Disney says it doesn’t need data to make great shows
The argument of data versus creativity has become a perennial one for those in the media and marketing world. But late last year Disney’s Kevin Mayer hit back at the idea that data should lead programming decisions.
- Netflix has long vaunted its use of data and made bold claims about its use to inform content decisions
- But Mayer believes it’s a “fallacy” that data can and should be used to make minute-by-minute creative choices.
- Even Netflix has moved away from an over reliance on data with its executives in recent years admitting that increasingly 80 per cent is judgement over data.
While the Netflix versus Disney data versus creativity stoush is fun there are real lessons here for everyone in media and marketing.
In today’s technology-led world we often want to cling to the security that comes from the insights our data gives us. At Nine there have absolutely been shows where data and audience insight has informed the commissioning of the show or programming/marketing decisions within the program. A show like Love Island Australia, where the data from 9Now led us to commission it, is a good local example.
That said, we can also easily rely too heavily on data or over interpret it - and often this is at the expense of real underlying insight and the true creativity that inspires it. As marketers and content makers, data can make us risk averse and thus we gravitate to the safety of ‘that’s what the data tells us’.
As Mayer says, there is also an argument for being led by creativity: “We might not always follow the data… We might have great, creative ideas that don’t fit right into where the data would point you to make a program. So we’re going to use both our judgment or the ideas we have in place, the capacities that we have in place, and the data that tells us what to make. Certainly, we will be paying attention to that.”
There is absolutely a role for data at the heart of what we do as marketers in 2020 but we also shouldn’t lose the power of a big idea, of true creativity.
We need to recognise when to let the data inform decision making and when to step back, look at the wider strategic objectives and be bold enough to trust our judgment.