Visible World Taps FourthWall To Support Addressable TV Ads

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Claudio Marcus and Wal HorstmanAddressable TV ads company Visible World is working with FourthWall Media to make it easier for cable operators to deploy Household Addressable TV Advertising across any of the major cable operators' set-top boxes.

FourthWall Media purchased digital TV ad management platform Navic from Microsoft in May 2012. Following that deal, Navic was folded into FourthWall's MassiveData division, which collects and analyzes set-top box data and is the key component in the collaboration between FourthWall and Visible World.

"It's one thing to be able to identify the right person or household for a certain kind of ad, but it's another thing entirely to tailor an ad for that audience target," said Claudio Marcus, EVP for marketing and research at Visible World. "That's already possible for display advertising. The partnership with FourthMedia's MassiveData, and a number of other partnerships that are still in the works, means that we'll be able to close a significant loop that remained open around addressable TV and make it more like the best of display."

Although Visible World has its own separate deals with the cable MSOs to serve addressable ads, it must coordinate that delivery on an individual basis. FourthWall, through MassiveData's household analytics, can help shape the specific messaging for Visible World's targeted ads. The goal is to create "real-time video customization" of TV ads.

The partnership with FourthWall was prompted by a mutual client, said Marcus: "The point is, we'll both be able to share mutual services for all of our respective clients going forward."

Meanwhile, Visible World's AudienceXpress workflow and data management subsidiary is also exploring partnerships to support its core business. In creating AudienceXpress, Visible World – which employs 80 – keeps the lines between its revenue model serving both the buy and sell sides intact. AudienceXpress was set up as a supply-side platform for addressable TV. In essence, Visible World makes money by licensing its technology and applications on a "software as a service" basis. Its SaaS business charges clients on the "breadth of the deployment and/or expected volume of campaigns."

The five-month-old unit offers a metric called the AudienceXpress Ratings Point, which is a play on Nielsen's Gross Ratings Point – the standard measurement for TV and cable viewership along demographic lines that's the lingua franca for buyers, planners and sellers. In a sense, the AXRP is similar to Nielsen's GRP in construction. But instead of general audience tallies, the AXRP measures the audience of a program based on income, buying patterns, viewer activity – anything that characterizes the audience precisely.

AudienceXpress's GM Walt Horstman says, "Ultimately, we want to move beyond the planning and buying arena into attribution metrics and measuring effectiveness while the campaign is on air."

AudienceXpress offers a dedicated sales platform and backend software that on its surface seems similar to what Visible World already provides in addressable TV. But Horstman said the businesses are different enough to cause conflicts. Hence the creation of a separate company which could pursue other lines of business, such as attribution and metrics, apart from the making and marketing of hardware and software.

Bringing in additional partners, particularly when it comes to data, is something that Visible World believes can significantly maintain and improve its standing, as the topics of cross-platform ad sales between TV, PC and mobile become more common among major media and ad companies.

The premise comes down to offering services that appeals to TV's traditional "short-tail" – or more highly rated buys for general, mass viewerships – as well as to the long-tail, which is more associated with niche-oriented viewing topics like cooking or sports programming that are not as popular with the general public.

"It's not about choosing one form of advertising or another that drives success," said Visible World's Marcus. "And it's not about who you're targeting. It's all about how the process is done and who can best achieve those client goals more fully."

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