Boxoffice on Big Data: Showtime Analytics

Interview with Richie Power, CEO, Showtime Analytics

It’s been a year since we last checked in—what’s new at Showtime Analytics?

It’s been a crazy 12 months since launching at CinemaCon last year; the response from the industry has been amazing. In addition to building some more products for launch at CinemaCon this year, we’ve worked on some really interesting and innovative projects and spent our time traveling around the globe, spreading the good word of analytics in the cinema space.

Tell us more about your guided analytics platform

Our guided analytics platform is essentially a place for all players from within the cinema industry to store, model, and visualize their data. Having worked in many other industries, we would say one of the main barriers for an organization to successfully implement analytics is cost, more specifically infrastructure, and resource costs.

Our data platform is designed to take away all of these infrastructure and resource barriers by offering a platform as a service (PaaS) solution, whereby we collect, store, host, and manage data solutions for our clients. Customers use our pre-built data connectors, which automatically collect and merge data from key systems such as point-of-sale, ticketing, loyalty, staffing, theater management systems, mobile apps, and an ever-growing number of external data sources such as weather, social media, critic reviews, and so on.

Once the data is securely managed on our platform, clients can choose to use one of our existing products or work with our analytics team to build and host their own solutions on our secure and scalable data platform. Our clients are across the entire cinema value chain: exhibitors, studios, service suppliers, major brands, and point-of-sale/software suppliers. Based on this feedback, we have rebranded our guided analytics platform as “Powered by Showtime, your data—our platform.”

What are the different ways/areas that exhibitors can benefit from using Showtime Analytics?

We believe passionately that to really gain the benefits from your data, analytics needs to be adopted throughout your organization—it needs to become cultural. In our experience of other industries, there are too many examples of large companies setting up central analytics departments of a small number of the chosen few and expecting this to drive results. Analytics can’t be a department—it’s a way of life!

Our mission at Showtime is to put analytics into the hands of everyone within the organization, from the management teams, back office departments, and the staff at a specific site location—because ultimately analytics can help everyone be more effective in their day-to-day job. A lot of traditional analytics providers charge on a per-user basis, making it expensive to give analytics capability to an entire company. Our approach is different—we don’t follow this model, because we want to encourage everyone in the organization to embrace analytics. In our experience, and that of our customers, adopting this organization-wide analytics approach will lead to significant cost reduction, increased user engagement, and ultimately an enhanced decision-making process throughout the entire company.

Can you share some feedback from some of your clients?

From our insights product, the main feedback we get on a daily basis is the accessibility of information, and not just in a traditional I-can-see-my-data-anywhere-on-any-device basis. Customers love the fact that their data is brought to life in a highly visual, user-friendly, intuitive style, which immediately identifies the insights required and speeds up the decision-making process.

Our big launch at CinemaCon 2016 is our new Showtime Engage product, focused on providing leading-edge customer analytics capabilities to the industry. Our Engage customers are very excited about the fact that they can communicate with customers on a tailored, individual, personal basis, and that the decision engine is constantly learning and adapting to different customer behaviors, moving away from a traditional blast-all-customers-with-the-same-marketing-strategy approach.

In recent months we have key clients who are using our data science forecasting capabilities, seeing increased revenue generation through proactive data-driven interventions. Like many tech providers, our goal is to make our clients’ lives easier and make our products a core part of their working lives—examples like this really let us know that we are starting to achieve these goals.

It took awhile for other industries to adopt data metrics to impact their businesses. Where do you think cinema is in terms of adopting lessons from big data?

We often talk about a concept called the “analytics maturity curve,” whereby we describe an analytics journey as a marathon not a sprint, moving from operational reports to visual analytics, predictive analytics, and ultimately to industry-wide collaborative analytics.

When we launched last year, cinema as an industry was only getting to grips with the concept of data, with many people wanting to jump into the big data world at the sexy predictive end of the cycle, ignoring the building blocks required on which to build a successful solution.

When looking to jump into the analytics world, our advice would be to start small. Look for a small specific business challenge that you would like to solve, identify the metrics that can be used to measure improvement, and start to analyze the data that you have relating to the area of interest. You’ll be amazed how putting focus on specific data can highlight trends and patterns and ultimately inform you of the changes you need to make or adjust to see improvement. Then once you are a believer, come talk to Showtime, and we’ll help you change the world through data!