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August 11 2017


Media Rating Council’s George Ivie: Cross-Media Standards By Early 2018

The early 1960’s were interesting times for radio and television, as Congress considered regulating audience research. How simple those days must seem now that the Media Rating Council—formed as the media industry’s self-regulating body—has tackled cross-media audience measurement.

This becomes more evident when one considers that the MRC is still dealing with standards for digital ad viewability and traffic fraud. It’s made great progress on that front, but there’s no resting on laurels for George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC, which audits more than 100 products a year.

“We’re consumed by those two business cycles, accrediting things and writing standards,” Ivie says in this interview with Beet.TV. Allowing that “the timeline is somewhat difficult,” Ivie says the MRC hopes to complete cross-media standards for digital video within the first quarter of 2018.

“It’s very difficult to develop consensus on these things,” a list of which includes:

• Establishing common metrics across different media types

• Measurement of duration

• De-duplication of audiences across media types

• Setting reporting parameters for days, dayparts, etc.

• How to measure audiences (age, gender, targeting characteristics)

“It’s a very complex standard that we’re working on and it has a big reach,” says Ivie. “Right now we’re concentrating mostly on video but it will be expanded later to include audio and print and other types of media.”

One of the more vexing aspects of video measurement is to differentiate the value of different types of media vehicles appropriately, according to Ivie. “Things like how long people stay with the video, how they interact with the video, if there is any measurement of interaction,” he explains.

These elements will be measured on a common basis and then compared with TV measurement.

“We also are concentrating on differentiating and measuring ads and content separately, which is a key concept of the standard,” he adds.

Asked to assess the MRC’s progress with regard to cleaning up the digital ecosystem, Ivie says viewability was a tough standard to set. “It certainly was highly disruptive in the digital marketplace. Very tough medicine to swallow. But now it’s been assimilated, made more consistent.”

We interviewed Ivie at the Cynopsis Measurement and Data Summit in New York earlier this month.

August 09 2017


NBCU’s Rosen Aims To Take Audience Targeting To The Next Level

It is now two and a half years since NBCU launched its Audience Targeting Platform (ATP), a way to let advertisers use data to reach specific audiences.

In that time, the company has offered up viewing data from 22 million Comcast set-top boxes, combined with other data from first- or third-party sources, to help marketers create more refined viewer segments.

Now Mike Rosen wants to go further.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, the NBCU portfolio and sales strategy EVP explains the next step.

“As you start to unlock the value in the targeting side, how can you se the data to understand the outcome measurement?,” Rosen asks.

“So… (we’re trying) to better understand what the different outcomes are from the different campaigns. We want to make sure the KPI we get is being properly measured and optimised.”

Rosen says outcomes for data-driven campaigns vary depending on many factors. But one thing all have in common is, they are better informed.

“We moved from simply looking at age-and-gender, which was the currency of our marketplace but also the only real measurement we had to transact, to something more richer – custom segments unique to each client,” Rosen adds.

And it is no longer pocket change that is changing hands in this way. This year, NBCU said it would make $1 billion inventory available for buying using data-based, non-Nielsen methods – equivalent to a tenth of its total ad revenue take last year.

This interview was held at the Cynopsis Measurement and Data Summit in New York earlier this month.


Nielsen’s Hogue: OTT TV Measurement Is A Journey

The complete cross-platform view of audiences’ consumption may not be fully in place today, but the industry is getting there, says a Nielsen executive responding to concern from a leading programmer.

Speaking with Beet.TV, Disney-ABC Television Group’s multiplatform research director Brian West had said the current state of multiplatform measurement was not good enough, and looked like taking a decade to reach completeness.

In this video interview, Nielsen product leadership SVP Jessica Hogue responds.

“It’s absolutely a fair call out,” she says. “There’s continued work to do there, it’s not standardised that everyone is in that measurement framework today. But it’s possible, we have the tools to do it.”

But Hogue says Nielsen has already spent the last few years working hard to give programmers and advertisers what they need.

She counters that Nielsen has expanded its TV measurement to new viewing options, including bundling census-level measurement. And she says Digital Ad Ratings now incorporated views of mobile and over-the-top (OTT) consumption.

“We have built a framework that allows for the flexibility, so we’re going to continue to evolve,” Hogue adds. “There will be new features.”

“Programmers want more. There’s always going to be work to do. It keeps us all employed.”

We interviewed West at the Cynopsis Measurement and Data Summit in New York earlier this month.

