Internally and externally mined Big Data

Typically external data for media companies includes social media, audio, photos and video, all unstructured data, while internal data includes log data, transactions and emails, according to an IBM study.


The Big Data disruption represents yet another set of threats and opportunities for the media industry already beleaguered with challenges.

Gartner publishes its digital media hype cycle for all digital developments, including Big Data. The hype cycle includes five stages:
• Technology trigger, or the point at which the technology storms onto the business scene
• Peak of inflated expectations, when the technology climbs the ladder of business buzz
• Trough of disillusionment, when the buzz is reduced to a more reasonable business expectation
• Slope of enlightenment, where the technology’s true value is realised
• Plateau of productivity, when the technology hits its stride and becomes a part of a company’s business processes

Gartner projects that Big Data is currently climbing the peak of inflated expectations, and will take two to five years to reach the plateau of productivity.

According to a Gartner research study, about half of communications, media and service companies in the world have either already invested in technology to address the Big Data challenge, or are planning to do so in the next year or two.

Other industries are far ahead of media in terms of creating Big Data strategies and investing in technologies and data analyst expertise. About one-third of education, retail, transportation and healthcare respondents to the Gartner study said they have already invested in Big Data technology, and another third said they plan to do so in the next year or two.

Another study done by IBM and Said Business School at the University of Oxford produced similar results: More companies in the United Kingdom and Ireland are recognising the competitive advantage associated with Big Data. Sixty-three percent now understand the advantage compared to 34 percent in 2010.

The companies plan to use Big Data mostly for customer-centric outcomes, 38 percent; followed by optimising operations, 26 percent; enabling new business models, 18 percent; risk and financial management, 16 percent; and employee collaboration, 2 percent.
Among the responding companies, data is mainly collected through business transactions, 90 percent; followed by log data, 72 percent; emails, 61 percent; events, 59 percent; social media, 39 percent; and geospatial data, 37 percent.

Other industries are far ahead of media in terms of creating Big Data strategies and investing in technologies and data analyst expertise. About one-third of education, retail, transportation and healthcare respondents to the Gartner study said they have already invested in Big Data technology, and another third said they plan to do so in the next year or two.

The IBM study not only takes a snapshot of today’s current sentiment about Big Data strategies, it also shines a light on the possible future strategies to adopt across industries. Big Data is nothing if a versatile and far-reaching strategy across the boundaries of the media company’s value chain.

The possibilities to consider include transactions affecting the finance department and executive management; log data and email data affecting the technology services, marketing and digital media departments, and content including social media, audio, video and photos affecting the traditional and digital journalism departments.

The data set is a part of a collection of 500 revenue and usership trends in mobile, social, Internet, tablet, video and other digital categories, published in the 200-page Global Digital Media Trendbook 2013. GDMT, in its eight year, is to be published by World Newsmedia Network, a not-for-profit media research company, in September 2013. To subscribe to the PDF report and/or the tablet edition, go to www.wnmn.org, or contact mstone@wnmn.org.

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