What M&E Needs to Do to Unlock the Value of Data

Unlike more traditional industries with legacy infrastructures, such as finance or healthcare, the media and entertainment industry has always been able to adapt quickly during periods of rapid change. However, the past decade has seen a dramatic change in the way film, TV, music and gaming are consumed. The rise of on-demand services means entertainment providers have had to rethink the way they deliver content in a seamless way. And the resulting wealth of data created, as a result of these new delivery methods, have opened up tremendous opportunities.

Data is central to this new era of entertainment. Industry leaders, such as Netflix, are making use of data to deliver standout customer service across different platforms and are reaping the rewards: the business currently boasts more than 150 million paying subscribers. As a result, long-standing industry behemoths such as Disney, Apple and Amazon are in constant competition to enhance their streaming offerings.

Newer players in the market like Hulu often have a more agile, data-driven approach, while more established businesses may have to manage data across multiple locations and business silos. These differing approaches may be a result of the fact that according to DataAge 2025, an IDC report sponsored by Seagate, 42% of media and entertainment companies lack a solid understanding of how best to adapt to the impending data-led future. There’s room for improvement across the wider industry and unlocking the value of this data is crucial to their future success.


With “YouTubers” regularly racking up more views than traditional TV programs and Twitch reporting that more than 15 million people spend an average of 95 minutes on the platform per day, multiplatform streaming services have become the norm. Distinguishing your brand and breaking through the noise to grab consumers’ attention has become a key challenge for media companies.

But, with data being the enabler for success in this forward-thinking industry, implementing a reliable data management infrastructure is a crucial first step for media companies to keep up with new competitors. According to IDC, from 2010 to 2018 data produced by the media and entertainment industry grew at a 43% compound annual rate, far beyond the growth rate of all other industries in the study.

To address this significant growth, investment in cloud-based infrastructure is vital. An open, cloud-based approach will enable businesses to remove silos across the organization, better identify new opportunities to capture, create, distribute and manage data more efficiently and translate that data into improved customer experiences.


Building a proper centralized infrastructure to handle all that data is only the first part of the journey. Adopting a data-led approach means that content creators, and the businesses commissioning and funding new content, have a vast range of new information at their fingertips, which they can use to make decisions.

Standard metrics, such as views, location and engagement time, are now supplemented with more in-depth and creative measures. For example, Netflix reports that 80% of users follow recommendations driven by algorithmic data analysis. Information such as when a viewer fast forwards through a scene, or what genre of content a user responds to, can be used to create more personalized customer experiences and drive overall engagement and brand loyalty. Investing in data collection technologies is the best way of making this happen. The media and entertainment sector needs to think creatively, anticipate new data sources and incorporate them into decision-making on an ongoing basis.


Data collection and privacy has never been a more sensitive topic. As media and entertainment companies look to use data to innovate, they must always be mindful of protecting their customers’ personal information. Industry leaders face steep consequences in the event of any breach, for example in 2017, HBO suffered from a high-profile cyber-attack. The hackers threatened to release vital information about popular programs, which could have had a significant impact on future revenues. While the attack did not expose customer information, any cyber-attack comes with real reputational concerns.

On top of this, the media and entertainment sector is uniquely vulnerable to cybercrime. High-profile products, services that reach millions of consumers, complex production processes and extensive use of third-party vendors collectively to create a high-risk environment. The industry needs to invest in going beyond traditional security practices to counteract the risks. New types of customer data mean require new security and privacy technologies such as AI and automation, which can be used to spot potential attacks much sooner and take proactive measures to prevent them.


Moving forward, it is vital that incumbent media and entertainment companies consider and act on data if they want to maintain the position against upstart players and disruptors. A good data management infrastructure, with security baked in from the start, will enable these businesses to create, distribute and measure the success of their content more effectively. The businesses that embrace and invest in this approach now, will lead the way for the future.

Ted Oade is a director of Product Marketing at Seagate Technology for B2B products, the company’s multi-billion-dollar Enterprise, NAS and Surveillance lines. He is a veteran of the IT industry having played a wide variety of roles across marketing, product management, corporate strategy, operations and sales. He has the unusual distinction of being a non-engineer who was awarded several storage system patents. Ted lives, works and plays in Northern Colorado—the Rocky Mountains’ version of the Silicon Valley.