Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com
As a television producer, I used to get Nielsen Ratings the day after. It was just like getting a report card to evaluate the work you did yesterday. You will see producers, sometimes guided by researchers, struggling to decipher what went wrong or what went right. You will see producers inventing theories while trying to reach Women 25-49 instead of Men +55, because that meant more tools for the sales team, therefore more money. As Professor Cabrera mentioned, “Money talks the rest walks”
I struggled knowing that as television producers we were creating products based on data that came mostly after the fact. You would try to replicate the formula, and it didn’t work in the next show. I’ve seen new models emerge such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, and reinvent the media landscape just by basing their programming on facts, making decisions on what content to develop based on hard data. They knew the traditional outlets were only looking into demographics, and they decided to apply all the data they had in psychographics to create a tailored product.
The transition of the majority of the traditional networks has gotten stuck in the Data Guided model, and are having a difficult time to get to the Data-Savy or Data Driven mode. I want to believe that the intention is there. I’ve seen silos merging, and departments such as marketing and research tightening their collaboration, not without resistance. I’ve seen television executives signaling the need to change, but when you have a network whose margin depends on cable subscribers, traditional television ad models, and some intellectual property, the transformation to a full digital collaboration margin can be painful and stressful. The money is still big on the traditional model, but you see clients wanting to promote their products in digital because is more accurate, and the data that comes back helps them understand their customers better, therefore their business.
And I still wonder, why marketing experience is not job requirement in the majority of editorial positions in any media company.