August 08 2017


A+E’s Nancy Dubuc: TV Landscape More Than Just Putting Out Great Shows

As mantras go, “know thy audience” certainly speaks volumes about cross-platform television viewing. Content providers that take this to heart will become preferred partners to agencies and advertisers as innumerable publishing options are inevitably winnowed out by their capabilities and the quality of their offerings, says Nancy Dubuc.

The President and CEO of A+E Networks views cross-platform opportunities through the lens not of a TV company but “as a great content company” constantly honing its capabilities and execution.

“Historically, we’ve had to think in increments of 30 or 60 minutes. And now we have to think in increments of six seconds to six hours and everything in between,” Dubuc says in this interview with Beet.TV.

Knowing one’s audience is of paramount concern because it’s now more crucial than ever to know who you are speaking to and how you’re speaking to them, according to Dubuc. “It’s not enough just to put great television shows out anymore,” she says.

The question of balancing content and ad load gets lots of attention at A+E, but there’s only so much progress to be made given things on the agency and advertiser side. Dubuc cites a pace of change that’s “still lumbering” despite advances on the supply side.

“There’s a lot of friction between the publishers, the agencies and the clients. Unnecessary friction in some instances,” Dubuc says. “We know it goes back to the capabilities conversation.”

The concept of preferred clients and preferred partners “I think will take hold in the future,” she adds, “in that there’s just going to be too many publishing options, too many distribution options and too many options in general for brands to try and market their product.”

That’s when frictionless ease of use, along with brand and content safety, plus quality of content “will be key in differentiating yourself as one of those preferred partners.”

This interview was recorded in Manhattan as part of the Comcast/FreeWheel 2017 U.S. Client Summit “Unifying The New TV Ecosystem.” This series of videos from the summit is presented by FreeWheel.


The Young Turks Video Network Raises $20 Million In Latest Funding Round

Left-leaning political video network The Young Turks has raised $20 million in its latest and biggest funding round, with participation by Jeffrey Katzenberg’s venture firm WndrCo. Also backing the startup of former MSNBC anchor and TYT co-founder Cenk Uygur were 3L Capital, Greycroft and e.ventures.

In 2014, TYT received $4 million in backing and executed a Series A funding round in 2015 that yielded $4.25 million. What started as a live radio show now boasts 30,000 paying subscribers and produces about $3.6 million in subscription revenue, as The Hollywood Reporter reports.

Earlier this year, Beet.TV interviewed TYT Uygur about the roots of his progressive politics commentary. We are republishing the interview upon the news of his latest funding success.

It began as a live radio show, before the digital age forced it in to an on-demand box. But now The Young Turks, a video broadcaster producing progressive politics commentary, is set to make hay from a return to its live roots.

Sixteen years ago, co-founder Cenk Uygur launched The Young Turks on Sirius radio. since then, it has also built up a huge following for its online videos, with more expansion plans to come. But Uygur says new live broadcasting capabilities from social media operators are lighting up a whole new opportunity for the media network.

“Facebook and YouTube… once they gave their audience the ability to view it, viewers said, ‘Of course I want to watch things live!’,” Uygur says. “I got kicked off a plane and started live-streaming it. All of a sudden, this giant audience across the world is watching this drama unfold. It’s a beautiful, amazing new world.

“The audience has got used to watching it live. Before in digital you’d watch it on-demand. Now you get these pop-ups saying ‘Cenk is live’.”

Case in point – on the day of the 2016 US presidential election, The Young Turks rolled its live broadcast out across its platforms – as hosts’ initial optimism turned to horror at the result. But the outcome nevertheless proved one thing to Uygur.

“On election, we had a million hours of viewing in one day, on YouTube and Facebook Live,” he tells Beet.TV. “That’s when you now that live has arrived.”

And he is now targeting even newer platform opportunities, beyond social, to grow the audience further, like the live online TV app Pluto and “skinny” cable TV bundles that combine traditional and digital brands.

“We’re going to hire a lot more in the days to come, expand our shows, expand the platforms we’re on,” Uygur adds. “We’re going to keep on expanding until our lead is so large it depresses the competition.”


605’s Ben Tatta On The Value Of Census-Based Audience Targeting Data

Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a television network based on age and gender attributes alone. “Most networks are going to look somewhat similar. Although the audience size may be different, they’re going to have similar audience comps,” says Ben Tatta.

Hence the gradual shift toward audience-based selling, which allows for much more granular attributes that benefit both programmers and advertisers, the Co-Founder & President of data and analytics provider 605 says in this interview with Beet.TV.

“It’s very difficult to distinguish one’s audience based on age and gender attributes alone,” says Tatta.

