Unlocking Opportunities Through Open Source Big Data Tools

Steve Heck, CTO, Getty Images
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Steve Heck, CTO, Getty Images

Big data has transformed the customer-brand relationship and is having a profound impact on not only how brands operate but also what they have to offer. With customer insight and consumer and audience behaviour data having much richer, the shared brand and consumer experience has become more personalized than ever. The media industry has been on the forefront of this as the world engages with content on a level never seen before so much so, that imagery has become a universal language. Now, companies are able to understand what content a consumer wants to see, when and how they are most likely to view this content, and not only track the consumer experience but also the contents’ journey.

Open source big data tools such as Spark, Flume, HDFS and Hadoop can allow companies in the media industry to capture and process data at a previously unimagined granular scale. Today, virtually every interaction between consumer and content can be captured, processed and analyzed to determine usage patterns, preferences and consumer content affinities. This information can then be fed back into the production process, advertising and social media platforms to help create and tailor content that is completely personalized for each customer.

The companies who are succeeding are not the ones who necessarily have the most data, but the ones who are using data to put connected customers at its core. Music streaming services and media outlets are already doing this by providing completely personalized content recommendations for their customers. Informed, always connected consumers now just expect greater personalization in terms of how products, services and experiences are delivered to them, but when done right, brand engagement can reach an all-time high.

The proliferation of mobile devices accompanied by the democratization of publishing and content creation, means that millions of people now have the tools and networks to generate massive amounts of content and the competition for eyeballs (attention) has never been fiercer. For Getty Images, this means our unparalleled content and curative services are more in demand than ever, as visual content shows itself to drive engagement and loyalty. It also means we need to ensure the right image is put in front of our customers.

To do this, we leverage big data platforms to build proprietary tools that we use to gather billions of customer behavior ‘signals’ from our sites and apps, which we then use to deliver more relevant images unique to an individual customer search. ‬For each of these searches, we track all results, position images shown for each keyword, in each country, and use that big data to expose undiscovered content. It also helps us to regulate currency and prioritize search result placement, thus providing the best search experience for our customers. It’s not enough to prioritize relevancy, you also have to use the data to anticipate and provide fresh results and with over 120 million digitized assets at Getty Images, efficient metadata management is paramount.

While the media and entertainment industry may have been slower to embrace big data than other industry, there is now no denying its influence which is set to continue to grow. Big data, when managed effectively, will continue to offer exciting opportunities for the industry.

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