Entertainment giant The Walt Disney Company is keen to gain a deeper understanding of customer viewing preferences for its Disney Streaming segment to continually drive better experiences. Anita Lynch, VP Data Governance at Disney Streaming, was our guest on the latest episode of our Rise of the Data Cloud podcast. She spoke about the growing importance of data governance, data quality, accessibility controls with the use of data clean rooms, and data sharing at massive scale and performance.
Disney Streaming is home to Disney’s direct-to-consumer content including Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, offering commercial-free streaming of movies, documentaries, live-action and animated series from beloved franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars. In the space of a year, Disney Streaming has already amassed thousands of petabytes of data, Lynch told us.
As media companies such as Disney deliver more of their content via streaming services, they need to carefully govern the vast amount of first-party data they’re collecting and also learn which data is going to be the most impactful for making decisions.
“Snowflake’s Data Cloud allows us to have a single source of truth, but going beyond that, it’s truly like having a single copy of data,” Lynch said. “The data is secure, available, easily accessible for our partners, and we can trust it is compliant and up to date.”
Having a single copy of data gives Disney a lot of scalability and flexibility in how it prioritizes workloads, enabling the organization to better support its BI, analytics, data science, and machine learning teams and the use cases that they’re continuing to evolve. Its data engineers no longer have to spend a lot of time orchestrating, organizing, and building out pipelines to deliver data from different sources, Lynch said.
In gleaning customer insights, Disney wants to ensure it respects the data preferences that consumers have shared with the organization. According to Lynch, data governance helps Disney to centralize that capability. The company treats data governance as a standalone function that addresses issues related to data quality, privacy, security, and usage across Disney’s lines of business and its partners.
“We are capturing a tremendous amount of rich data, and we’ve put a lot of thought into how we build trust with our customers over these digital mediums,” Lynch said.
The Data Cloud has enabled Disney to design and customize methods to share data easily with the appropriate teams and partners, Lynch noted. Data discovery ensures that data can be found and easily understood, while the use of data clean rooms enables secure data sharing and analysis under defined restrictions. Queries can be evaluated and a determination made as to whether, how, and when to provide query results to ensure data remains anonymized and secure.
With the continued rise of digital experiences, Lynch expects to see a lot more discussion about data governance in the future. “I think sensitivity to the use, persistence, and lifecycle of data is becoming a bigger challenge for companies, and there will be more awareness of what kinds of protections need to be in place,” she said.
Rise of the Data Cloud is a podcast hosted by award-winning author and journalist Steve Hamm. For each episode, Steve speaks with a data leader to learn how they leverage the cloud to manage, share, and analyze data to drive business growth, fuel innovation, and disrupt their industries. You can listen to more episodes here.