It’s only when viewership data are overlaid with things like viewer propensity for consumer packaged-goods purchases, car purchases, international travel or pet ownership do “the unique aspects of one’s network” start to come to the surface.

“What the opportunity is going forward is for programmers to be able to use census-based data, like what 605 has to offer, combined with attributes beyond just age and gender so they can represent their inventory in a much more granular basis and get maximum value out of it,” Tatta says.

On the back end of campaigns, data drives attribution measurement. While there are various ways of doing so, Tatta believes census-level data offers the most robust measurement because matching is done at the individual or household-to-household level.

“So rather than taking a small set of households and projecting out the total transactions that occurred based on a campaign, we can actually do it using individualized data,” he adds.

At 605, it’s all done in a privacy compliant way through a safe haven, according to Tatta.

605 recently announced a strategic data partnership with Charter Communications wherein the broadband communications company will provide 605 with aggregated and anonymized TV platform data from all of its cable system operations nationally without divulging viewers’ personally identifiable data.

“Obviously, with the most recent news, we could not be more delighted. We have a tremendous partner in Charter. We think there are going to be tremendous things we can do together.” Among them are “to add value by providing insights and analyses on that data.”

Tatta considers the present as an exciting time to be in the audience data business, particularly given the industry’s desire for total network and show ratings across devices. “So we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about that and we’re really excited to be working with the programming and advertising partners that we have.”

August 07 2017


Disney-ABC’s Brian West: TV Measurement Must Be Platform-Agnostic

When is good enough not good enough? For Brian West, it describes the current state of measuring viewing audiences on mobile and connected-television devices.

“There still is this tendency to prioritize measurement on desktop and kind of treat mobile and connected TV as also-rans in the measurement space,” says West, who is Director, Multiplatform Research, Disney-ABC Television Group.

The situation is acute given the amount of video consumption happening on both mobile and connected TV’s.

“We really need our measurement partners to find a way to bring their mobile and connected TV capabilities up to par with some of the more mature solutions they’ve developed for desktop based measurement,” West opines in this video with Beet.TV. “Because we’re at a point where this is the area where our growth is and we are no longer in a position where good enough measurement on mobile and connected TV is good enough for us.”

This is the main reason why ABC is calling for platform-agnostic measurement. He draws a distinction between the situation several years ago—when desktop “was basically platform-agnostic” and there were two major mobile operating systems—and now.

“But when you look at connected TV, if we began to do a platform-by-platform measurement solution, it’s going to take us a decade to get to a point where we have complete measurement,” West says.

Moving much faster “means piecing together data that is maybe tag-based, or possibly server- based, that’s calibrated against different types of demographic sources or other audience information sources,” he says.

ABC has research that provides an impetus for speeding things up in the form of the study it commissioned by Accenture that looked at spending by 20 different advertisers and ROI across media.

“It’s really essential that we define the groupings that we’re looking at a little bit differently,” West says. “We didn’t want to take this traditional TV definition and call TV everything that’s in a Nielsen C3 rating.”

One of the key takeaways of the Accenture study is that it’s typical for digital to get over-credited for advertising ROI and for TV to get under-credited.

West cites the halo effect of combining multi-platform TV with digital (a results lift of 18%) and the long-term impact of multi-platform, measured by the study as 1.3 times the impact in years two and three as in year one of a campaign.

“So multi-platform TV is able to drive impact for the brand and impact to sales over a longer and more sustained period of time,” says West.

We interviewed West at the Cynopsis Measurement and Data Summit in New York earlier this month.


comScore Tracking TV Viewing Data in 35 Million Home with Charter/Spectrum Agreement

If bigger is better for companies like Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, it’s also a boon to cross-platform measurement providers like comScore. Often overlooked by headlines heralding the continued merging of cable providers are the gains made in tracking consumer behavior and the ability to match it with product and service consumption—benefitting both programmers and advertisers.

So it was when Charter scooped up Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum)  just over a year ago. Since then, renegotiation of comScore’s agreement with Charter brought comScore from 22 million measured households to more than 35 million, according to Jeff Boehme, SVP, Television Research at comScore.

The bottom line: comScore ended up with about 75 million reportable television sets in use, giving the company greater insight into tuning behavior, Boehme explains in this interview with Beet.TV.

“The importance is not just the tuning data. It’s the ability to match that tuning data with relevant audience consumer datasets so that not only can we track tuning we can track tuning we can track advertising and we can track consumption,” Boehme says.

Between its own data warehousing and relationships with companies like Experian, comScore can identify programs with high propensity of certain advertiser audience segments and match it to advertising campaigns in those programs.

