How data will increasingly drive the entertainment biz

Producers will need to arm themselves with audience data as the industry shifts to a consumer-based model, according to Fandango president Paul Yanover in a recent Q&A session at the CIX Digital Summit.

paul-yanover-fandango-01The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift in the global film and TV industry from content-focused to audience data-driven, according to Fandango president Paul Yanover.

“We’re seeing the rise of fragmented audiences,” the L.A.-based Canadian said in a Q&A session held in partnership with BANFF Spark at the CIX Digital summit, which runs from Oct. 19 to 21,  noting that “fewer pieces of content qualify as event-based experiences that hit the zeitgeist.”

Yanover discussed the increased rise in subscription and direct-to-consumer models in the tumultuous year of 2020 during a 30-minute session titled The View From Here: Navigating the Media Landscape Post-2020, hosted by Nathalie Lethbridge, founder and managing director of Atonik Digital. Yanover leads Fandango, a U.S.-based ticket sales company that owns properties such as film rating aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Among Yanover’s key messages is the notion that IP may no longer be king as content-based strategies give way to what he describes as “relationship-based” – using consumer data to increase the “lifetime value of an audience member.”

“The traditional entertainment business is melding with what has historically been considered the tech business,” said Yanover. “The different scale of consumption in audiences is continuity program-based skills, which is different from the production and release of an individual piece of content.”

The onus, then, for producers and content creators is to arm themselves with audience data when selling a project to a broadcaster or a distributor.

“As the producer of the content, to what degree do you know the target audience? Can you acquire the data, perfect it? Can you walk in with a great piece of content and with the data know-how alongside it? That sweetens the pot,” said Yanover, adding that broadcasters, streamers or distributors will look at the data as a toolkit for how to better market your content and “exploit the value” of the data. “You’d be surprised by the value you can create by fielding your own research.”

While the subscription model has rapidly gained popularity during the pandemic, Yanover notes that the traditional theatrical model will never completely vanish, as a portion of consumers will always want the theatre experience. It does, however, put into question aspects of the model, such as the length of the theatrical window.

He also said there may be the rise of transactional models for sporting events, with the potential of the Olympics becoming available to view for rent, as an example.

It accumulates into the need to create “super value” for a customer, which will lead to non-traditional partnerships, citing Verizon’s deal with Disney to offer consumers a free one-year subscription to Disney+. “Everyone is going to shift to maximizing a customer relationship,” he said.