Analytics in Media & Entertainment

Now is perhaps the most exciting and challenging times yet for marketers. Exciting, because the advent of social media has made it easier, quicker and vastly economical for companies to pitch to a wide range of audience. Social media has democratized advertising and marketing in ways that we thought were not possible a few years back. It is less about deep pockets and more about creativity and targeted marketing. At the same time it is challenging because it begs the questions – how do you maximize and measure the efficacy of the campaigns, ensure that the product is pitched to the intended audience and most importantly how do you better a competitor’s campaigns?

Specifically with respect to the media and entertainment industry, there was a time when marketing and advertising of films meant ensuring every inch of hoarding space in the city is filled with the posters of the upcoming movie and of course the mandatory promotion party or unveiling of the film. More often than not, the success of a film was a function of the popularity of the lead cast since the plots more or less followed a set formula that we are all too well aware of. The early 90’s saw the change that came to define the entire media and entertainment industry. This was the period when liberalization gave Indian viewers exposure to international media content. A new market emerged from this period of immense churn.

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A generation of viewers were born, who had completely different tastes and preferences, a generation born in the era of the World Wide Web. Marketers and film makers came to realize that the dynamics of film making and viewership has evolved. Independent and niche films that never saw the light of the day earlier are now appreciated and is common place, thriving alongside mainstream cinema. Although this new age movies were made, their marketing budgets could not compete with that of commercial cinema and it was not feasible to mass market due to the inherent quality of the cinema itself. It became a cause of concern for the movie makers that the niche movies they made never received the recognition and viewership it deserves simply because they could not reach out to the target audience efficiently enough. They did have access to the social media and realized soon enough that it was their ally, but the answer to how to leverage it into a potent marketing aid eluded them.

Along comes data analytics to solve this conundrum. Data analytics helped movie makers to generate the “buzz” required to promote a film by harnessing the immense power of big data to provided insights into viewer behavior. Data scientists strategized and optimized the method of reaching out to potential viewers in a precise and highly efficient manner. It is interesting to know the kind of solutions that big data comes up with to aid in marketing. They scour the internet and social media to arrive at answers to questions such as – what time of the day am I likely to generate the highest response for my marketing pitch, what day of the week will it generate the highest level of interest, who is most likely to re-tweet or further share my pitch, based on past patterns or (likes and dislikes) of which user can I say that he/she is most likely to watch this movie or buy this product, do they have friends with similar interest? Data analytics asks such pertinent questions and more often than not arrives at the answers to them by churning through huge volumes of data generated over the internet.

A recent case study by IIM Bangalore that analyses the impact of digital media marketing and the box office collections of a film highlights the role and use of data analytics as a differentiating factor in a highly competitive media and entertainment industry. The study was conducted on the success of the movie “1920 – Evil Returns” – a low-budget horror movie released in 2012. It was especially crucial for targeted marketing of this movie owing to the niche content of the film – horror. They ensured a high level of engagement with the potential viewers through Facebook updates, YouTube videos, sponsored advertisements the whole gamut of social marketing tools at their disposal. The film eventually did open to success due to the precise and sustained marketing campaign run by the movie makers with the assistance of data scientists. It is evident now that the media and entertainment industry has taken note of the power of analytics to drive data analytics and we won’t be surprised to see further interesting marketing techniques unraveled by the magic of big data and analytics.

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