“Now we can provide much more detail on the accountability of advertising, both in television as well as digital,” Boehme says.

comScore also has been on the ground floor of addressable TV advertising, given its own roots as well as those of Rentrak, with which it merged in early 2016. Early addressable players like DIRECTV and DISH relied on comScore and Rentrak to provide measurement capabilities.

One casualty of advanced audience measurement and correlation with consumer purchasers is waste, which has been a given throughout the history of TV advertising.

“Television now becomes more accountable because now what they can do is plan more effectively and deliver their segments with higher efficiencies,” Boehme says. “So no longer do we have waste factors that are standard among media buys.”

For programmers, the gains are mainly in the ability to better manage their portfolios “so the programmer understands what audiences now identified as consumers they need to attract and how.”

We interviewed Boehme at the Cynopsis Measurement and Data Summit in New York earlier this month.


Ad Auctions Mean Better Returns For Video Publishers: Trade Desk’s Stempeck

When programmatic burst on to the scene, it was mainly in the guise of real-time bidding, an auction system for remnant and low-value inventory that has since fallen out of favour with many big publishers.

But, though those publishers seek higher prices normally transacted through direct or human-sold deals with advertisers, auctions are still super-relevant in the video world – and can actually bring higher returns, says one programmatic platform operator.

“An auction is actually the best place to start if you have something that’s in scarce supply,” says The Trade Desk chief client officer Brian Stempeck, in this video interview with Beet.TV. “If you’re a publisher where you’ve got video inventory going for a high CPM, it’s actually the best place to run an auction.”

Why is auctioning inventory a better way to sell it? Because, like any auction, prices go up and because, like the best auctions, you can choose where to start the bidding.

“Let’s say you’re selling it for a $15 CPM and you’re sold out, that happens at a lot of video publishers,” Stempeck continues. “They can say, ‘Let’s set the floor at $15 and see what we can get above that’.

“That’s where programmatic comes in. There may be buyers on the demand side who say, ‘For this particular audience, I might be willing to pay $25’ – that’s more than the publisher got by selling it directly.”

Stempeck is talking about private marketplaces, a development on programmatic’s original auctioning ethos whereby publishers can limit who bids on their inventory and for how much, creating a rule-based marketplace that, in theory, should operate in their favour.

And private marketplaces are now more common in the video world than they have even become in display advertising, says Stempeck.

On the one hand, big TV networks are traditionally more likely to continue wanting to sell their expensive ad space directly or otherwise with strict controls. On the other, programmatic technologies now let them bring viewer data to bear on ad targeting. In the middle, Stempeck is hoping to benefit from growing consumer demand for online TV and video content.

August 04 2017


Brands Still Need Their Agencies in a Programmatic World: Trade Desk’s Stempeck

Do advertisers need agencies anymore? As programmatic ad buying platforms have risen up and as many are now switching to a self-service online model that allows advertisers to control their own campaigns, many in the industry are wondering: is the agency about to be disintermediated?

But, while brands are certainly now putting a hand on the tiller of their ad-tech, that doesn’t mean they no longer need an agency to pilot the ship.

That is according to one trading platform executive watching brands trying to navigate the new-look waters of advertising.

“Oftentimes, in the media, you hear it’s this black-and-white decision of marketers either taking things in-house or working directly with an agency, and those are (said to be) the only two paths,” says The Trade Desk chief client officer Brian Stempeck in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“What we’re seeing is agencies are going for a middle path, where they’re saying, ‘I want to have a technology license with a DSP, I want to get closer to the DSP and know what’s going on if I’m spending $50 million a year in programmatic. But I don’t necessarily want to take that in-house, I want to take that to my agency to push the buttons on the campaigns, to optimise, to give me insights.’

One common idea in ad-tech is that tech platforms are actually happy to cut agencies out of the relationship with brands, so that they can gain higher-value contracts and work directly.

But The Trade Desk’s Stempeck says going all the way wouldn’t necessarily serve advertisers best, thanks to all the complexity that programmatic actually brings.

“Because programmatic is now in every channel … there’s a lot to take on,” he adds. “So (advertisers are saying) ‘I don’t necessarily want to take this in-house … I want to pay more attention, I want to get closer to the technology and we think that’s a good thing.’


With Viewability Baked In, OTT Premium Video Is ‘The Major Trend’: FreeWheel’s Herve Brunet

When mobile devices emerged as platforms for video viewing, there was a steep learning curve for ad buyers. Fast forward to over-the-top viewing on big-screen television sets and it’s déjà vu all over again.

