Can the film industry leverage more on data analytics?
Film making as an industry is as dependent on good marketing as it is on good content.
And it is here that data analytics comes to the picture, for not only does it govern marketing strategies of a Studio but in future it might govern the creative half as well.
For a conventional Hollywood blockbuster, an average of $70 Million are spent within 10-12 weeks and data analytics might direct us as to how much cash needs to be spent and where. Nowadays companies such as IBM are experimenting with Deep Sentiment Analysis, which tries to gauge the market sentiment by listening to the constant stream of content being posted by the users in a given area. The data comes from all sorts of sources, both structured and unstructured, which then needs to be cleaned before gaining any actionable insights from it. Nowadays, companies are working towards developing Market Optimisation Models where they can use historical data to create models, which are then fed current data in order to guide marketing budget allocation decisions. Another way studios are using data analytics is to predict market reaction in USA and Europe by analysing moviegoer’s reaction to the initial run of the movie (usually in smaller markets of Asia). They then proceed to rebrand/improve its offering to make it more ‘commercial’ for a given region.
But does this seemingly endless data and ever improving predictive model point towards a future, where Big Data might tell writers what to write, directors how to direct and actors how to act? If the answer is in affirmative, then are we diluting cinema as an artistic medium? Studios, such as Netflix have now extracted about 70,000 unique characteristics from its movie collection, and now they are analysing how the presence/absence of a characteristic has an impact on the movie revenue/rating/viewing. It then uses these findings to develop and fine-tune the shows it will produce in future. This increasingly ‘scientific’ manner of developing movies is taking over at other studios as well, along with experts fearing that this practice might lead to the industry losing its experimental and creative edge.
With proved benefits, including increased revenue and minimal risk, it is imperative for studios to invest into Data Analytics. It has become imperative to design their marketing strategy using this mine of user data to make their offerings economic, popular, efficient and successful.
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