CES: Acxiom Combines Allant Group Assets And Upgrades Addressable TV Platform

acxiom tvAcxiom has released an addressable TV product, built from a segmentation platform it acquired in early December from the Allant Group.

The tool, announced this week at CES, leverages Acxiom’s workflow automation software and its relationships with multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). It’s not meant to execute on media buys.

“We’re on a mission to make TV more targetable and measurable,” said Eric Schmitt, Acxiom’s VP of advanced advertising, who came to the company following the purchase of Allant’s advanced ads unit. “There are two sides to that. Enabling those capabilities for those folks who are selling that media, and there’s enabling the use of those capabilities for those who are buying the media.”

On the buy side, advertisers or their agencies can onboard first-party data lists – or use Acxiom’s library – to identify household segments (i.e., households with children that are in the market for pickup trucks). Acxiom declined to identify its data partners, saying it would need permission to do so.

MVPDs, meanwhile, provide information about who their subscribers are to enable segmentation. “That data will only be used with qualified advertisers who are interested in buying their media,” Schmitt said.

Certainly MVPDs increasingly offer addressable TV functionality themselves. Cablevision – recently purchased by Altice – often talks about its census-level data as a differentiator in offering addressable ad buys.

Acxiom’s take: That’s great, unless your goal as an ad buyer is to purchase across numerous MVPDs.

“Each of those MVPDs have different data agreements with a different number of data providers,” Schmitt said. “Some have census data, some have auto data, some have demographic data. It’s a slow and manual process.”

So if an advertiser wants to reach renters, different MVPDs have different data sources, which can make it difficult to consolidate an addressable ad strategy. Acxiom’s Audience Interconnect (formerly Allant’s) is designed to allow buys across different MVPD data sources in a more automated way – which can happen because Acxiom has a lot of those data relationships in place.

Specifically, Audience Interconnect is designed to automate segment creation and the delivery of those segments to various MVPDs. In this way, Acxiom said, it helps address issues of scale that plague addressable TV buying.

“Another dimension of scale is being able to use the same segments in an easy way across multiple MVPDs,” Schmitt added.

Additionally, Acxiom’s offering, while not in itself a measurement platform, can enable measurement. Addressable TV spend was only $200 million to $300 million in 2014 by some measures, but eMarketer expects it to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry within a few years. While that’s still chump change compared to TV’s overall $70 billion budget, increased investment in addressability means advertisers want better insight into how their buys performed, Schmitt said: “They still need to more precisely measure the effectiveness of that campaign against that audience.”

Acxiom intends more TV-related products for 2016, said Rick Erwin, president of the company’s Audience Solutions division. Schmitt added that Acxiom is going after addressability now because automating and streamlining those processes is “low-hanging fruit,” but that the company’s capabilities go beyond that. These include buying spot cable or local broadcast advertising at the DMA level, so national chains might know which geographies have their best audiences.

Schmitt also said Acxiom can allow national broadcasters to know which shows or time slots tend to overindex for certain audience segments. Those broadcasters can then sell those audiences to advertisers that covet them.

So how does Acxiom’s addressable TV platform link up with its other data marketing products, like Audience Operating System? That’s still to come.

“We see a lot of hype and hot talk about TV to online, online to TV,” Erwin said. “That doesn’t correspond with real meaningful marketing effectiveness. When it’s real and meaningful, we’ll talk about other connections across the data-driven marketing ecosystem.”



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