There’s no denying the trend of OTT viewing in the living room environment. As FreeWheel reported earlier this week in its release of new OTT research, FreeWheel Signature Insights: The Power of OTT: Audiences & Experiences, this category of viewers complete 98 percent of all video ads. Further, approximately 36 percent of OTT viewership is comprised of viewing that lasts at least an hour.

To FreeWheel’s Herve Brunet, the screen in the living room is “a screen you want to be on. That’s the king screen really,” he says in this interview with Beet.TV.

Brunet, who is General Manager, Markets, at FreeWheel recommends that all publishers have more than one app on an OTT device. “It’s the most immersive experience one can get. That’s way it’s very important for all publishers to embark on the OTT journey.”

At its annual Client Summit this month in New York City, FreeWheel endeavored to educate the buy-side on the ins and outs of OTT, much the same as when mobile began to emerge.

“I think the buy side understands the merit of OTT, but they don’t really know how to execute on it. It’s getting there. It’s improving by the day,” says Brunet, whose business unit at FreeWheel handles both linear TV and online video.

While some technical issues also need to be addressed, viewability isn’t an issue when it comes to OTT.

“You don’t need to track viewability because it’s baked in. It is 100 percent viewable. Everybody knows it. It sits in the living room.”

Looking back a year ago, Brunet recalls the industry dealing with the “murky waters” of fraud issues but now believes “the market has changed dramatically. Now the market is very clear about wanting to go premium, and by premium we mean professionally produced content.

“Buyers do understand the value of that content,” he adds. “They also understand the value of that content on new screens like OTT. That’s the major trend.”

This interview was recorded in Manhattan as part of the Comcast/FreeWheel 2017 U.S. Client Summit “Unifying The New TV Ecosystem.” This series of videos from the summit is presented by FreeWheel.

August 03 2017


First Wave Of New FreeWheel Research Track Provides Extensive Insights On OTT

Now that OTT devices are responsible for the lion’s share of premium video viewing, there’s no shortage of content on the publisher side. What is lacking is a deep understanding of how best to buy and sell OTT inventory, which FreeWheel is addressing with its new research track called Signature Insights.

The first installment of Signature Insights is titled The Power of OTT: Audiences & Engagement and is devoted to all things OTT.

“OTT in general is something that publishers have been investing a lot in. But I think there’s still a lot of opportunity and it’s sort of being undervalued in the market today,” Ying Wang, Director, Advisory Services, FreeWheel says in this interview with Beet.TV.

The overarching goal of the new research is to showcase the value of OTT, why advertisers should be buying it, how publishers should discuss it in the marketplace and to provide them with “more tools to be able to build value from that inventory,” says Wang.

While most people are familiar with OTT devices like Roku, Apple TV, game consoles and smart television sets, “I think a lot of the people who are buying digital are confused with OTT,” Wang adds.

Given uncertainty about how to buy, measure and transact on OTT ad inventory, there’s hesitation on budget allocation.

“I think that’s driving a lot of the issues in making OTT a bigger platform than it is today,” says Wang.

On the sell-side, FreeWheel’s clients are seeking more data to enlighten them on how they should be transacting OTT. “Right now, a lot of OTT is still flowing through direct sales channels, but there’s a lot of interest in trying to sell it programmatically.”

Thus the initial installment of Signature Insights will provide a complete understanding of the tools FreeWheel offers its clients so they can open up OTT to new demand sources in a safe manner.

When asked what’s next for FreeWheel’s new research track in 2017 Wang notes, “the theme of this year for FreeWheel and our research is unification; the lines between different screens are blurring.” FreeWheel’s new research track will explore ways in which publishers and advertisers can take advantage of the evolving landscape by studying activities like changing selling patterns, and how measurement is enabling cross-screen buys.

Then there is the user experience, which “continues to be something that’s a priority for our clients.” In addition to determining the optimal ad load and controlling creative repetition, “how do you get users coming back to your content is something that we want to look more into as well.”

This interview was recorded in Manhattan as part of the Comcast/FreeWheel 2017 U.S. Client Summit “Unifying The New TV Ecosystem.” This series of videos from the summit is presented by FreeWheel.


The Double-Edged Sword Of Header Bidding, explains The Trade Desk’s Stempeck

In the last year and a half, yet another new tech terminology has popped up in digital advertising, as platforms try to fix and enhance some of the wonkier off-shoots that programmatic has wrought.

In “header bidding”, rather than publishers entertain bids from multiple bidding sources in a “waterfall” sequence, they can see them all at once, and decide on the best price quickly.

But the technology is both good and bad news, says The Trade Desk chief client officer Brian Stempeck, concluding that header bidding is a net benefit…

The duplication challenge

“It used to be that you might see one impression, one time from an SSP – (for example), The New York Times selling through Rubicon; an impression comes in.

