MarkLogic, Sony Share Data Gains

As long as there’s been entertainment, one thing has always been true, according to Matt Turner, CTO of media and manufacturing for MarkLogic: “The focus is on the content, making the great movie, making the great series, creating that great experience. That’s what the main driver is.”

But, speaking July 18 during the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and MarkLogic webinar “Smart Content Connecting the Data Behind the Hits with Sony Pictures,” there have been drastic changes over the years when it comes to the data surrounding that content. Data is generated in every part of the process “and that’s what you need to be able to harness to make good on the promise of smart content.”

Since the concept of smart content was launched a few years ago, MarkLogic has helped BBC put together data-driven Olympics coverage, worked with NBC and its “Saturday Night Live” app, and launched a production metadata experiment with Disney and the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California.

Traditional data approaches just don’t cut it in today’s downstream digital age … the siloed data approach doesn’t make the most of your data, Turner added. Non-sequential data modeling is what does the trick, making all the data available across all the needs of a production, he said.

Rob Maxwell, VP of information technology for worldwide TV and Sony Pictures Entertainment, said that Sony looked to MarkLogic to better manage data to streamline the distribution process, and incorporate a new approach to managing release packaging, billing data and tackling other key data projects. Using MarkLogic’s Enterprise NoSQL and its Operational Data Hub pattern solutions, Sony is an example of how enterprise data projects can integrate data from mainframes and legacy systems to fulfill the promise of “smart” content.

“Right now, we really are in a golden era with the demand for content and the ways we can monetize it,” Maxwell said.

Deal terms can differ greatly from one customer to the next, and licensing specifics can be extremely diverse depending on the outlets and regions. “We’re selling from a large pie, but the way you slice up that pie is changing,” Maxwell said. “We’re dicing up smaller and smaller pieces to maximize the revenue. And it’s a data and analytics challenge to find out the best way to forecast and execute on those sales.”

Every project Maxwell has been a part of has been “the long pole in the tent,” and having six, seven disparate systems involved means pinpointing errors and correcting them is difficult. By looking to MarkLogic, and employing an operational data hub approach, Sony’s been able to make its content much more searchable, “and have some introspection in that data,” Maxwell said.

Sony looked to MarkLogic to better make sense all of the data, allowing for “a more transactional feel to what we were doing … that hadn’t been introduced in media and entertainment,” he added.