The show you are watching was probably brought to you with the help of machine recommendations. Media companies are turning away from making programming decisions based on what they think consumers will like, and letting data and software systems help determine what goes up, at what time, and to what devices.
Wicket Labs, a Seattle-based startup, is hoping to give these companies a better way to understand their consumers by organizing the data the companies collect on everything from advertising to demographics.
The company, which has raised $2 million so far, is still developing this organizational tool -- its audience input platform -- which it hopes to launch in the fall.
"I think this is going to level the playing field for companies to develop more intimate relationships with customers," Wicket Labs CEO Marty Roberts said.
Roberts said newer media companies like Netflix and Amazon's streaming service are designed from end to end to collect and optimize user information such as types of shows watched by specific demographics. Older firms, like cable companies or broadcast networks, are more focused on the greater consumer experience, not technology, putting them at a disadvantage to capitalize on data that can help them learn about users.
Because of outsourcing, the average big media company might receive consumer data from as many as 10 to 14 different companies, each looking at different information such as audience or payments. That can mean that data gets stuck in different platforms. Wicket Labs' technology would put the data in one place.
Roberts, former CEO of thePlatform -- a Seattle video-management company acquired by Comcast -- founded Wicket Labs in 2016, with his predecessor at thePlatform, Ian Blaine, and former Rhapsody executive Eric Knutson.
The idea for the startup came about from customer interactions at thePlatform. Customers would ask for information and analysis behind their online video metrics but there was no system within thePlatform to help.
Roberts said Wicket Labs hopes to provide media companies with better insight into how the analytics they collect connect to their video business and how it can help them make programming decisions. It will also help companies better understand how their data compare to trends across the industry.
Wicket Labs' tool will act like a team of data scientists, Roberts said, something many media companies don't have the ability to put together themselves.
Roberts expects Wicket Labs will work mainly with video-media companies, cable companies and magazines looking to do more with video.
Wicket Labs currently has seven employees and hopes to add three more web and software developers by the end of the year.
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