Seven West Media taps Cloudera and Contexti for big data solution for Rio Olympics

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Seven West Media taps Cloudera and Contexti for big data solution for Rio Olympics
Stephen Bird (AUS) and Liam Heath (UK) on men's kayak single 200m

Seven West Media – parent of Channel 7, Pacific Magazines and The West Australian – has enlisted Sydney-based Contexti to deploy a big data solution based on technology from Cloudera.

The solution ran first as a pilot during the 2016 Australian Open and was later expanded to support the Rio 2016 Olympic Games coverage in Australia. The solution, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services, now forms Seven West Media's core data capability.

The data platform helped SWM get deeper data insights into viewers' behaviour by transforming data volumes into usable data sets that were delivered to key stakeholders each day, revealing critical audience metrics throughout the events.

The data was also used to underpin an audience engagement program. According to SWM, more than one million people registered on the Olympics app or website during the event. 

David Miller, director of data and business intelligence at SWM, said: "Over the two weeks, we delivered 2.7 million emails across 108 targeted campaigns triggered by audience behaviours. The results of the program were compelling. We measured a 29 percent increase in the average minutes streamed by users who engaged in the program when compared against a control group.

"Our data solution has transformed how we can understand our audience as well as how we can proactively engage them."

Contexti was in charge of the design, build and management of the data platform, which has data management provider Cloudera's enterprise data hub at its core, providing a scalable platform.

Sharmaine Salis, head of data architecture at Seven West Media, said two key data challenges needed to be solved. "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," she said.

"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."

Contexti ran performance tests leading up to the Olympics but there was still uncertainty over the volume of data that might be generated during the event.

A week before the opening ceremony, SWM provisioned additional nodes. "And a week after the games, we turned them off again. That is exactly the type of flexibility we needed," said Salis.

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