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What effect can big data have on the media?

Richard Jones Archive

The growing big data revolution has already had a profoundly positive effect on industries including marketing, retail, healthcare, finance and customer service. There's one more arena where data analysis has the potential to bring about large-scale improvement - the media.

Media outlets everywhere have a need to analyze consumers and their tastes. Newspapers, magazines, broadcast networks and websites all have specific demographics to target, and by gathering more information on each subset of the population, they can figure out the best ways to corner their desired markets.

What kinds of content do people consume? When, where and how do they consume it? How reliant are they on new technologies, including mobile devices and social media networks, to help mold their media tastes? By gathering large volumes of data, publishers and broadcasters could find answers to all of these questions and more.

According to VentureBeat, data analysis has a great deal of potential in public relations. If companies' PR engines use more analytics to improve the way they pitch stories, they can better meet their consumers' demands. Matt Allison, CEO and co-founder of TrendKite, is hopeful that we will move further toward a "PR utopia" in the years ahead.

"If there was a PR utopia, it would look something like this: Businesses would send journalists timely, interesting stories. Journalists would receive an ongoing supply of quality information," Allison stated. "Readers, in turn, would grow enthusiastic about brands, turning media coverage into a conduit for sales and investor interest. But, we do not live in a PR utopia."

Progress for the PR industry
One thing public relations officials can do with data analysis is keep a closer eye on trending topics. If they continue to stay abreast of what subject matter people enjoy reading about, they can provide people with the content they're looking for, ensuring long-term loyalty.

PR is a business largely centered around pitching stories - the business comes up with topic ideas and tries to sell the media outlets on their potential. If both the PR agents and the media outlets receiving those pitches had access to real-time information on people's interests, then both sides would be on the same page, and they could produce ideas for content more quickly and efficiently.

Like any other industry, the media needs to make sure it starts with accurate information. If the sector maintains its focus on data quality, it will be able to reliably predict the tastes of readers and viewers everywhere.