Data scientist JT Kostman developed and drove an analytics group at Samsung. Then he led data scientists and analysts at Keurig Green Mountain -- the single-serve coffee specialist. Next up, he's set to become Chief Data Officer at Time Inc., effective May 18. The big question: Can Kostman harness the company's data assets for new revenue opportunities?
Like many media companies, Time Inc. is in transition. For its Q4 2014, Time's revenue was $895 million -- down 7 percent from $966 million in Q4 2013. While print advertising, circulation and newsstand revenue all continue to get squeezed, Time Inc.'s digital revenues are climbing -- reaching nearly $300 million for the year.
More good news: Time Inc.'s various databases track about 150 million offline adults; 40 million Twitter followers; 120 million worldwide website visitors per month; and plenty more, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Data Expert Arrives
Enter Kostman -- who will lead a "newly created team dedicated to propelling the company’s broad data strategy, a cornerstone of its transformational goals." Kostman's new position includes clear goals: Elevate Time Inc.'s consumer marketing efforts, help to reinvent the advertising model and accelerate the growth of adjacent revenue streams, according to his new boss, Lynne Biggar, executive VP of consumer marketing and revenue.
Kostman's data knowledge has been in high demand. After nearly 11 years at Aptus Insights, he joined Samsung in Sept. 2013 as senior director of data science and analytics. Next, he joined Keurig as chief data scientist in December 2014. After that six-month stint at Keurig, he's now set to join Time Inc. within roughly two weeks.
During each career stop, Kostman "led data science teams that shifted the organizations’ mindset toward data monetization," according to a prepared statement from Time Inc. "His work has fundamentally changed the way businesses treat digital media marketing, loyalty and retention and data mining."
The Bigger CDO Trend
Roughly 25 percent of large global organizations will have chief data officers by the end of this year, with 65 percent of CDOs working in the United States, Gartner has estimated. Banking, government and insurance were the first three industries to embrace CDOs.
Media firms -- rich with data but sometimes overwhelmed by digital market shifts -- are now jumping on the CDO bandwagon as well, Gartner has found.
How tall are the challenges facing Kostman at Time Inc.? We'll gain an updated answer when the company announces Q1 2015 results on May 7.
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