Seven West Media Deploys Big Data Solution To Deliver Innovation In Audience Engagement

Seven West Media Deploys Big Data Solution To Deliver Innovation In Audience Engagement

Seven West Media (SWM) has enlisted a new partnership with Cloudera and Contexti to build an advanced big data solution for its media business. Cloudera is a global provider of secure data management and analytics platform built on Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark and open source technologies, while Contexti are Australian-based data analytics experts.

Luke Frost
Posted by Luke Frost

The solution was run as a pilot program for SWM’s coverage of the 2016 Australian Open Tennis event before being expanded to support the extensive and groundbreaking coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Australia.

It now forms the core of SWM’s data capability as the company continues to provide market leading audience engagement and innovative advertising solutions.

Data analytics experts from Contexti were engaged to assist in the design, build, and management of a modern data platform to support SWM’s evolving digital strategy aimed at delivering much deeper insights into viewer behaviour.

Sidney Minassian, founder and CEO of Contexti, said, “Seven West Media has recognised the shift in how broadcast television is consumed by their audiences.

“Underpinned by Cloudera’s sophisticated data analytics platform, Cloudera Enterprise and an array of advanced digital strategies, Seven West Media is leading the innovation in content and audience experiences.

“Together we were able to uplift the organisation’s data and analytics capabilities, delivering new insights to personalise the viewer experience and deliver higher ROI for their customers.”

Adopting a cloud-first approach, SWM’s data solution runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with a Cloudera enterprise data hub at its core providing a fast, secure, and easily scalable platform that can adapt to demand.

“There were two key data challenges that we needed to solve. Firstly, the variety and complexity of the data sources meant that we needed a mature and enterprise-grade open-source data management solution at the core of our data ecosystem,” said Sharmaine Salis, head of Data Architecture at Seven West Media.

“The second challenge for us was the highly variable nature of the events that generated the data, with huge events like the Rio Olympics needing to be supported over and above business-as-usual demand. This drove our decision for a cloud-based solution.”

In preparing for the Rio Olympics, the Contexti team ran comprehensive performance tests to form a clear benchmark. With a high level of uncertainty around data volumes that would actually be generated, SWM took advantage of their cloud-based solution and the new elastic-pricing model from Cloudera.

“Although we were pretty confident in the performance of the system after Contexti’s tests, we decided to err on the side of caution. So, with only one week to go before the Opening Ceremony, we provisioned additional nodes. And a week after the Games, we turned them off again. That is exactly the type of flexibility we needed!” said Salis.

The solution easily transformed the enormous data volumes into the usable data sets to drive a comprehensive suite of dashboards. These were delivered to key stakeholders each day to give executives access to critical audience metrics throughout the event.

This same data was also used to underpin an innovative audience engagement program. Over one million people registered on the Olympics app or website during the event. Each user’s level of engagement with the content was tracked across over 200 daily variables and these were used to trigger highly targeted and personalised emails aimed at increasing user engagement.

“Over the two weeks, we delivered 2.7 million emails across 108 targeted campaigns triggered by audience behaviours. The results of the program were compelling. We measured a 29 per cent increase in the average minutes streamed by users who engaged in the program when compared against a control group,” said David Miller, director of Data and Business Intelligence at SWM.

“Our data solution has transformed how we can understand our audience as well as how we can proactively engage them.”

“This project demonstrates the power of a data-driven analytics programme,” added Shyam Srinivasan, regional director for Australia and New Zealand at Cloudera.

“This has been an absolutely stellar result for Seven West Media, who have been able to use their massive supply of data to great effect, bringing tangible business benefits to the company.

“Working together with Contexti, it’s compelling to see where this partnership can go, as big data analytics comes to have more and more of an impact on Seven West Media’s operations.”