Big data at the heart of modern media success

Powered by tools such as Hadoop, the media companies of the future will analyze data to deliver relevant content to audiences, according to Patrick Vogt, president of the international division for The Weather Company. In an interview with The Guardian, Vogt explained that his company's properties – which include The Weather Channel and – lean on big data analysis to power both internal and customer-facing insights.

Weather information is one of the most plentiful sources of data available, and TWC processes many terabytes daily to generate thousands of local forecasts, deliver targeted alerts to consumers and companies and even to choose which stories are profiled on its website, Vogt explained. While using resources such as Hadoop and big data is relevant to helping deliver weather predictions specifically, analytics technology is also at the center of any media company's efforts to engage with audiences.

"It's not about media … it's about the data, analyzing the data and delivering relevant, engaging content to consumers," Vogt said. "The business models that focus on the consumer, content (in our case data and science), and how your company can deliver that valuable content to the consumer are the ones that will continue to innovate in the media space and beyond."

In a separate Guardian column, Jon Baron, CEO of marketing optimization firm TagMan, explained that reaching audiences requires marketers to take advantage of the trail of data people leave as the browse the internet. It is time for marketers to move beyond contemplating this data and actually make use of the tools that enable them to use it to adjust their approaches. The arrival of technology such as Hadoop clusters makes it easy to break down data pulled from many channels and turn it into something productive.

"In short, big data is the raw material that makes this invaluable foresight a possibility," Baron wrote. "Big marketing, and the tools that enable it, is the pickaxe that makes it a reality."

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