Cablevision Says Audience Addressability Will Trump Cookies And Proxies

BenTattaA programmatic API for cable television?

Cablevision, a telecom and cable systems company reaching 2.5 million households in the New York tristate region, claims it has developed one.

It launched Total Audience Application (TAPP) last Thursday, an audience-planning tool that allows marketers to apply first- and third-party data to optimize addressable or linear TV campaigns. WPP’s GroupM, Horizon Media and Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest are all beta testing the product.

“This is the first real integrated system we’re seeing from the sell side where we’re able to pull in census-level data in a really turnkey way,” Tracey Scheppach, EVP of Precision Video for Starcom MediaVest, told AdExchanger.

Ideally, agencies and brands, however, will want a consolidated offering where “we won’t have a unique log-in for every inventory source,” she said. “I’m not going to want to log in to Cablevision, DirecTV, DISH and Scripps … it will need to be connected more into our systems and Mediaocean and trafficking/ billing.”

Cablevision Media sales President Ben Tatta said TAPP also makes household attributes accessible. And while household addressable may not be right for every buyer, he predicted the overall household addressable market, which commands only some $200 million to $300 million in ad spend, will double within the next two years.

Tatta spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: What is your audience reach?

BEN TATTA: We service just over 2.5 million households, which extends out to 7 million set-top boxes, so we’re pulling second-by-second tune-in and viewership data and advertisers are able to append tune-in data to first- or third-party data.

How does it benefit the advertiser?

We can express audiences and impressions and ratings based on household attributes defined by the client, whether that’s something pulled out of their CRM system or segmentation database or third-party data like Acxiom, Experian or Polk with automotive, so they can actually look at media placement and plan on that basis based on audiences they define. 

With addressable, the ability to target down to the household level is a unique capability, when historically it’s been bought on an age and gender basis. Here, we have thousands of attributes.

Can you give an example of an addressable attribute?

Whether they choose to run addressably or not is more of an execution component meaning if you’re a pet retailer and you only want to target pet-owning households, then you can select that segment and buy on an impression basis or you can choose to run an optimized media schedule that maximizes reach against those attributes. Then, as the campaign runs, we provide pieces of information, so this ability to optimize is there since we’re providing impression-delivery data as the campaign runs. This is what’s been done on the web for years where you can buy on a granular basis, target and then optimize. For television, optimization is like a foreign concept.

Are you referring to optimization while flighting the campaign or post-campaign analysis?

Typically you get a monthly “has run” report that shows you performance-related information, which allows you to buy on a more efficient basis but also optimize the result. In any addressable campaign or impression-based campaign, we also have the benefit of census-level ad exposure on the back end. We can then match that up with first- or third-party data to see what the conversion and ROI was again for the campaign. Our intent with TAPP was to make this data available in a really simple-to-use, easy basis, which is a challenge with big data – delivering it in a form that’s usable and actionable.

Do you supply a data-management component?

We defer to the marketers, especially when we deal with first-party data on both sides. It would always go through a safe haven and it’s not like we store any of this data. The records are anonymized. When it comes to matching, we’d go through a neutral third party like Acxiom or Experian.

Aren’t there only 42 million households that have the capability for dynamic ad insertion?

Scale will come in two forms. One is expansion on the core television platform and the other is cross-platform addressable. Because we’re dealing with authenticated data, we’re not using cookies and proxies to determine who someone is. We have matching attributes, which is more unique than doing say, cookie matching. But being able to run a synchronized addressable schedule across our platforms needs centralized measurement and that’s where we’ll see a lot of growth. Most of the operating business is pushing aggressively into (addressable) and it’s not too far-fetched to assume that total household number will double in the next 18-34 months.

Is demand there on the buy side?

There are a lot of advertisers who have embraced addressable and in the next few years it will be pervasive. It’s getting more specific when you’re targeting multiple household segments with different pieces of ad copy. Underneath all of this, it’s really the underlying data which is most valuable. The key is getting to double measurement, because TV historically was measured through this tiny sample and this is moving more toward a Google model where it’s much more real-time, with the ability to optimize [the placement] for the show or time that a show runs, as well as audience attribute.

Will ratings go away?

If I see one more player [who claims to be programmatic] that optimizes the purchase of units on a GRP basis only, I’m going to kill myself. You have to be able to report and buy on impressions and CPMs too because GRPs and ratings will history in a few years. It’s a gross way of measuring things.


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