Data has always been at the heart of BBC’s existence, James Holden, BBC's director of marketing and audiences, shared at Big Data for Media Conference in London in 2017.

The media company processes more than a billion bits of data every day, Holden said.

“In terms of real opportunities is a thing we call myBBC, which is our intention to enable our audiences to have an individual, personalised relationship with the BBC. The more we understand them, the more we can help our audiences get the very best out of the BBC and get as much from us as they possibly want.”

Company-wide is this mantra: “Audiences are at the heart of everything we do,” Holden said, clarifying that the BBC is not “audience led, we are audience informed.” Audience data is a key — but not the only — context within which decisions are made.

“Editorial decision-making has to come first. The audience data is very useful to inform that, whether it's about the content or whether it’s about where people likely want to consume it, what format, etc. But audience data should never be the journalistic editorial of the BBC. That has to come editorial first.”