Thank you #ONA15!
We had a great time engaging with our colleagues and peers.

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

April 9, 2013

Media Meets Big Data


Quick Details | Panel | Topics and Themes | Format
Venue | Audience | About Big Data | About Viafoura
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As part of Big Data Week Toronto 2013, Viafoura is proud to host ‘Media Meets Big Data,’ a marquee cocktail and networking event to take place the evening of April 25th at the Drake Hotel in Toronto. The event will include a moderated panel discussion between 3 leading media industry executives. The discussion will explore opportunities and challenges that big data represents for media companies.

The event’s exclusive attendance will be a curated list of nearly 200 media industry executives, thought leaders and decision makers, not to mention a strong presence of prominent bloggers and journalists. We’re planning for a lively conversation, not to mention some great food and drinks.

You can register for this event here.



Tom Cochran (@tommer ), Chief Technology Officer at Atlantic Media

Tom is the CTO at Atlantic Media, publisher of The Atlantic, Quartz, Government Executive and National Journal. As CTO, he is charged with leading the successful execution of business strategy through industry-leading digital execution and implementation of its supporting technologies. Prior to joining the Atlantic Media, he was the Director of New Media Technologies for the White House, leading the team to provide a secure, stable, and scalable infrastructure across all White House digital properties, and enabling the amplification of the President’s message. At the White House, his team was responsible for architecting the technology behind the “We the People” petition application, connecting the public directly with the Obama Administration.

Craig Saila (@saila), Director of Digital Media at The Globe and Mail

Craig Saila specializes in online news media with a unique focus on creating engaging products and user experiences for content-rich sites; for more than a decade, he has led teams designing and developing for North America’s leading news sites.

In the fall of 2010, he rejoined The Globe and Mail as Director of Digital Products, after working for a number of years with guiding the web design and development of NBC News’ network of sites. He has since been given the role of The Globe and Mail’s Director of Digital Media. Craig graduated from Ryerson University, with a Bachelor’s of Applied Arts in Journalism.

Tessa Sproule (@TessaSproule), Director of Digital at The CBC

Oversees the Canadian public broadcaster’s digital content, helping content-makers navigate the new ways audiences engage and interact with stories as they unfold during and between broadcasts. She believes the success of the modern storyteller lies in his or herability to find opportunity in rapidly-changing distribution and consumption models, while creating ways for audiences to not just be informed and entertained by a story – but help tell it.

Chris Advansun

Moderator: Chris Advansun (@advansun), Director of Marketing at Viafoura


Media Meets Big Data: the challenges and opportunities inherent in the current data explosion.

  • How will data-driven technologies shape the journalistic product and entertainment content?
  • Storage: What are the challenges in storing and capturing such huge amounts of data?
  • Personalization: How will user data personalize our interaction with news and information content?
  • Signal: Given the deluge of data and metrics, how do we know what’s important for news organizations, both from an editorial and business perspective?
  • Monetization: What new revenue opportunities does data represent?
  • Advertising: How will data shape the advertising business? What new advertising tactics and/or units will result from new sources of data?
  • Social: Will Facebook (et al) retain their control of user data? What will the social landscape look like in a few years and beyond?
  • Risks/Privacy/Creepiness: Of what unintended consequences of data capture must we remain mindful.


Each panelist will have 2 to 3 minutes to speak about their company and how it sees the data opportunity. Then we’ll have 30-minutes of moderator questions, then the event will be opened up to audience questions.The panel discussion, which is the event’s only programmed content, will be about 60 minutes, and will be followed by a lively social/networking session with food and drinks care of sponsors. We plan to record the event on video.



  • Hand-picked list of decision makers and thought leaders from Canada’s media industry (digital, broadcast, newspaper, etc.)
  • Also a strong showing of journalists and bloggers
  • 180 in attendance


“Humans now create in two days the same amount of data that it took from the dawn of civilization until 2003 to create.”Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google

Human civilization is creating data at a nearly incomprehensible pace and scale. The advent of the internet and subsequent creation of social media have caused millions of organizations and hundreds of millions of people to be data generators. Every day, the connected world produces billions of individual pieces of content, via web pages, tweets, blog posts, status updates, location check-ins, video and photo uploads, and much more. And even when we’re only consuming content, we’re generating huge amounts of data about that consumption; consider the analytics data captured about digital content consumption, for example. And therein we generate meta data about that consumption data, and so on.

The scale of data proliferation represents many challenges. How are businesses and governments to store, organize and secure such huge amounts of data? But for every challenge there is a corresponding opportunity. In these haystacks of data there lie needles of insight that could make governments more effective, businesses more profitable, individual lives more fruitful, civilization itself more self-aware.


Viafoura is an audience engagement and monetization platform for premiere online publishers. We help large media companies build a strong and active community around their content with our leading multimedia commenting and community social plugins. Clients include Hearst Media, Torstar Digital, Transcontinental Media, and other leading media brands.

To learn more about our technology, visit the product tour section of our website.

And check us out on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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