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Evolving the service provider with big data: The case for audience measurement

By August 20, 2014 No Comments

In particular, the companies driving the Internet economy – Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and others, have embraced these initiatives and gained attention. But what does this mean for service providers?  Does the model apply?  Can it be tailored to fit a very different customer base, with different pricing models, and a strict regulatory environment? For today’s service providers, their customers’ privacy is paramount.  Yet understanding customers’ service data profiles and behavior is critical to advancing modern goals:

  • Operational improvements
  • Loyalty and churn reduction
  • Service improvement, through better search, discovery, recommendations, and offers

An excellent example of how cable and telco service providers are taking steps to harness big data is in the area of audience measurement, where steps are being taken to safeguard privacy while revolutionizing video delivery.  This solution not only delivers immediate value, but also provides a guiding model for methods by which big data techniques can be applied in other areas of a service provider’s world.

What’s being done?

Audience Measurement is a process of developing viewing impressions associated with individual and household behavior.  This is done by collecting and correlating second-by-second click stream, linear TV viewing, on-demand and interactive TV events.  This includes both live and time-shifted viewing, tablet and handheld device viewing, and “second screen” consumption when multiple devices are involved for corollary service usage – for example when a tablet is used to engage in games, messaging, or information gathering associated with live program activity.

Usage information is validated, normalized across platforms, and then enriched with marketing & subscriber information handling opt-in/out to ensure privacy for these viewing metrics.  All information conveying identity is anonymized, including account details, equipment model, MAC address, and any other identifying criteria.

Profile information can then be delivered in a useful, anonymous format to internal and third-party marketers, advertisers and buyers to enable the planning and measurement of addressable advertising campaigns and marketing promotions, improve viewing accuracy for contract negotiations with content providers and programmers, and finally enable real-time contextual services, such as recommendations and advanced advertising with more relevant content for subscribers and households.

Openet has assisted service providers with audience measurement, and the preparation of anonymized behavioral viewing impressions, since 2008 when the company announced the first comprehensive solution for the cable industry.  Since this time, the company has deployed some of the most successful solutions in the world to derive behavioral service information, with leading video providers.  Openet’s current platforms embrace principles and techniques involved in big data processing, and through new technologies enable insights at unparalleled scale.  


What does it means for the future of video and other services?

As the techniques for audience measurement are applied to other areas, including broadband insights, service providers are able to harness a wealth of information about service activity – while leveraging strengths in data privacy and data governance that have served them well as pillars of the business.

More than other internet era companies, the cable and telco service providers have developed processes by which personal data privacy is protected.  Data governance techniques enable the sharing of some data while protecting the rest – for example when legal warrants require an individual’s data is released, or when aggregated and anonymized data can be shared with third parties to assist in contract negotiations for content and programming rights.

Increasingly, service providers will find that the techniques which have served well in developing viewing impressions will be useful in deriving service profiles in association with other usage, at aggregate levels that assist operators as they seek to win the loyalty of customers whom they can understand better.  

As the new Gigom Research report commissioned by Openet, Modern media measurement finally hits TV, highlights, the video landscape is changing at an incredible pace.  Multiscreen viewing, and associated ad spend, is just taking off, social networks are emerging as an important corollary service with video viewing, and multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) as service providers are best positioned to derive information to spur new growth, protect customer’s interests, and define a new place in a landscape transformed by the power of information.