Studios should rely more on data to create games, movies and TV shows, exec says

Creators in the entertainment, gaming and media industries must figure out what kind of content their audiences want or risk losing them, an industry veteran warned.

Because of the internet, people are getting used to the idea that they can choose the kind of content they want to consume, so they’re less interested in settling, according to Steve Gray, CEO of Asteri Networks.

“It used to be, when there was one movie studio or three TV stations or something, you kind of had to take whatever you get,” he told CNBC at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference. “People now, because of the internet, and all this access to content, I think they’re starting to reject that model.”

 

Indeed, companies like Amazon and Netflix have made inroads in the media and entertainment industry, while Tencent is shaking things up in the gaming space. That has led to traditional incumbents rethinking their business strategies.

Gray previously worked in special effects as well as the video and online games industry. Most recently, he was in charge of production at Chinese tech giant Tencent’s interactive entertainment group.

“The content creators are going to have to be a lot more careful about working with their audience to actually figure out what people want,” he said, adding that, otherwise, people would turn to alternative platforms like YouTube.

Making sense of consumer data could be key

Understanding and analyzing large volumes of data could help companies make sense of what the audience wants, according to Gray. He recalled his time at Tencent and said that the tech giant had a broad reach into its audience through the QQ and WeChat apps, which gave the firm the ability to do unlimited research and testing.

“It allowed us to change the paradigm, away from ‘make it, market it and hope for the best,’ to work with the users to create things that they really want,” he said.

He explained that data analytics may not pinpoint one specific thing that everybody wants, but they could provide an overview of what a large group of people may potentially be interested in. That, he added, could help companies make better decisions during content development.

“The fact is the data and the techniques and the ability to collect it and to process it and make decisions based on it actually exists now,” he said. “But the traditional entertainment creation companies, both on the linear and interactive side, have sort of stayed on the sidelines.”

Asteri Networks has a data platform for gaming and media companies to analyze what audiences want.