Cognitive Computing

Using Cognitive to Compete in a Personalized Media World

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Today’s media industry is changing at an ever increasing rate. Every day, there is more content created than any of us can consume; backed by nearly ubiquitous distribution. The by-product of this new direct-to-consumer world is data – the new natural resource – and the new competitive differentiator. Data has moved to the center of the business model in M&E. And, it becomes clearer every day that the media organizations that will win in this personalized marketplace will be the ones that have made sense of all this data.

At the recent Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit I discussed the need for media enterprises to become more agile in order to keep pace with the market. With data scientists estimating a data explosion of about 1.7 megabytes/second – for every human on the planet – by 2020, it will be increasingly critical to find ways to derive value from all this data.

In this new reality, the fundamental nature of competition in the industry has shifted. No longer do television shows merely compete with other television shows, theatrical releases with theatrical releases, etc. Today all content and content offers are competing with each other – in the moment, for the next-best-action for any given consumer.

Meanwhile, each consumer still has the same finite amount of time they have always had. The result – audience fragmentation. As a result, media enterprises are competing for three things: the individual consumer’s time, advocacy and money. Inevitably, the companies who know the consumer the best will win.

Enter cognitive computing and the ability to examine the choices consumers are making, under which circumstances, in order to understand and predict what consumers will want next. And, importantly, the technology enables better decision making in production, in distribution, in sales and in marketing.

Some have framed artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as a race or battle of person vs. machine. At IBM, we see the value of augmented intelligence in the context of people and machine working together to make better business decisions.

In the media industry, there are two cornerstones for cognitive capabilities. One is the audience (customer or consumer) and using cognitive to understand things like sub-segments, affinities, attributes, how they respond to offers, what they like, who they connect with – all to reach a new level of personalization.

Not surprisingly, the second is content – using cognitive to enhance metadata to better understand what is in the content – all in an effort to exploit the content in new ways, in new formats and across new channels of distribution. Put them both together and you’ll achieve recommendation, targeting and personalization.

The objective is to apply these cognitive insights in the context of business KPIs that matter, like in ad sales improvements, content ultimates, productivity and efficiency, top line and margin growth.

Utilizing cognitive capabilities on cloud can deliver real business value today, spurring creativity and innovation. For more examples of how, watch the video of the session “Competing in a Personalized Media World.”

IBM Global Managing Director for the Communications Sector

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