Weekly Column: Will Streamers Embrace Analytics?

In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about the potential growth of analytics in Hollywood entertainment content decision-making, creation, production, and distribution.

You can read the full column below.


As more streamers enter into the content space, competition to create, own, obtain, and distribute entertainment and sports properties increases. This is why streamers like Netflix are implementing ad-based options for consumers. Streamers need to attract more customers and by having an ad-based option it makes the price potentially more palatable.

However, as competition increases, prices tend to go up with new offerings and more content particularly when the market settles and businesses attempt to find a balance between the cost and profit to create, produce, and distribute content. On the other hand, Hollywood has been one of the few industries to be resistant to embracing analytics in decision-making. Hollywood is equally run by executives and powerful creatives. The business acumen and creative prowess are equally important, but the creative nature of content creation means that science and math (e.g., analytics) are generally viewed with concern.

Analytics in sports were once viewed the same way. However, Billy Beane, Bill James, and other front office executives embraced analytics as a way to improve the game and compliment scouting. The best professional sports teams have been able to find a balance between analytics and traditional scouting. It is foreseeable that Hollywood studios and streamers would eventually embrace analytics as it could improve the bottom line, box office, and streaming performance.

The use of analytics can be used for decision-making in terms of what content to create, obtain (license), and on what network(s) or platform(s) to distribute. Specifically, what of the four quadrants of movie goers or series watchers will be inclined to like and watch certain content. Analytics can also be used to determine actual numbers of viewers on streaming platforms. Those actual numbers of subscribers, viewers, and minutes watched can be used to make future business decisions. The data will also help advertisers determine more scientifically whether their advertisements are reaching the expedited and needed audience.

With the aforementioned increase in knowledge, however, therein lies a problem. Creatives will argue that creative decisions should not be based on numbers, but look, feel, and cultural importance. Some studio executives might argue the same even if there is an eye on the finances and profitability. Streamers and networks might be less inclined to share actual viewership numbers because it could lower the price as well as raise it-particularly with advertisers. Indeed, an influx of data could equally prevent or push content to be made.

The question or morals, business ethics, and the like is important because as much as data, analytics and artificial intelligence can help make decisions, they should not be the decision-maker. The human element and purpose to lead and to be creative is essential to growth and living life. Take that away, and the efficiency of it all pushes towards life without the best gift humans have been given, to be human, to take risks, fail, and have success.

So will streamers embrace analytics? It would be wise to explore and implement analytics with best practice guardrails.     


About Jeremy M. Evans:  

Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clientele in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.

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Jeremy M. Evans is the CEO, Founder & Managing Attorney of California Sports Lawyer® representing entertainment, media, and sports clients and is licensed to practice law in California.