Considering how quickly our experience with media has shifted in the last decade—from sitting in front of one television set to being constantly connected to entertainment through our mobile devices—it’s clear it takes an agile, inventive leader to stay one step ahead of the changes. One such disruptor is Jesse Redniss, who has pioneered the use of data analytics for the entertainment industry. Jesse became the executive vice president of data strategy and product innovation at Turner and head of WarnerMedia's Innovation Lab. He is on the cutting edge of the data-driven decision making that will shape the future of the industry. I sat down with Jesse on “The Q Factor” podcast to discuss these trends and more.

Like me, Jesse founded a strategy and investment firm—in his case, BRAVE Ventures, which used consumer data insights to help firms like Turner, CBS, and Viacom navigate the disruptions ahead—that he later sold to a much larger company. It’s a recurring story I see across industries—big companies opting to buy innovation rather than build it in-house—and one I lived myself, when I sold my investment firm, Gerstein Fisher, to a large public company.

We’ve both benefited from the resources, talent, and economies of scale that come with being part of a larger company.

No matter the size of the company, the trends in the entertainment industry that people like Jesse are navigating are critical to understand, as investors and consumers. As investors, it can help us assess which companies are best positioned for the years ahead. And as viewers, we can learn how our data is being used to shape our experiences with entertainment. Innovators like Jesse are harnessing the power of new technologies like neural networks, deep learning, and augmented reality to change what we see and how we see it—and it’s informed by data that we share with them. When navigated properly, the possibilities for creating new customer value are endless.

These insights are timely. If your household was anything like mine, you spent more time than ever on Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services over the last fifteen months. In that time, we collectively exchanged trillions of pieces of data with the entertainment industry, which is being used to customize our experience, down to which movie posters are featured on our home screens when we fire up a streaming service.

This data is also helping industry leaders develop participatory, personalized experiences for viewers.  With this explosion in new technology, talent and creators have new ways to tell their stories and engage their fans—and their parent companies can learn about what the fans really want, then dynamically deliver, through the data they share. There is an entire spectrum of opportunity to meet the customer’s needs and wants. Jesse says we’re not far away from seeing a Tweet screen alongside our favorite shows, or developing new ways to feed the NBA fan, like enjoying a holographic replay of the game-winning shot on their kitchen table.  

Still, we’re not yet at a point where data is driving how creators develop their creations—and actually, Jesse doesn’t think we should ever get there. As he sees it, creators still get to be creative, and can use data to inform their work if they so choose. 

Jesse’s hopes for big data aren’t limited to his own industry. He also shared his hopes for how data insights can amplify philanthropic causes, build movements, and maximize the impact for people in need.

Listen to our full conversation: Jesse Redniss: Warner Media's Data Innovator 

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