EAVE interview: THINK DATA

“Think Data can help producers find selling points, benchmarks and data to support their thinking when negotiating with streamers.” - an exclusive interview with EAVE Marketing Consultant Sarah Calderón

By Lilla Kadar

Think Data, a new product by Madrid based The Film Agency harnesses SVOD viewership data provided by Digital i’s SoDA platform to create a series of pan-European monthly insight reports regarding SVOD viewing trends. The launch of this new product will empower independent content creators by giving them access to coveted, previously inaccessible European streaming data.

The seeds of the Think Data idea were planted years ago at the first EAVE Impact Think Tanks. EAVE Marketing Consultant Sarah Calderón and innovation director Celia Fumanal have been working on this project for about 4 years: during the very intensive Think Tank days 30 professionals worked together to come up with breakthrough ideas and solutions for the future of the industry. Extensive surveys have been conducted based on the results that were answered by 300-400 colleagues. It was obvious that there was a data gap, and the collective thinking in these think tanks highlighted the importance of finding solutions other than just waiting or asking streamers to share the information.

In 2021, Sarah began receiving requests from clients for market studies using audience clusters and SVOD data. At the same time, as the co-head of Studies at EAVE Marketing Workshop, she was trying to find the right experts for impact sessions that focused more on new ways of marketing, new ways of using the algorithms.

"What I really appreciate about this constant contact with the EAVE workshops is that I am challenged to take a step back, think deeply and academically about my work without being completely absorbed by the daily tasks." –Sarah says.

By starting to look for people and companies that were able to collect and share streaming data, she came across Ali Vahdati, founder and CEO of Digital i and of the SoDA platform.

In practice, 20.000 representative individuals in key areas of Europe give SoDA the rights to monitor their viewership data on Netflix and Amazon. This extensive data is supplemented by surveys, and it is also constantly confronted with data deriving from the platforms (e.g., the top 10 records).

Streamers work with a whole back office where they analyse all kinds of audience data: They know what time of day viewers watched the shows, what selections they made, what the connection is between certain shows, what the taste trend is, every aspect of consumption is monitored. With the data gap, we are losing more and more of the overview. And as for creators' rights, the producers and writers who produce content are also not getting data to get the right answers to these questions: How did my show do? Was it worth the sale? Should I do something similar in the future?

The Think Data reports are built with analytic digest texts, so you do not have to be initiated in statistics or any kind of data learning to read them. “We decided to go with short, already analysed, user-friendly reports of 20-25 pages rather than dashboards. We realised that companies are so small and employees are so overworked that they are not able to analyse dashboards, they would underuse the tool or they could get easily lost in the data. Our advice would be to have the people who make content decisions, who are responsible for sales and distribution, read the reports themselves. For companies of a certain size, it might be interesting to have a data intelligent business expert who can analyse our reports and also other sources. Or even ask SoDA for a more advanced dashboard with other metrics and countries.”

SoDA also has other countries in its repertoire that could be interesting in the future: the Nordic countries for example, and they will soon add the US and Latin America. They will also expand to other platforms such as Disney and HBO. The Think Data product is sealed for 5 countries (UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, France) that are representative of Europe. When you look at these 5 countries, you get a lot of information and insight into how different markets work. The titles that made it into the Top 10 or Top 20 are very similar in the different regions, but there are definitely noticeable differences as well that are interesting to examine.

For producers these reports are full of opportunities. There are key trends in content worth tracking. “For example, regarding documentaries: we have analysed that when there is a very interesting English-speaking documentary, it always makes it to the top 10, with certain characteristics of course. Same goes for series, horror films, for certain areas that are a bit underserved and could be a source of inspiration.”

The analysis shows that in most areas, a large percentage of films come from action and comedy. There are areas where foreign-language dramas are well received. Italy and Spain, for example, surprisingly seem more open to it. Local content is a very important factor, especially in Spain. In the UK, there is a strong preference (70%) for American comedies: FRIENDS is one of the most streamed contents, it goes beyond SQUID GAME, MONEY HEIST or even SEX EDUCATION.

Think Data can help producers find selling points, benchmarks and data to support their thinking when negotiating with streamers. It can feed their acquisitions process, identify existing IP, genres and trends and to target marketing and release strategies more effectively across individual territories. At the end of the day, it's important to have confidence, market skills and know what you can earn from a certain type of content.

Think Data offers 2 types of subscriptions. For a monthly subscription, Think Data clients will be able to access SVOD viewing reports and a monthly report, which identifies the top 100 movies and series as well as the most-streamed genres in key territories. With the annual subscription, subscribers will receive the monthly report and 2 additional semester reports with contributions from guest experts, and access to webinars, and podcasts. Articles will be published in conjunction with the semester reports with key data and important insights for the public.

"This is a great learning opportunity. Reading the monthly reports for an entire year would be worth a master's degree. But it's interesting to look at trends over the long term. For example, when we did the first report in July 2021, we could not put the data into context. After a few reports, we understood what the individual cases were and what the trends were."


Curious to hear more?

Watch here the panel FUTURE THINKING OF DATA ANALYSIS IN THE AUDIOVISUAL INDUSTRY with Elena Neira [La Otra Pantalla], Celia Fumanal [The Film Agency], Ali Vahdati [Digital-i SODA], Sami Arpa [Largo AI] moderated by Sarah Calderón [The Film Agency] in collaboration with EAVE. The session was part of the programme of When East Meets West 2022 in Trieste.

Page published 25 February 2022. Updated 27 April 2022.

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A scholarship has been set up to honour the memory of Alan Fountain, former Head of Studies and President of EAVE, who passed away in 2016. Its goal is to enable one producer from outside the EU to participate in all three sessions of the EAVE Producers Workshop each year.

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