Well, (now) The New York Times might have a header implementation with a bunch of SSPs – OpenX, Index, Google. So, in some cases, we might see the impression more than once, there’s some duplication that’s happening

“So, as a buyer, you have to be a little bit more choosy about ‘Which pipe are you buying from? Which exchange do you want to buy from?’ So, supply path optimisation is a new variable to consider.”

The price payoff

“Five years ago, programmatic was more (about) remnant inventory. Now the publisher is saying, ‘With header bidding, lets open up that whole waterfall programmatically, to let previously-remnant demand compete with my direct-sold demand.

“Some inventory that the New York Times sold directly via insertion order five years ago, we now have a chance to bid on. That’s a good thing.

The trade-off

“It’s a double-edged sword. Costs go up the more impressions you look at – but, if you’re getting better inventory to look at in the first place, we look on that as a good thing.”

August 02 2017


With Charter Deal, 605’s Tatta Sees TV Targeting Rise Nationally

The future of data-driven TV ad buying is moving in to sharper focus, after number-two US cable operator Charter invested in TV analytics company 605.

The deal involves Charter giving 605 access to its second-by-second TV nationaL viewership data, so that programmers and advertisers can better target their material. But it also involves 605 building an app to help Charter itself offer more refined ad targeting, and sees Charter making an investment in the group.

“They’re the second-largest MVPD in the country, collecting data from 41 states and 13 of the top 20 VMAs,” says Ben Tatta co-founder and president of 605.

“We have an audience app that we built with them that leverages set-top box data to allow their sales division to sell on a more audience-based (basis). That means moving beyond age and gender (criteria), to be able to sell on more granular attributes (like) car purchases or travel propensity, things that are more relevant to advertisers than just age and gender.”

Tatta previously had helped pioneer another cable operator’s approach to next-generation TV advertising, as a Cablevision executive. But he and partner Kristin Dolan left to form 605 as their own company, providing set-top box data to marketers.

Until lately, early advances in enabling addressable TV ad buying had been occurring in local TV ad markets. Now Tatta says the prospect is emerging of highly targeted TV advertising delivered nationwide, but doing so will require a footprint of scale.

“Our intent is to partner with any and every MVPD,” he adds. “Set-top box data has tremendous value.”


Nielsen’s Abcarian On Measuring Hulu, YouTube TV & OTT’s Future

For advertisers who want to start reaching consumers through new video platforms in the same way they are familiar with from TV, Nielsen had good news last week.

The media measurement agency announced it would now provide measurement for viewing through the Hulu and YouTube TV platforms, which some see as new-look digital alternatives to traditional cable TV subscriptions.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Nielsen product leadership SVP Kelly Abcarian explains how it works – and what it means.

“Our partners embed the SDK or enable us to get measurement of their data so that we can measure at a census level the viewing that’s occurring in the ecosystem,” she says. “Then we calibrate that data with the high-quality panels so that we can produce a comparable rating as if that was being captured through that panel itself.”

Although there is a growing number of online viewing packages and “skinny bundles” like DISH’s Sling TV service, Abcarian imagines consumers trying many of the options, and settling down with their preferred subscription, just like with cable-TV, she says.

But, with few of the new platforms offering measurement currencies familiar from the TV world, some fear TV dollars will not flow to digital as fast as they otherwise might.

Speaking of her own solution, Abcarian says: “(YouTube has) rolled it out across 15 markets, with plans to continue to expand across many more. In the case of Hulu live, it’s nationally across all of the markets.

“People are recognising that independent, third-party measurement is key so that advertisers have confidence in transacting against these audiences coming to these platforms.”

July 31 2017


Targeting, Next-Day Reporting And Optimization Key To Addressable TV: FreeWheel’s Brian Wallach

What’s the difference between bidding on real-time, digital advertising avails and addressable television inventory? Not much, thanks to aggregation and automation.

While the national addressable TV footprint grows bigger with each passing year, many advertisers are making use of household targeting to hone in on specific audiences. And those capabilities are getting more sophisticated, as Brian Wallach, SVP, CRO, Advanced TV at FreeWheel, explains in this interview with Beet.TV.

Advertisers can either buy a full avail—meaning serving a different message to every household in the footprint—or a split avail, “Where you can buy households that are just the consumers that you’re looking for,” Wallach says.

Taking things a step further, there is “a real opportunity” in leveraging data to find audiences at high indices for products and services. This involves choosing programs, networks and daypart mixes that have the highest concentration of consumers that meet an advertiser’s needs.

