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Edward Norton’s start-up EDO wants to bring data science to TV

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But it was the relationship between Norton and Nadler that got EDO off the ground. While both men are known in the arts, they met through Kenso, which Nadler founded in 2012 and sold to S&P Global for $550 million this year. Kensho’s analytics tools are used in the financial and health-care industries as well as in national security.

Norton and Nadler had been thinking about how Kensho’s machine learning and predictive analytics could work in other areas. Norton pointed to the film and television industries, specifically TV advertising, which lacked these advanced data science capabilities.

“We had seen that the legacy media companies were getting disrupted by Netflix and Amazon, who were using organic data capabilities as significant advantages,” Norton said. “At the same time, networks were facing the assertion by Google and Facebook that digital advertising was more effective, and none of the legacy measurement players were really helping them challenge that with sophisticated data.”

In addition to approaching Breyer and getting the investor’s support, Norton and Nadler brought on Kevin Krim, the former head of Imagala.com’s digital operations, as CEO, and former Nielsen/NRG executive Derek McLay as president. They also hired fresh graduates from Harvard.

EDO’s insights are based on information on about 47 million ads that have aired, as well as TV data from Kantar Media and Nielsen/Gracenote and its own data sets. It uses the information to predict consumer intent through online behaviors.

“Most of the emerging technology data science is focused on Twitter data,” Nadler said. “While that data is actually quite illuminating in other fields where economics are involved, where purchasing decisions are involved and where stock markets are involved, it’s not the right data set” for us, he said.

Like pretty much everyone in film and television, Norton is somewhat obsessed with Netflix. He refers back to the company’s claim that it develops and buys shows based on audience insights. It jumped into original content with “House of Cards,” a show executives predicted would be a hit because subscribers already liked director David Fincher, actor Kevin Spacey and the original British series.

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