Data’s revolution A new data platform aims to digitise the workflow required to greenlight a project and inject some certainty into a market in constant flux. Jeremy Kay meets the founders of Cinelytic
s the global industry congregates at this year’s AFM, attendees will find themselves in a familiar predicament. New projects and packages will spark interest, yet beyond the market hype lies a challenging independent landscape that makes it hard to accurately assign value to a project, let alone predict boxoffice performance months or years down the line. US-based analytics platform Cinelytic launched this year with a suite of tools that uses millions of data points and proprietary algorithms that the company says puts the power of swift decision-making in the hands of the user.
‘I was astonished by the risk people took without a methodical approach’ Tobias Queisser, Cinelytic
Cinelytic has developed a cloud-based project management platform that claims to enable a more systematic approach to greenlighting, investing in and distributing films. The service uses AI-powered analytics based on existing industry data (some proprietary, some licensed from third parties) that lets users evaluate project value and risk through proprietary predictive analytics and comps (data about comparable projects). Providing comps is nothing new. However, once a professional obtains comps, they typically engage in a timeconsuming process of consulting colleagues in finance or sales to predict revenue and return on investment (ROI) projections. Cinelytic claims it speeds up the process through its industry-first cloud-based content development plat-
form that enables multiple partners on a project with different areas of expertise to share intelligence from anywhere in the world, all in real time. The machine learning-based predictive analytics tools can forecast revenue scenarios for all media windows with almost immediate results. Starting from scratch Backed by private equity investment, Cinelytic is led by co-founder and CEO Tobias Queisser, co-founder, CTO and former NASA rocket scientist Dev Sen, and COO and ex-Warner Bros Pictures International executive Christian Monti. Los Angeles resident Queisser studied finance in London and spent 10 years in banking and a hedge fund, before producing films. He launched Arctic Pictures in 2013 and co-produced a $4m thriller project. Keen to run numbers on the project, he was unable to find any tools and resorted to inserting “bits and pieces” of data into an Excel spreadsheet. “I was astonished by the level of risk people took without a methodical evaluation approach,” he says. “These days content consumption is recorded electronically so the data exists, but often does not get shared, and there is a lack of understanding of how best to use data.” Queisser saw room for improvement. “I didn’t understand why film needs to be such a risky asset class. I’ve been involved with venture capital where you finance start-ups and you know it’s risky, but there is a more standardised approach to assessing value and risk.” The initial idea for Cinelytic was based on an analogous system Sen developed for NASA to assess the risk of failure of NASA rockets and spaceflight systems, and work that he had done developing predictive revenue models for films. The partners claim that by combining the best practices from the fields of science, finance and the entertainment industry, the Cinelytic system,
16 Screen International at AFM November 3, 2018
TOP 10 ACTRESSES IN KEY MARKETS According to Cinelytic’s TalentScore definition
UK 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Emma Watson Judi Dench Helena Bonham Carter Cate Blanchett Scarlett Johansson Jennifer Lawrence Anne Hathaway Daisy Ridley Naomie Harris Amy Adams
CHINA 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Michelle Rodriguez Celina Jade Scarlett Johansson Lin Yun Zhang Yuqi Fan Bingbing Shu Qi Liu Yan Ma Li Jennifer Lawrence
SOUTH KOREA 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Scarlett Johansson Jeon Ji-hyeon Anne Hathaway Kim Hae-sook Han Hyo-joo Kim Hyang-ki Yunjin Kim Kim Hye-soo Gwyneth Paltrow Emma Watson