CES: Data is fueling innovation. Even in content

January  22,  2015 / By Dan Gadd

The future is data. If there was one thing that was apparent at CES, it was that data is the fuel for present and foreseeable innovations. It’s clear that data is a driving force in technology. But just as importantly for advertisers and marketers, data is changing the creative process and creating more opportunities to reach and connect with people.

That is, at least, for those that will succeed in the coming years.

Most of the buzz around CES was for technology or products that were fed data in new ways, processed that data and delivered a better experience for people or an innovative solution.

The Mercedes self-driving car, fitness watches and apparel, Oculus’ virtual reality gaming and Intel’s RealSense display were all heavily talked about. And they are all examples of creating customized sensors to pull in data from the surrounding people or environment to create a more personal experience, solve a challenge or an innovative approach to entertainment.

The internet of things, and its commonly discussed Smart Kitchen, relies heavily on devices or appliances passing data back and forth to each other. And SAP/Panasonic’s realtime sports analytics video display makes fantastic use of a combination of data feeds, sensors and even manual input to create a sports viewing experience that fans and coaches alike will want to take advantage.

But a seemingly unrelated, yet major discussion at CES was the future of the TV and video industry. Specifically, alternatives to TV, like YouTube, Netflix and Dish’s Sling TV are starting to make cable providers and networks that rely on revenue from cable bundles nervous.

Almost lost in that conversation was the role of data in this cord-cutting future. But that data could have the biggest impact on video’s future, and the marketing/advertising that is part of that video. That is due to the rich viewer data that these distribution channels provide.

More than ever, content creators can understand exactly what the makeup of their audience was, what devices they were using, what interested that audience, where they lost them, and even where/when to deliver types of content to specific segments of the audience. Used correctly, this data should turn the creative process on its head, with a focus on data-driven audience insights forming the core of an approach that leads to segmented content creation and delivery methods. This approach will lead to more personalized, and impactful videos being delivered to specific audiences. And brands need to be aware of this shift.

It was not lost on Stuart McLean, CEO of Content and Company. During a session called “Broadcasting Without Borders”, McLean noted that his agency, which solely creates content for brands, sees ownership of the data from Netflix, Sling and YouTube and other digital distribution mediums as one of the critical topics going forward because that data, particularly around viewer interests, is far richer than anything they could get from standard broadcast, and it is driving how they create content.

As brands move towards becoming content creators, instead of advertisers, this is going to signal a big shift in how they and their agencies operate.

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