Data Optimization in the Cloud
This blog is one of a series of Media & Entertainment Cloud Ecosystem interviews.
Executive Interview with Jerónimo Macanás Candilejo, CEO & Co-Founder of Jump
While in-person events have been curtailed by COVID-19, innovation continues to advance in both tech and media and entertainment. I’ve been sitting down (virtually) with leaders of some of the leading AWS Partner Network (APN) Technology Partners involved in the M&E ecosystem—and their insights can offer a lens into the future of the industry.
Jerónimo Macanás Candilejo is a digital entrepreneur with almost 20 years of experience leading media and entertainment innovation in the US, Europe, and Latin America. He leverages his expertise in AI, big data optimization and more to help tier-one TV networks, pay-TV operators, and OTT broadcasters drive growth and innovation. In his current role as CEO and co-founder at Jump, he leads strategy and operations to help customers optimize data into high-value business intelligence.
In this interview, Jerónimo and I chat about capturing data and using it to make meaningful business decisions, the cloud, and what he sees for the future of the industry.
A: We at Jump—in very simple words—turn data from media and entertainment digital services into the knowledge they need to optimize their businesses. This is our mission, our goal, and our obsession: how to get all the data that video service providers and media and entertainment companies are generating on a daily basis—and use the data optimization in the best way to make a business impact.
Q: How did you guys get involved in AWS and the cloud?
A: Well, our platform is a B2B SaaS cloud data platform. So from the very beginning, we were looking at the best way to offer our customers a solution in the cloud—that was scalable from day zero and very cost effective. And nowadays the only way you can do this is with cloud technologies.
So, as you can imagine, we have spent a lot of time—for some years now—really evaluating what is the best solution for us. We are cloud-agnostic technology; our preferred partner at this moment is AWS for enabling the Jump experience to our customers.
Q: What’s the year or the timeline that you got started?
A: The company is almost four years old.
Q: Congratulations! Within the broader AWS M&E ecosystem, where would you say that your best fit is?
A: That’s a very good question. We are almost in the middle of everything—because data, as you probably know, is a very transversal common set if you want to really optimize. Every single step in the media and entertainment value chain uses data for something, or at least generates a lot of data.
We are a horizontal tech stack. We capture data from subscription monitoring systems, playback activity, front-end experiences, CRMs, content catalogues, and the information from the business rules in your online video platform. And this is the magic: we relate all this data, harmonize all this data. Relating all these data sources is the only way that you can get the insights you need, and turn those insights into actions that really make a business impact.
So we touch all the different levels of the value chains. In every single place—or in any step of this value chain where data is being generated—Jump has a touchpoint for enabling ingestion of this data, and then enabling the rest of the experience.
Q: As it relates to the AWS partnership, you mentioned that you’re cloud agnostic, but AWS is your primary partner. Why AWS? What have they been able to provide that’s put them at the top?
A: There is one specific area that AWS is really good at, and it’s how to use cloud technologies in a frictionless way. When you are building up and innovating around cloud products and cloud services—and you are working with a partner like AWS—you are looking for technologies that your team can use very easily. You can think of your innovations, put your products out there, try something, test. AWS is very good at that. They partner very well with you in enabling these pilot environments and this technology. So for me, the way AWS is helping customers like us to innovate is one of the key elements.
Of course, we probably don’t have time to cover every single thing that AWS is bringing to companies like us in terms of building up services, or everything that cloud brings to the table—scalability, cost-efficiency, and many other things. But we need to really focus on something that is not, let’s say, the standard. And innovation enablement is one of the things that I really like.
Q: Sounds like you interact with a lot of the other ecosystem players. Are there any cloud technologies, other than yours, that you’ve heard about, read about, or worked with that you find especially interesting?
A: Of course, of course. We do a lot in the cloud data optimization space on optimizing decision engagement, personalization, and retention. And for that, our technology is a mix of advanced BI and a deep AI framework. On top of these frameworks, we build up machine learning models for facing specific challenges of the industry: how to predict churn, how to increase conversion, how to personalize the user experience.
But this is not everything about cloud data, right? So, for example, we are very excited about the possibilities with technologies—there’s some very good technologies already out there—for how to improve, for example, the metadata of a catalog.
That is not just about improving or enriching the experience of the front end by allowing users to get more information related to the content they want to see. It’s also an infinitive source for improving the descriptors of the content items. And that, in the end, has a lot of implications: for example, in improving churn, retention models, machine learning models, personalization, or performance.
Everything around, let’s say, in-content analysis—and everything around improving the descriptors of the content catalogue in media and entertainment—is something that has a lot of potential and that we are really looking forward to seeing evolve in the coming years.
Q: Great. And there’s no question that everybody is being impacted by the coronavirus. What would you say, over the next 12 months, will be the impact on the media and entertainment industry?
A: That’s a good question. I mean there is no doubt that consumption increased. It’s been one of the consequences of coronavirus.
But the reality is, if you are a broadcaster and you support your business with advertisement, or if you are a subscription-based media service, or if you are a pay TV operator—depending on what your core business model is based on, you have more or less impact. Or let’s say, positive or negative impact.
If your business is related to advertisement, we have seen drop-offs in advertisement. But if your business is based on subscription, probably you have plenty of room for new trials.
In that sense, you’re challenged. And what we have seen in our own customers’ portfolios is that all of them have been growing like crazy—more than 100% increase in the number of new sign-ups for trials, for example. But the reality is, at the same time, conversion rates drop a bit.
So there is a lot of room for capitalizing on the fact that you have more sign-ups, but then you need to convert these trial users into paying users and engage better with them—once they are paying users—for retention. In this process, data optimization definitely plays a bigger role.
And in the case of a negative impact, like all the broadcasters that are based on advertisement and business models, there are definitely opportunities for trying new things. You can try subscriptions. You can try bundles within subscriptions and other paid services. We have seen a lot of creativity during this period.
My expectation for the coming 12 months is that, unfortunately, we are probably going to see new waves of coronavirus around the world. I think we’re going to have some cycles—and during these cycles, my expectation is that people will continue to innovate, to try new things, to mix business models. So the positive framework is that people are going to continue consuming through digital services and they are going to be looking for entertainment. In this way, you have a lot of potential and you need to really look at how to make the best of that opportunity.
Q: Yes. And then stepping back, hopefully three years from now, we’ll be through the coronavirus. What do you think the impact of the cloud generally will be on business—or if you want to focus on the M&E industry—where do you think we’re going over the next three years?
A: That’s, of course, the million dollar question, right?
Definitely, there is no doubt that digital transformation is there in all industries. If you want to be competitive, you cannot avoid that transformation—at the deepest level that you can. I think cloud is a core component of that digital transformation, together with data. And what cloud can really accelerate is the computing power that you are going to need to make the best of the data.
With the other revolution I think is coming—which is artificial intelligence—there’s not going to be another way to use data in an effective—and cost-effective—way if you are not using cloud technologies intensively.
In my opinion, the artificial intelligence revolution—plus cloud technology—is a must for every single company that wants to transform the business in the coming three years. I think it’s going to be very, very normal to put a lot of workloads in the cloud for processing huge amounts of data that you need to automate using artificial intelligence—a lot of business processes. I think it’s a must and there is no way to avoid it.
Q: Well, clearly, you and I have been drinking the same kind of Kool-Aid because I also think that: cloud 100%. If somebody wanted to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?
A: They can go to our website, www.jumpdatadriven.com, and they can get in touch with us to learn more about media and entertainment, artificial intelligence, and big data and how to make the most out of the vast amount of data that video services are generating—but not using in a meaningful way to make a business impact. Very happy to hear from everybody.