Opening Cross: This Year’s Data Oscars Are Gonna Be Monster!

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The latest big-budget Godzilla movie, which has just opened in the US may be unlikely to pick up any awards at next year’s Oscars, but is still my most-anticipated movie of 2014. I don’t consider myself at the mega-geek level of sci-fi aficionados (I still enjoy Star Wars, but don’t feel the need as an adult to dress up in Jedi outfits and play with light sabers), but I do enjoy watching enormous monsters trampling cities or battling huge robots (and am still a big fan of 2012’s Pacific Rim, despite the fact that its CGI-created creatures and robots consistently out-acted its human participants).

The new Godzilla movie is the latest reboot of a franchise that has existed since the first Japanese version in 1954, and has spawned at least 30 movies over 60 years (Hmm, he’s starting to look a bit scaley, even for a 60-year old). However, not all reboots have the same appeal. For some reason, the Spider Man movies (despite my childhood love of the cartoon series) have never grabbed my attention, and even Michael Bay’s Transformers series lacks something of the 1980s cartoon series, though I will admit to being in awe of the incredible special effects. I could perhaps say the same thing for JJ Abram’s reboot of the Star Trek series, which—though great action movies—didn’t quite live up to the albeit campy ’60s series or the ’80s movies. Abrams, of course, is now working on another franchise reboot, one that will teach the next generation of fans to count to seven like this: Four-five-six-one-two-three-seven. And having eschewed Star Wars geekiness, I’ll bite my tongue and just pray that Jar Jar Binks is nowhere to be seen or heard.

My point? Everyone wants a sequel. I recall reading a statistic that sequels on average generate about two-thirds the revenue of the original movie. So if your first movie made decent money, who wouldn’t want to make 60 percent or more of that again? And in some cases, studios are obliged to keep making movies to retain the rights to a franchise. But that doesn’t guarantee they’ll be the same quality as the original (case in point: Jar Jar Binks).

But one case where repeat appearances are a guarantee of quality is at the Inside Market Data and Inside Reference Data Awards, which will take place this Wednesday, May 21, following the North American Financial Information Summit. And yes, I can reveal there are some repeat winners (But no, I can’t reveal who they are—at least not until Wednesday, when former New York Knicks basketball player Walt “Clyde” Frazier will present the awards). And like any movie, success in the IMD and IRD awards depends not just on a receptive audience, but any new release having substance, appeal, and a fine cast of supporting actors—or, to translate for our market, any new product or service must deliver useful content in a way that appeals to users, backed up by a quality customer service organization.

These requirements are clearly evident in stories in this week’s IMD, whether it be Eagle Alpha building index-like lists of social media influencers for particular stocks and sectors to make it easier for traders to harness social media as an indicator, or the alliance between Nasdaq OMX and MasterCard to deliver consumer sentiment data as a pre-emptive economic indicator, or New Constructs revising the way it ranks mutual funds and exchange-traded funds to make it easier to identify quality investments, or Empirasign Strategies enabling users to integrate their own holdings information with the vendor’s dealer run data—all the way through to Norwegian data vendor Infront improving the navigation of its terminal—because just as a great movie could be doomed by a very limited theatrical release that makes it hard for people to see, there’s no point in having the best data if it’s hard for users to find it in your products.

Ultimately, it’s not about how many cities your monster product tramples in its first iteration: it’s about whether it has the overall appeal to spawn multiple sequels that keep delivering box office success 60 years later.

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