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Streaming, Sharing, Stealing

Big Data and the Future of Entertainment

By Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang
13-minute read
Audio available
Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment by Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang

Streaming, Sharing, Stealing (2016) is about the ever-changing entertainment industry. Recent years have seen the emergence of new players who continue to utilize technology to transform the landscape. This book assesses how companies like Apple, Netflix and Amazon use data to understand their consumers’ needs.

  • Publishers and policy makers
  • Technology enthusiasts interested in big data and analytics
  • Media, film and music students

Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang are professors at the Tepper School of Business and Carnegie Mellon University, where they co-direct the Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics. Over the course of their careers, they’ve been interviewed by Forbes, NPR and Fortune, and have featured on Talks at Google.

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Streaming, Sharing, Stealing

Big Data and the Future of Entertainment

By Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment by Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang
Synopsis

Streaming, Sharing, Stealing (2016) is about the ever-changing entertainment industry. Recent years have seen the emergence of new players who continue to utilize technology to transform the landscape. This book assesses how companies like Apple, Netflix and Amazon use data to understand their consumers’ needs.

Key idea 1 of 8

Technology has changed the power dynamics of the entertainment industry.

A while ago, CDs were widely used to play music. Nowadays, you rarely see them, save for a small minority who collect them for nostalgic purposes.

What led to their demise? Big players in the music industry ignored the potential of digital music, which allowed companies such as Apple, Pandora and Spotify to emerge and kill off the CD.

In 2003, AT&T was the first company to attempt to introduce digital downloads with its division A2B Music. Its cofounders pitched the concept to top music executives but they were met with ridicule, as growing CD sales were creating so much revenue. A2B Music quickly dissolved, but in the early 2000s, companies like Apple began to flourish using the same technology.

Soon, digital music became popular, and CDs became irrelevant.

Encyclopedia Britannica suffered a similar fate. In 1985, Microsoft requested non-exclusive rights to the company so they could digitize the contents of its encyclopedias. Personal computers were growing in popularity at this time, but the print-based business wasn’t convinced. The repercussions of this decision would be felt in 1993; that year, Microsoft created a multimedia encyclopedia called Encarta, and sales of print encyclopedias plummeted by $110 million as a result.

A modern-day company which harnesses the power of technology, is Netflix. It uses data analytics to truly customize the user experience. Formerly, production companies created pilot episodes of new shows and aired them to network executives. If the pilot received a positive response, the network requested more episodes – if not, the show was rejected.

When the creators of House of Cards pitched their show to Netflix, the company ordered two seasons for $100 million without seeing the pilot. The Netflix team had thoroughly analyzed their user data and knew House of Cards would be a hit with their audience. The show’s creators were further incentivized to exclusively release both seasons on Netflix because, as a digital platform, it didn’t have the same airtime limitations as TV networks.

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