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Big Data Summit: Metrics, Analytics, ‘Wild West’ Opportunities Parsed by Industry Leaders

Variety‘s second annual Big Data Summit brought together leaders from the world of cutting-edge analytics and research to examine the challenges and opportunities in a data-driven marketplace for media and entertainment.

The daylong conference at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills featured lively discussions about the role of data in content creation, advertising sales and alternative distribution models for Hollywood’s traditional players and new media upstarts.

Here’s a sampling of comments from participants:

Eric Smith (Facebook)
“We are creating 1.8 billion personalized experiences for our users every month.”

Sam Toles (Vimeo)
“We have to use data to build trust. We are going to open up the kimono and let our creators” see viewership stats.

Bill Stratton (Turner)
“We look at it as data democratization: How do I push data into the hands of decision-makers in our business so they can transact and execute on it very quickly.”

Todd Holloway (Netflix)
“Everything you see on your (Netflix) interface is driven by your behavior, down to the cover art” for TV series and movies.

Amy Carney (Sony Pictures TV)
“With our ratings warehouse, what used to take hours we can now do in a matter of minutes. It’s allowed us to move to becoming a department that was mostly concentrated on reporting ratings to providing data insights.”

Thomas Hughes (Lionsgate)
“The Lionsgate-Vimeo (distribution) partnership was sketched out on a napkin. We’ve had sales in Pakistan, Poland and Turkey — places where we never had television sales before — now that we have a digital transactional platform.”

Cynthia Frelund (NFL Media)
“You can’t come off as ‘I’m this math person, you can’t know what I know.’ If you don’t speak a language they can understand, they just don’t listen to you.”

Leo Polanowski (Yahoo)
“Sixty-five percent (of millennials) have basically cut the cord already.”

Beth Ferreira (WME Ventures)
“We’re focused on platforms that democratize the process of content production. So we can find the next Beyonce who’s not going through a major label.

Kodi Foster (Viacom)
“We were able to prove that an ad that ran across Viacom networks got people onto a car dealership lot. I know it sounds a little Edward Snowden-sy, but it was legal.”

Thomas Ciszek (Twitter)
“Chicago Cubs fans lean a little to the right — a little more Trump than Hillary.”

Mark Zagorski (Nielsen Marketing Cloud)
“Mo data, mo problems.”

James Taylor (Karma Automotive)
“The opportunities are endless. It’s the Wild West.”

Eric Schmitt (Acxiom)
“TV has a long way to go before it gets there (with programmatic advertising) at scale.”

Tom Nowak (Best Buy)
“We used to spend all of our time figuring out what we wanted to sell to people. Now we’re trying to figure out what people want to buy from us. That’s a very big difference.”

Raghu Ramakrishnan (Microsoft)
“If you sneeze on a website, I know how long you sneezed and what you were looking at when you sneezed.”

Cynthia Littleton and Janko Roettgers contributed to this report.

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