[Note: This is Part 4 of a series on how the entertainment industry is adapting to the same changing preferences in the marketing and delivery of goods as other consumer categories. To read the rest of the series, click here.]

A key trait of the D2C industry is its ability to target just the right customer or potential customer with just the right message at just the right time. Companies in that category have done so by being better at reading the data than competitors and reacting more agilely to trends and other behaviors.

The notion that behavioral data trumps all is part of the reason AT&T not only worked so hard to close its acquisition of Time Warner Cable but then shortly thereafter launch AT&T Watch, an OTT “skinny bundle” of highly-popular cable channels, and bought online ad network AppNexus. It’s also why the recent shuttering of Go90 won’t be the last video effort from Verizon, which may come out with something new later this year.

Along with the $8 billion it’s spending on original content Netflix also revealed this past January it has a budget of $2 billion to market all the original programming it’s creating. Much of that will be spent on ads to drive awareness and interest externally through highly-targeted ads. CEO Reed Hastings said, though, he eventually wants that number to come down to $0 as the company does a better job of surfacing recommendations and reminders to logged-in current users, presumably counting on word-of-mouth to provide external support. In other words, he wants to rely on his own data, not someone else’s.

Movie marketing has been increasingly well-targeted thanks to a variety of new technology companies helping studios reach audiences most likely to take action on those ads, either because of data on interests or past behaviors. The pitch has been similar to the one made to other companies, that ad dollars should be spent more effectively on people who have a higher potential to convert into sales and studios have jumped on board.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.