Home Digital TV and Video Broadcaster Data Boosts Targeting, But Buyers Need Comparable Metrics

Broadcaster Data Boosts Targeting, But Buyers Need Comparable Metrics


WalledWith TV upfront negotiations underway, digital tactics are wielding more influence as networks court buyers with cross-platform guarantees and enhanced data products.

“You can still invest client dollars in proven media, but upfronts are now about online video partnerships you can make long-term investments in,” said Maureen Bosetti, the chief investment officer for Interpublic Group’s Initiative, at Videonuze’s Video Ad Summit on Tuesday. “We’re able to lock in the flighting we need and secure guarantees on those longer-term commitments.”

Like NBCUniversal, which revealed it would offer guaranteed on-target delivery on first- and third-party data versus just a standard Nielsen rating, Fox Networks took a similar approach in its upfront pitch. It rolled out a tool this spring called Audience Insights Manager, or “AIM,” which guarantees audience delivery both for linear and cross-platform programming.

“The market’s been extremely receptive, and we’ll know in a couple of months how [it’s performing] but there’s a desire for media agencies to transact on other currencies like comScore and Rentrak,” said Dan Callahan, VP of programmatic sales for Fox Networks Group. “Nielsen age and gender demos are still the baseline, but the conversation has moved to secondary targets.”

Despite these attempts to diversify television currency and price on audience delivery, some network execs say implementing anything beyond the familiar Nielsen standard still slows down the buying process. 

“There’s all these different viewability products and each one promises to reach different people, so there’s a lot of inconsistency,” said Peter Olsen, EVP of national ad sales for A+E Networks. “You waste a lot of time explaining how we measure things or do we use [comScore] vCE? Converged metrics would be a huge benefit.”

While one agency buyer applauded networks like NBCU for opening up its data set for precision targeting purposing, it harks back to the early ad net days when buyers accepted early on that the publisher’s version of their data set was better than their own.

MVPDs and networks like NBCU, Fox, Turner, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, for instance, each have separate audience indexing tools, yet buyers want to ingest data from multiple networks and apply it across their buys.

Some buyers layer in purchase-based or other third-party data to validate a network’s audience viewership claims.

“Most of our upfront buys have a converged component – whether it’s over-the-top, linear or digital,” said Mitch Weinstein, SVP and director of ad operations for IPG Mediabrands. “We’re starting to find audiences using data sets we’ve never used before, mainly from satellite [TV providers], but we’re more recently using Nielsen Catalina and Datalogix to match back to audiences who are more likely to purchase.”

Although buyers want to ensure their ads have been viewed, especially as more TV dollars shift to smart TV environments, certain digital metrics like viewability and completion rates don’t hold equal weight to outcomes in the converged video environment.


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Video buyers’ appetite for business outcomes (sales/improved ROI or conversion) is why enterprise companies like IBM, Adobe and Oracle Marketing Cloud increasingly are entering TV data activations when they were historically absent from such negotiations.

“You don’t care if an ad is viewable or not if someone fills out a quote and you’re an insurance provider,” said David Simon, VP of inventory acquisition for AOL’s publisher platform. “Being able to onboard that first-party data gives me a trading advantage. Look at all the money Oracle and IBM are spending on marketing clouds. It’s not so they can optimize to a Nielsen standard.”

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