Since news first emerged about Netflix’s use of big data, the streaming service provider had become the poster child for analytics in the cable industry. Using predictive analytics, Netflix was able to forecast the success of “House of Cards,” investing millions to support its findings.

This instance showcased the kind of power data-driven decisions could provide in an increasingly changing industry – but it wasn’t the only success story propelled by analytics. Cable providers are now utilizing big data to do more than predict the performance of certain shows.

Let’s take a look at how data analytics have impacted cable providers and their customers, and what this sector can expect in the future.

Looking further: Where big data can help cable providers succeed

According to a groundbreaking report from Heavy Reading, there are a few key areas in which big data analytics can be applied for success in the cable industry. In addition to these performance metrics – which we’ll explore in depth just a bit later – researchers also uncovered some important insights about how big data is being leveraged in the industry:

  • Overall, 87 percent of service providers already have a big data strategy in place, or are in the process of establishing one.
  • Technologies like the cloud and virtualization are having a considerable impact on the network supporting cable services.
  • According to Telco Transformation editor Mike Robuck, cable providers have the tools to gather and utilize their informational assets, but must work to do a better job of leveraging these to their advantage.

“87% of service providers already have a big data strategy in place, or are in the process of establishing one.”

This last insight, in particular, demonstrates the nature of the cable industry and just how important big data analytics will become in the near future. As with other sectors utilizing data analysis, those that don’t operate according to data-driven decisions risk falling behind their competitors that do.

“The cable operator industry has been awash in a sea of data for some time, but for the most part it hasn’t been able to successfully harness and use the data that is coming in from set-top boxes, headends and other sources,” Robuck wrote. “Using big data analytics will be a top priority for telecommunications providers in the coming years.”

Where will cable data come from?

As Robuck pointed out, there are several sources rife with data that cable operators can utilize to their advantage. An infographic put together by Telco Transformation notes that service providers can look to these sources to support their big data initiatives:

  • Customer premise equipment (CPE) including internet modems, Wi-Fi routers, phone devices and other third-party equipment.
  • Field operations data, such as fleet management, geographic information systems, GPS mapping and handheld customer service monitors.
  • Administrative data sources like assets belonging to IT,  business management, financial accounting, planning and forecasting departments.
  • Network operations can also offer helpful information from sources like the provider’s data center, nodes, edge routers, monitoring systems, workflow solutions, and energy and facilities management strategies.
  • Content management including channel mapping, audience measurement, content metadata, advertising insertion, program guides, user interfaces, mobile applications, social media and IoT-connected smart systems.
  • Customer management details such as information from billing systems, resource provisioning solutions, authentication systems, call center platforms, as well as help desk and troubleshooting reports.

These sources provide rich data for cable providers to mine, and can offer insights into a variety of important processes, from customer relationships to financial and resource allocation and beyond. In this way, data analytics can be a critical part of all operations, from customer-facing interactions to internal strategies as well.

Leveraging informational sources

man watching television and checking his smart phone

Cable providers are now utilizing big data to do more than predict the performance of certain shows.

Heavy Reading’s report outlines a handful of key performance metrics for cable providers that utilize big data. These not only offer a benchmark for how information is used, but provides a starting point for a number of impactful, data-driven initiative focuses.

According to a Telco Transformation infographic, important KPIs include:

  • Network performance: By monitoring and measuring network traffic, functions and other interactions, providers have the power to ensure consistent quality of service. Any issues can be pinpointed, analyzed and proactively addressed to avoid service issues stemming from the network.
  • Service performance: Analyzing information and patterns related to video, voice and data services can help illuminate any areas in need of improvement, which also helps to support high-quality, consistent service and a beneficial customer experience.
  • Customer care: As noted, customer management systems can offer a significant amount of data that cable providers should treat with a high priority. Examining billing, support services and other processes that fall into the customer care umbrella can help maintain advantageous relationships with customers. In many cases, patterns emerging from the analysis of these details can also offer cable providers the opportunity to reach out to customers who are at the highest risk for service cancellation.
  • Virtualization: As more capabilities and assets are moved to the cloud, cable operators can leverage data related to these processes to automate the management of cloud-based platforms. Telco Transformations also pointed out that virtualization data can be helpful in resource usage and optimization, particularly when activities are managed by an automated system.
  • Predictive modeling: In many instances, predictive analytics provide one of the most powerful KPIs and opportunities for advancement. Here, forward-looking models help cable operators proactively address important growing issues like network, service and customer demands.

The bottom line here is this: Gathering data from the right sources and utilizing this information in line with specific performance indicators can help cable operators move past the legacy processes that have held them back as an industry. With a robust data analytics strategy on their side, service providers can seek to improve their own performance, better support customer relationships and boost new sources of recurring revenue. These efforts will ensure that cablecos have the tools to respond to changing customer demands and utilize their data resources in a way that best supports their success.

For more information about how data analytics is being put to use by real-world cable providers, contact the Aunalytics experts today. Our case study assets can help shine a light on opportunities for you and your organization.