Viacom, mother company household brands, for example, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, is one of the biggest media organizations on the planet, conveying more than 170 cable, broadcast and online networks in around 160 nations.
Observing of the digital networks which are utilized to convey their content into hundreds of millions of homes gives them access to a large measure of information, on both their systems and their users’ behavior.
In the same way as other big companies, Viacom is right now moving to position itself as a completely data driven organization – with as few of the critical decisions left to guess-work and gut-feeling as would be prudent.
Truth be told, Viacom is so vigorously involved in Big Data, that in addition to luring and attracting talent from tech organizations, for example, Microsoft, it has even produced a super-cool rap video to declare its love.
As a component of this drive, it has built up various use cases for the network data it is gathering.
Dan Morris, senior executive of item investigation, took some time off to discuss two of them – clarifying how they joined this network information with cutting-edge real-time big data analytics, to enhance audience experience and increase customer retention.
Enhancing video experience
Streaming petabytes of video data all over the world puts a strain on the delivery networks – we’re all familiar with online videos either failing to load or continually stuttering as they rebuffer.
In the meantime there are zones where abundance bandwidth is wasting away – when everybody is sleeping or out at work.
Viacom has developed a real-time big data analytics platform based around Apache Spark and Databricks, which continually monitors the quality of video feeds and reallocates resources in real-time when it supposes it will be required.
Morris revealed that “Delivery of video is at the core of everything we do, and our goal is to be exceptional at that.
But there’re a lot of variables at play – we have internal systems talking to external systems, we have content delivery, we have ad severs, and on the user side there’s a whole bunch of environmental factors like wi-fi connectivity which we really have no control over.”
While they are out of Viacom’s control, observing these variables can possibly prompt insights which could be utilized to anticipate when issues will develop.
At the end of the day while they will most likely be unable to know whether a watcher will watch on TV, or on a tablet, their decision can be expected and made arrangements for.
“So, with what we’ve built on the data side, we’re able to take all this raw data and do two things – surface trends, and isolate areas of opportunity to present a superior viewing experience.”
Two metrics are especially intently monitored for this procedure – “time to first frame” (how long it takes a video to begin) and rebuffering rate – how frequently the video stutters.
These have been revealed by the big data analytics to be essential pointers of whether an audience will settle in to watch a video, or scan for something different.
On account of upgrades driven by their big data analytics, Viacom has lessened the time to-first-frame their watchers experience to around 33% of what it was, all over their network.
“Particularly with younger audiences, we know this is super-important. That split second could be the difference between retaining the user and losing them. So, that was definitely a huge area of focus and the data was an instrumental part.”
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