FreeWheel, the industry’s most complete advertising management solution, aggregates avails from distributors’ two minutes of local ad inventory to create a national, addressable footprint. “Generally speaking, we’re looking not to compete with the local advertising, so we don’t sell local or regional avails, even though our technology affords us the opportunity,” Wallach says.

The biggest TV advertisers still do direct deals with programmers. But when they need to augment particular audiences, reach them with higher frequency or, say, launch a new product, they don’t necessarily need a full schedule on one particular network, according to Wallach.

“They can leverage a platform like ours that can apply the data and buy across every single cable network that’s available in our footprint at the network and daypart intersection level.”

This is where automation comes into play by providing campaign reporting in near real-time. “The next day, we know where our commercials ran for our specific advertisers, at what network and daypart intersection, at the DMA level,” Wallach says.

“We’re at this place where you actually can leverage this information and tie it back to any performance metrics that you have as a marketer to see if this is working or not working. Because of our automation, we’re able to optimize the campaigns to help drive those KPI’s.”

This interview was recorded in Manhattan as part of the Comcast/FreeWheel 2017 U.S. Client Summit “Unifying The New TV Ecosystem.” This series of videos from the summit is presented by FreeWheel.


Tru Optik & comScore Bring Demographic Ad Buying To Connected TV

When it comes to the connected TV opportunity, many people are most excited about the opportunity to precision-target individual consumers using granular profile data. But that doesn’t mean demographics are done as a targeting mechanism.

Tru Optik, a technology vendor that offers a data management platform for over-the-top (OTT) TV advertisers, is now partnering with comScore to offer the latter’s demographic data as targeting criteria.

The pair’s announcement says the injection of comScore’s validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) in to Tru Optik’s OTT Marketing Cloud platform means the “familiar standard” of demographic information is arriving in connected TV, bridging the gap to the still-larger linear TV ad market, which has long used demographic targeting.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Tru Optik CEO Andre Swanston says: “We were missing the ability to have a source of truth they were already using for demographic across linear. This will allow us to satisfy the needs of an even wider assortment of brands, agencies and publishers.

“It allows for people sitting on the sidelines because they wanted to measure their connected TV advertising … based off of demographic information.

“It allows … everything from planning to activation to measurement to leverage comScore demographic data.”

July 28 2017


Tracking Trends In Programmatic Premium Video With FreeWheel’s Neil Smith

Viewing of premium video is certainly fragmented. But the same holds true for selling ad inventory programmatically, regardless of whether “pipes are connected” from the desktop all the way to set-top box video on demand.

“There are different levels of maturity in terms of the ease or liquidity of programmatic transactions and there are different challenges across each of them,” says Neil Smith, who handles programmatic digital as SVP, Markets, at the industry’s most complete advertising management system FreeWheel.

With many publishers of premium desktop inventory sold programmatically, it’s less about infrastructure and audiences. In a broad ecosystem with lots of long-tail, non-premium video, the big concerns are “how do you surface the right information and package that inventory up so that advertisers can find that inventory that meets their needs and ultimately really extracts more value from the inventory,” Smith says in this interview with Beet.TV.

On the other end of the spectrum are set-top box VOD and OTT platforms. With the former, “all of the pipes aren’t even connected yet,” Smith says. “We’re still at that stage of enabling dynamic ad insertion in those platforms so you can even engage in programmatic transactions.”

Things are a bit better with OTT devices but measurement is limited. “So we have kind of a fragmented world in terms of viewership but also very fragmented in terms of capabilities.”

Within FreeWheel’s customer base, most view programmatic as “a transaction model,” Smith says. While traditional insertion orders supplement programmatic channels, “When they’re doing it through programmatic channels, they’re definitely gravitating more to private marketplaces.”

Reasons for this include personal relationships between buyers and sellers and sellers seeking unique information about inventory to match up with their objectives. “We do see publishers start to dabble with the more open world, but it’s done using as much control as possible with regard to what inventory is made available and what information about that inventory is made available,” Smith explains.

One of the challenges of expanding OTT device inventory in a fully open market is a lack of information about the inventory—owing partly to a lack of personal relationships. “If you don’t have all of those audience measurement capabilities that you can pass, the buying in an open marketplace is much more difficult,” Smith says. “We’re seeing some success with desktop there, but really for the platforms that are emerging that almost has to be sold through private marketplaces today.”

Another emerging trend Smith notes is programmatic guarantees involving “the idea of a traditional Upfront deal that’s executed on an IO basis” but run through “a programmatic pipe.”

