The purpose of this paper is twofold. We first explore how digital business-to-business platforms facilitate the creation of public value in the audiovisual industries via the case of an online Cinando platform operated by Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes. Further, we propose cultural data analytics as a systematic method for data-driven research in film and media studies.
Numerous media datasets have been born through the process of datafication of the audiovisual industries (including the IMDb which lists information about films or the European Audiovisual Observatory’s Lumiere database which provides data on admissions in European cinemas) and consequently attracted an avid quantitatively-focused research interest to the subject matter. Few studies have, however, relied on quantitative data concerning the business-to-business processes of film rights sales and interaction between film professionals more generally, primarily due to the limited availability of such data.
In this context, our work builds on our access to data from Cinando. Launched in 2003 as the complete database of the attendees at Festival de Cannes, the Cinando platform (https://cinando.com/) has since become the premier network offering film professionals tools to navigate the film industry, such as information about contacts, films, projects in development, market screening schedules, market attendees, and screeners. The platform services film festivals and markets by facilitating global film industry operations, including rights sales and investments, as well as business-to-business VOD viewing. It relies on a large, relational database listing information on film professionals, companies, festivals, films, and, of prime interest for this paper, the online business-to-business interactions. Information about these interactions takes up the majority of the 4.32 GB database and includes 378k records of film uploads onto the Cinando platform in an intention to sell rights, 238k invitations to view films for sale exchanged between professionals, and 4.2M records of the online viewing activity. The systematic manner in which these interactions are recorded on the Cinando database offers a unique opportunity to study business-to-business film sale processes.
We adopt a cultural data analytics approach to perform data-driven analysis and visualisation of the Cinando data, including the application of network analysis methods, to examine the complex ways in which digital platforms create public value in the media industries. We also reflect how cultural data analytics (Ibrus, Schich, Tamm 2021), which combines the perspectives and methods of film and creative industry studies, data science, network analysis, and innovation and media economics, enables us to tackle large film databases to gain valuable insight. The intricacies of performing large-scale data-driven media research as part of multidisciplinary research groups and in collaboration with industry partners are also discussed.