Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Interview with Bruce Nash, OpusData
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
Last month, Beverly Hills-based Nash Information Services, the firm behind The Numbers--one of the most extensive database of financial information about movies--announced a new service which allows third party software applications and websites to pull information from the firm's database, via OpusData (www.opusdata.com). We sat down with Bruce Nash, founder of the sites, to learn more about the new service.
For those not familiar with it, what is The Numbers all about?
Bruce Nash: We have a database of movie financial information, that we've built up over the last thirteen years. We have information on about 15,000 movies, plus 18,000 actors, directors, and technicians. We built the website The Numbers, which tracks daily and weekly box office grosses and DVD sales, and we also provider consulting services--primarily to independent filmmakers, or anybody in the industry who needs to get financial data in order to support their business plan or to make investment decisions. People also user our data for general market trending or academic research. Our core business is the consulting and research services, and The Numbers really acts as a portal into what we do, a source of traffic, and getting the word out about what we do.
What's the story behind the site and how you got into tracking Hollywood numbers?
Bruce Nash: I had a tech background, originally, but I've always been a fan of the movies. Back in 1997, when I started thee site, there was no one really doing box office tracking or movie financial tracking on the web. I really saw it as an opportunity to do something that no one else was doing at the time, so I established the site. It turned out that there was tremendous interest in getting financial information about the movie industry. What I found out very quickly, is there is a tremendous demand among the independent production community for this information. Those are people trying to get their business plans funded, funding for movies or shows, and want to be able to show they can provide a return on investment.
So what's this new service, OpusData?
Bruce Nash: One of the things we get asked a lot for, is access to the raw data. We get requests like that from people who are doing their own primary research, for their own business plans; people doing market analysis; from the financial community; but also from people writing things like iPhone apps, creating their own blogs, or commenting about the industry in the newspapers. We've found there is a big community of people who need access to our data. We really built OpusData to serve the needs of the community in a variety of different ways. There is a portal into our database at OpusData, which allows you to log in, and run queries against the database, and produce reports which you can then save and re-run. You can also share those, and we have a widget server which allows you to republish reports you have developed. You can plug those into your own website, or download that data as an Excel spreadsheet, or even plug that into an iPhone app. It really allows users to open up the data and share it with their colleagues, the community, with users of their app, and so on. Finally, for enterprise customers and application developers who need full access to our database, we have an API which allows you full access to data, which you can download and incorporate into your existing data sets.
How is this different from other data available?
Bruce Nash: Studios have been reporting the box office grosses for almost 30 years, and although there have been a number of services that have been built to do that, I think we've been at the leading edge of putting it on the web. We're the first site to do full box office tracking online, and this is really a step forward in terms of making that data accessible, useable, and more convenient to integrate. Rather than having a fairly manual process, such as a spreadsheet you have to reformat, you can put together a widget directly on OpusData, which makes it an easy task to incorporate that data into other applications and services. The other main innovation here, is we allow queries to be built which combine that data in new and interesting ways. With OpusData, we allow you to literally pull into a field the pieces of data you're interested in. If you want to combine information on an actor, combined with genre and budget range for a movie they have made, and compare that with box office revenue and DVD sales, you can pull together a single report that does that. It's a much, more rich set of data, rather than just the standard information on how much a film like Avatar made at the box office.
What's the business model behind OpusData?
Bruce Nash: We have a 30 day free trial, which allows you to go to OpusData and try it out for free. Pricing starts at $19.00 a month per user, primarily someone using it for research. For someone who wants to embed data into an application or website, we recommend our Pro Plan, which is $49.00 a month. Basically, those two plans allow you to use our widget server to share and embed data. If you want to pull down data via our API, then that's licensed depending on the amount of data you require, the number of users, and so on--and that's where we'd get into a discussion with the client.