Data Driver: Broadcasting and Customer Engagement

ESPN Broadcast Center

Ever heard about TRP Ratings? It is the primary popularity gauge of any TV Show within a specified market, also known as Television Rating Points. Basically, higher TRP points for a TV show, it implies that viewership is high and good. Here is a simple view of broadcasting operations. A broadcasting company i.e. a TV Channel owner has only fixed time slots in a day depending on total operated hours (Note: Not all channels have 24 x 7 operations). Production companies buy time slots, which typically is 30 minutes or more and provide content to be aired during the specified time frame. The TV show producer will provide advertisement slots in the range of 15 seconds to any company for a price.


Superbowl is a sports event, which commands huge price and a 30 second advertisement slot can cost more than $2 million (more info)

Marketing departments rely on TRP as a crystal ball to make perform analysis on viewership, segments, reach, targets etc. They typically work within a specific budget and it is their job to choose between different prime time shows Broadcast_1for placing advertisements. Shows with good TRP ratings command higher cost per slot and it is a balancing act of maximizing the effectiveness of an advertisement versus amount spent. Reach & Frequency are two important KPI’s that are measured, which are directly related to viewership of a program. Ratings were collected based on a small sample by companies (e.g. AC Nielsen) and were sold to buyers

Customer feedback is now collected via Websites, Online Forums, Twitter, Facebook and mobile text messages. Marketing departments now have a powerful tool that can be used to get data and analyze popularity of a program in near real-time basis. Data is more open and raw in nature because it comes directly from the source instead of processed reports. This gives marketing department freedom to tweak analytics to fit their individual needs. Several TV shows have adopted this approach and the popularity in implementing customer engagement solutions are steadily rising worldwide.

Here is an example where the show made changes based on fan’s sentiment on twitter. NASCAR Fan Engagement Center – Video

Broadcasting companies are using this approach in order to maximize the profitability from different time slots available. If looked closely, the broadcasting companies have two critical variables to consider i.e. fixed number of time slots available and each time slot occurs only once. (NOTE: There are exceptions as always and if looked deeper, broadcasting companies have a much complicated process e.g. Live broadcast) If pricing decisions are not right i.e. over pricing or under pricing, these decisions affect profitability of the organization directly.

The future of big data and analytics in this area is now being tested by Netflix. Internet based streaming providers such as Netflix are causing disruption to the entire industry, both audio and video broadcasting. Content delivery has bypassed the legacy systems and customers can directly watch programs whenever they choose to without any time constraints. Netflix employs variety of analytics to predict consumer behavior and is in a position to provide real-time data on who is watching what in movies/tv-shows etc.

Advertisement spend is just one small part of the puzzle, which alone is a multi billion dollar industry. This is just a beginning and lot of companies are finding innovative ways to make use of big data and analytics in this industry.