Big data is breaking apart the entertainment industry and the big winners are the outfits that own the data. And right now that means Amazon (AMZN) , Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOGL) said Michael Smith, author of Streaming, Sharing, Stealing. According to Smith, a Professor of Information Systems and Marketing at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College, Netflix forever changed how episodic programming is produced by using big data to greenlight its hit series House of Cards. Without seeing a pilot, Netflix made a $100 million commitment for two full seasons upfront as its technology advantage allowed it to reduce customer risks and marketing costs. 'The upfronts and pilot season are already decreasing in importance. If you own the customer and customer data then you simply don't need them anymore,' said Smith. Likewise, Smith said Nielsen and Arbitron ratings will become far less important now that big data is enabling companies to actually see what people are watching and not just a sample size. Of course, the downside of this new digital explosion is piracy. And that is why anti-piracy strategies will continue to be a money-maker, according to Smith.

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