Big data technologies will have far-reaching impacts for cable and telco providers, according to Wall Street financial analyst firm Jefferies, which has released a wide-ranging report on the topic. It states that telecom providers are well positioned to take advantage of emerging trends in big data and data mining in order to extract incremental revenue from the volumes of consumer data and insights collected on their networks.
“Analysis across set-top-box viewing, mobile traffic, web browsing, app usage, etc. creates a treasure trove of new understandings for predictive forecasting,” said Jefferies analyst Scott Goldman, one of the authors of the report.
Telecom providers can leverage their data assets in order to see key gains in areas such as subscriber acquisition and retention, and target advertising and content monetization, Goldman said. Online activity, geographic data, income and viewership data can be used to give telecom providers insights into product development, pricing; while data around viewership and other online behaviors can help improve returns on advertising and content monetization.
While the report mentions Verizon as the largest network operator in the U.S., AT&T has been more of an early player in big data. The company opened its “Big Data Center of Excellence” in 2013, focused on organizing the 167 petabytes of daily data that flow across AT&T’s network in order to give the provider a centralized view of the data and more easily glean insights from it.
Verizon, on the other hand, has launched a number of data-focused division across its businesses, including its Data Science and Cognitive Intelligence group, which applies data analytics and AI to customer service interactions; the Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Systems group, which uses data analytics to inform product development; and the Verizon Enterprise Data Analytics group, which is focused on facilitating cross-organization projects that leverage data and analytics.
Much of the talk around big data has revolved around IoT and industrial IoT applications, but telecom providers are now exploring ways to leverage data in media and distribution to drive revenue. AT&T CFO John Stephens has argued the company’s digital media business will see increased revenue by leveraging its data assets; and the marriage of distributor data and content was cited as one of the reasons behind the company’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner.
“Marrying distributor’s vast data sets with the networks’ ad inventory should create more nuanced targeted advertising,” Goldman said in the report. “We expect AT&T will reap similar rewards if/when the Time Warner deal closes.”