Asked where things might progress in the next 12 months, Smith hopes for less fragmented programmatic capabilities and better measurement, leading to convergence of linear and other premium video “so that publishers can monetize it as a unified pool but also marketers can access their target audience across any screen.”

He believes that FreeWheel both from the digital and linear side “is in a great position to make that happen for the ecosystem.”

This interview was recorded in Manhattan as part of the Comcast/FreeWheel 2017 U.S. Client Summit “Unifying The New TV Ecosystem.” This series of videos from the summit is presented by FreeWheel.

July 27 2017


Out-Of-Home Viewing Metric Assigns Value To Overlooked Audiences: Nielsen’s Kelly Abcarian on Turner Deal

Television networks whose programming is seen in such out-of-home venues as airports, restaurants and offices are getting a welcome lift from Nielsen. Lift as in the incremental size of OOH audiences beyond traditional ratings metrics.

Time Warner’s CNN and Turner Sports this week signed on for Nielsen’s OOH measurement service, which uses a panel of 77,000 people across the top 44 DMA’s to capture viewing that has typically gone uncounted.

“This really enables the industry as a whole to assign value to the audiences that are being captured and not currently tracked in the traditional ratings up to this point,” Kelly Abcarian, Senior Vice President, Product Leadership, Nielsen says in this interview with Beet.TV.

Under terms of the agreement with Nielsen, the Turner units will get viewership credit for both program and commercial ratings for up to seven days of viewing of various pieces of content, as Variety reports. CNN is the first news network to make use of the Nielsen technology. Disney’s ESPN and 21st Century Fox’s Fox Sports already subscribe to the service.

For cable sports or cable news, Nielsen has seen lifts on a total day of 8 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, according to Abcarian.

The OOH metrics are a separate number that do not contribute directly to C3 or C7 ratings. “But it is a Nielsen metric that then gets made available to the buying platforms as well to allow buyers and sellers to transact on those audiences,” Abcarian adds.

As Nielsen adds more networks on a national level to its OOH offering, it’s also making it available to local stations and cable networks.

“We really see this as a broad coverage play to ensure that these audiences are being counted across our national ratings and our local ratings alike.”

The 77,000-person panel, when projected out, represents about 65% of U.S. TV households, according to Abcarian.


Fox Networks’ Noah Levine On The Six-Second Ad Format, Enhanced FX Offerings

Pleasing television viewers while meeting advertiser goals is the constant balancing act facing ad-supported content providers. With this in mind, Fox Networks Group recently embraced YouTube’s six-second ad format as it continues to experiment with limited-ad offerings and enhanced audience targeting.

“Our biggest form of competition in human attention in the entertainment television space is ad-free viewing environments versus ad-supported viewing environments,” says Noah Levine, Senior Vice President of Advertising Data and Technology Solutions for Fox Networks Group.

Fox aspires not only to preserve TV as an ad-supported medium but also to “enhance its market messaging, its brand safety, its effectiveness and the quality of ad recall,” Levine says in this interview with Beet.TV.

Fox used the occasion of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity to lend its weight to the six-second ad format that YouTube launched last year, as Advertising Age reports. Fox’s six-second ads will be shown to viewers across its digital and on-demand properties, where they will be unskippable, along with linear TV.

The rationale behind supporting six-second ads is that if agencies and advertisers are embracing a format that reduces the amount of time people are obligated to spend watching commercials while supporting advertisers’ goals, “That’s something that we’re absolutely willing to embrace and experiment with,” Levine adds.

Fox’s FX Networks already has some of the most Emmy nominated and awarded TV content that is ad-supported. To preserve and enhance the viewer experience, FX has crafted an option for set-top box, video-on-demand and digital content.

Under this scenario, “essentially an advertiser would own the entire ad viewing experience for an individual viewer and craft a story from a brand messaging perspective, from pre-roll to each and every mid-roll,” Levine explains.

Another FX offering consists of sponsored ad breaks wherein mid-roll positions “can be one ad that isn’t competing for attention along with four other 30-second ads for the viewer.”

Fox’s limited-ad options can be targeted to specific types of content, whether it’s FX originals, movie or other programming, according to Levine.

With audience-based targeting, Fox seeks to go beyond age and gender. “Let’s go into enhanced demographics. Let’s look at the third-party data sets that are out there” to deliver the most effective and engaging advertising “that’s as relevant as possible to the end user.

This interview was recorded in Manhattan as part of the Comcast/FreeWheel 2017 U.S. Client Summit “Unifying the New TV Ecosystem.” This series of videos from the summit is presented by FreeWheel.

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