The Many Faces of Entertainment: Exploring the evolving landscape of screen interaction


On Tuesday 3rd October, a range of well-known experts from across the entertainment industry came together to hear and discuss new trends and insights, uncovered by Starcount’s data gurus, into how people are interacting with their screens today.

Showcasing Starcount’s unparalleled data technology, our experts unveiled the latest in 'emotional loyalty', understanding consumers through five mindsets and delving into how the lines between each industry are distorting as more and more brands break traditional boundaries.

Following the presentation, four industry experts sat down with our own Chief Data Scientist, Clive Humby, to discuss their opinions of today’s entertainment market, how it has changed and where it is going, as well as to answer questions from our own CEO, Edwina Dunn, and the many attendees from major brands who formed the audience. The panel featured Sarah Clerkson, Head of Customer Intelligence at Sky; Sanjeevan Bala, Head of Data Science at Channel 4; Alison Finnegan, Insight and Marketing Director at Immediate Media; and Hilary Goldsmith, senior Vice-President for Global Ad operations at Unruly.

The panel discuss the evolving trends in the entertainment industry.

The panel discuss the evolving trends in the entertainment industry.

In discussing the major challenges of using data in this industry, each member of the panel put forth their own opinion. For Clerkson, the challenge lay in trying to develop methods to use data in order to make experiences more personalised for customers, whilst Bala considered the trials of steering through the accelerating transformation of AI, the rise of automation and what effect those can have on the entertainment industry. Finnegan believed that one crucial obstacle lies in pushing through the vast amounts of data that exist, to see what works and what doesn’t, whereas Goldsmith voiced the challenges of creating a direct line between digital ad campaigns and sales, in order to see what the end result actually is.

If you can create brilliant content and work out the best way to serve it to people, you will win.
— Alison Finnegan

A major point that emerged from the discussion focused on how the proliferation of content and platforms might affect the traditional competitors, a point underlined by recent announcements from both NBC and Disney of intentions to open their own distributions channels. Whilst Clerkson admitted that, with the rise of Netflix, there was a splintering effect with various brands following suit, the excessive range of choice combined with the irritation that viewers might feel having to switch between multiple platforms means that there is a reverse trend. “Now we’re going back to the old style where people are keen to just turn the TV on and watch something that will simply entertain them, instead of spending ages trying to choose something to watch”, she stated.

There was also a word from one audience member who gave his own opinion of the growth of data use in the gaming industry. Drew Wilkins, from digital agency Fish in a Bottle, said “It’s filtering through to lots of areas, from the approach to content delivery to everything we do. It’s all about rewarding consumers for doing things we want them to do. If you know what to reward what each would appreciate most, you can then tailor your content to each consumer. But we still don’t know quite how to employ it.”

You don’t just want to sell to people who live in Glasgow and buy t-shirts on a Tuesday, you want to sell to the people who love movies - the people who watch a movie on the Wednesday after buying the t-shirt on the Tuesday.
— Sarah Clerkson

Finally, the panellists were asked about their own predictions for the future. For Goldsmith, the future lay in the proliferation, as well as consolidation, of content and platforms with access via a single point in the home, whilst Finnegan added to this, predicting that the continuing rise of smart TVs means that there will be a huge increase in the amount of data a TV can hold. Bala’s prediction heralded a future with more collaboration between the traditional players, to thwart the increasing threats from disruptors, whereas Clerkson emphasised the increasing importance of cloud based data collecting everything we do, along with the consolidation of information to allow for a more personalised experience for the customer.

All advertising is faith.
— Clive Humby

All in all, an insightful morning with a room full of major brands and some expert opinions. Job done!

If you would like to see more insights from The Many Faces of Entertainment study, you can view the press release here.

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