Home Data Cloudera, Contexti, AWS deliver advanced big data solution to Seven West Media
Cloudera, Contexti, AWS deliver advanced big data solution to Seven West Media Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Global data management and analytics provider Cloudera, in partnership with Australian analytics company Contexti and Amazon Web Services, has deployed an advanced big data solution for West Australian-based national media group, Seven West Media.

The solution, run as a pilot program for SWM’s coverage of the 2016 Australian Open Tennis event before being expanded to support the coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Australia, now forms the core of SWM’s data capability as the company continues to provide audience engagement and advertising solutions.

Contexti was engaged to assist in the design, build, and management of a modern data platform to support SWM’s evolving digital strategy aimed at delivering much deeper insights into viewer behaviour.

Sidney Minassian, founder and chief executive of Contexti, said, “Seven West Media has recognised the shift in how broadcast television is consumed by their audiences. Underpinned by Cloudera’s sophisticated data analytics platform, Cloudera Enterprise and an array of advanced digital strategies, Seven West Media is leading the innovation in content and audience experiences.

“Together we were able to uplift the organisation’s data and analytics capabilities, delivering new insights to personalise the viewer experience and deliver higher ROI for their customers.”

Adopting a cloud-first approach, SWM’s data solution runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with a Cloudera enterprise data hub at its core providing a fast, secure, and easily scalable platform that can adapt to demand.

“There were two key data challenges that we needed to solve. Firstly, the variety and complexity of the data sources meant that we needed a mature and enterprise-grade open-source data management solution at the core of our data ecosystem,” says Sharmaine Salis, head of Data Architecture at Seven West Media.

“The second challenge for us was the highly variable nature of the events that generated the data, with huge events like the Rio Olympics needing to be supported over and above business-as-usual demand. This drove our decision for a cloud-based solution.”

Preparing for the Rio Olympics, the Contexti team ran comprehensive performance tests to form a clear benchmark and, with a high level of uncertainty around data volumes that would actually be generated, SWM took advantage of their cloud-based solution and the new elastic-pricing model from Cloudera.

“Although we were pretty confident in the performance of the system after Contexti’s tests, we decided to err on the side of caution. So, with only one week to go before the Opening Ceremony, we provisioned additional nodes. And a week after the Games, we turned them off again. That is exactly the type of flexibility we needed!” Salis says.

SWM says the solution easily transformed the enormous data volumes into the usable data sets to drive a comprehensive suite of dashboards, with the data delivered to key stakeholders each day to give executives access to critical audience metrics throughout the event.

The same data was also used to underpin an audience engagement programme.

Over a million people registered on the Olympics app or website during the event, with each user’s level of engagement with the content tracked across over 200 daily variables which were used to trigger highly targeted and personalised emails aimed at increasing user engagement.

“This project demonstrates the power of a data-driven analytics programme,” said Shyam Srinivasan, regional director for Australia and New Zealand at Cloudera.

“This has been an absolutely stellar result for Seven West Media, who have been able to use their massive supply of data to great effect, bringing tangible business benefits to the company. Working together with Contexti, it’s compelling to see where this partnership can go, as big data analytics comes to have more and more of an impact on Seven West Media’s operations.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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