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Can TV Be A Performance Channel?

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Arjun Kapur, managing director & founder, Forecast Labs

Television advertising has the reputation of mainly being a vehicle for branding.

But that’s a misconception, says Arjun Kapur, managing partner and founder of Comcast’s Forecast Labs, speaking on this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks.

Branding and performance are a continuum, and TV has the potential to drive outcomes as much as any digital channel.

“Every interaction with a company is a point of branding, and every interaction with a company is a point of potential conversion,” says Kapur, who previously led marketing initiatives at TheLadders, Squarespace, Shutterstock and HelloFresh before joining Comcast and launching Forecast Labs in 2019.

Forecast is a venture group housed within Comcast NBCUniversal that helps consumer-facing startups generate revenue using a cost-per-acquisition-based TV advertising model.

Rather than writing a big fat check to a founder – who in turn writes numerous big fat checks to the large social platforms, where customer acquisition costs are on the rise – Forecast partners with startups on growth plans that center on TV media, including direct response.

The companies in its investment portfolio include Instacart, Acorns, women’s telehealth platform Nurx, meal delivery service Tovala, fintech and mortgage lender Neat Loans and eco-friendly cleaning products company Blueland.

Forecast earns its equity, Kapur says, and only gets a stake in businesses if it’s able to prove that the customers it attracts are incremental.

“Instead of giving [startups] money and then sitting back and hoping they actually did well … we flipped the model,” he says. “We’re not giving them the money; we’re giving them the customers and then taking equity in return.”

Also in this episode: How the stormy economic environment is affecting Forecast’s investment priorities, measuring the value of TV advertising, evolving beyond the DTC social media marketing-focused growth playbook and that time Kapur’s basset hound, Hunter, almost got to meet Will Ferrell.

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