But TV shows increasingly struggle to find the right viewership levels for financial success. Can the answer be found in big data derived from new digital platforms and social media?

A lot of effort is being spent on culling big social media data to promote, engage and resonate buzz for existing shows. Twitter Amplify is one big proponent. But what can all this do for new programs?

 “A lot of people [at NATPE] will be talking about how big data can impact programming development,” Sean Atkins, senior vice president/general manager of digital networks and commerce, Discovery Communications toldAdweek.

Surely, creating good programming is still important to marketers. But fractionalization of TV and other media has them moaning about looking for scale among consumers. Big data -- in part from social media -- will figure some of this out.  Netflix said it “knew” beforehand that “House of Cards” would be successful because of high interest in director David Fincher and actor Kevin Spacey. But what about new episodes of “Arrested Development? Not so much a success.

Other urgencies are also affecting ad-supporting programming.  For example, while companies continue to tap into the broadcast syndication market, the development pipeline is slowing.

Frank Cicha, senior vice president of programming at Fox Television Stations, told Adweek that fewer shows are making it to market. Analysts say there is an issue generating potential audiences via program “testing.” “The syndicated model is broken,” Cicha said bluntly.

Others might say syndication isn’t the only platform for launching new TV content that needs fixing. Big money is needed for sure -- but also some big data in regard to specific audience potential.

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