Media research: Magic and maths

Mark Holden and Justin Gibbons
Arena Media

Big Data provides a huge volume of information but to glean genuine value from it, behaviourists and analysts need to work together.

Under normal conditions, innovation tends to travel along one path. Because of this single direction of travel, we get trends. But what happens when innovation is travelling along two paths? That's the question at the heart of media businesses right now.

On the one hand, we are witnessing the rise of the machines: Big Data, automated buying platforms, insight by algorithm. On the other hand, we are seeing a rise in our understanding of behavioural insight, content and the power of ideas. Inevitably, some media research and practice will emphasise one path over the other, and we will see growth in both data-driven businesses and boutique thought-leadership businesses.