Ashee Sharma
Digital

"Big data is a self-fulfilling prophecy" - Sanjay Trehan, Hindustan Times Digital

At the Big Data for South Asia Media Summit, hosted by the International News Media Association (INMA), market leaders discussed the challenges, opportunities and pitfalls of the game.

The International News Media Association (INMA) hosted the Big Data for South Asia Summit on May 26, at the JW Marriott, New Delhi, Aerocity. The one-day crash course was themed around 'Big Data Big Gains: Increasing Readership and Revenues', specifically for South Asian media companies to decipher how to leverage smarter data for digital audiences and profit.

"Big data is a self-fulfilling prophecy" - Sanjay Trehan, Hindustan Times Digital
"Big data is a self-fulfilling prophecy" - Sanjay Trehan, Hindustan Times Digital
"Big data is a self-fulfilling prophecy" - Sanjay Trehan, Hindustan Times Digital
"Big data is a self-fulfilling prophecy" - Sanjay Trehan, Hindustan Times Digital
The panel discussion on 'Challenges and Pitfalls in the Game' was moderated by Gyan Gupta, CEO, DB digital. The speakers included Sanjay Trehan, business head, Hindustan Times Digital, Sukriti Gupta, CEO, Jagran New Media, Amit Sharma, solutions architect, Amazon Web Services and Deepak Garg, director, cloud solutions, Media Agility. While Trehan and Gupta spoke for the publishers, the other two represented the technology side of the game.

According to Trehan, the biggest challenge facing the industry was the management and mining of disparate data. He also stressed on the need to harness social discovery platforms for contextual information. Describing big data as a self-fulfilling prophecy, Trehan said, "It is the means to an end which is to create value and meaningful business insights for media businesses." He feels that the concept goes beyond computational algorithms, to eventually serve as a human interface between publishers, advertisers and the consumer.

Sukriti Gupta of Jagran New Media thinks of big data as an overwhelming pile of information which needs to be filtered and harnessed according to business needs. It has to be analysed and interpreted in real time, if the customers are to be served better. Agreeing with Trehan's views she said, "It starts with business and is aided by technology."

A similar view was presented by the tech side. Amit Sharma's advice to publishers is that they should create their own business strategy in terms of what they need from big data, instead of copying someone else's. "Media businesses should experiment and build their own tech stack. They should allow failures to happen," he said, adding that that they should be quick to learn and adapt to changes.

Sharing his views on the topic, Deepak Garg of Media Agility, opined, "Publishers should know their business objective and be realistic about return on investments." He further added that they should also avoid superimposing their thoughts on the data and look at it organically.

The big trends that media and information professionals expect will emerge out of big data before the end of 2015 include, investment in technology, 'contextual' data (a combination of big data and meta data), more dynamic sites, and social and real-time data mining, to create meaningful conversations with customers.