Expertise Zone

Managing metadata to drive competitive edge

Suranjan Som, IM Group

Suranjan Som, Information Management Strategist, IMGROUP

The latest move by Google to consolidate all the data that it gets across its multiple platforms into a single consumer view is the latest move in an industry in which understanding who your customer is, what content they want and where and how they wish to consume it has become the goal for everyone – from retailers to telecoms companies and everyone in between (writes Suranjan Som, Information Management Strategist, IMGROUP).

This insight is increasingly provided not only by the data being generated across the multitude of channels that consumers are using, but the data about that data. In the last ten years the broadcast industry, like most others, has seen a data explosion. Traditionally broadcasters used BARB data to try and understand what viewers were watching and when.

As we moved into the digital era, cable and satellite providers were able to collect data directly from the boxes sitting in our homes (something Sky used to its considerable advantage). Now however, as content consumption moves online, the picture has become far more complicated. Huge amounts of information are now available to broadcasters and content providers but capturing it, let alone making sense of it, is a tall order.

New challenges for asset owners

The challenge for content providers – old and new – is to combine the vast amount of data they now have access to in a way that gives them insight into how their assets are performing across the board. For example, if you take a popular children’s TV programme, you will find that asset is being used in a multitude of ways

As well as regular broadcast slots across different networks it is likely to have an array of content available to interact with and view online. Add to this the action figures, computer games and even live shows and you can see how the plot thickens.

The critical issue for the companies that own these assets is exploiting their value. This involves selling more action figures, games and tickets but fundamentally, it’s usually about attracting the advertisers to that brand. As the content moves online, the way in which the consumer interacts with it changes, which in turn has a direct effect on the opportunities for advertising.

New platforms and players

In addition to advertising around the online content accessed through traditional online platforms, increasingly consumers are interacting via mobile devices. The introduction of tablets in the last couple of years has had a considerable impact on this market.

Mobile phones have not historically had a screen size conducive to viewing anything more than video clips or small screen games. The iPad has changed all that. Now more and more people are viewing content on the move in the same kinds of formats as they do from their front rooms.

The rise of online video will mean a sharp rise in the number of broadcasters in the industry. Traditionally, broadcasting has been expensive and this has limited the numbers getting involved. However, the cost of providing content online is far cheaper and as such the numbers involved will inevitably rise.

Big rivals

With big players like Apple and Google already making a play in this space, traditional broadcasters are going to have to up their game if they want to stay in the market. Google is clearly at an advantage – it is a billion dollar company built on its ability to understand consumers and what they want.

As it diversifies and pulls together the data from across its channels, its understanding of its audience grows. As a company it understands that the data is nothing without context, and it’s this ability to understand and utilise that – the data about the data – that puts it at such a huge advantage.

This ability to capture, combine and analyse information is now critical to anyone trying to carve a niche for themselves in this market. From a technology point of view this is business intelligence, simply put.

Business intelligence as a concept has been around for years but the emergence of social channels alongside online and offline has brought it to the forefront once more. Together with effective analytics tools, business intelligence allows you to capture and combine data from across different sources to create usable information.

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