Turner Broadcasting On A Quest To Prove The Value Of TV Advertising

DonnaSpecialeBroadcasters are exploring data as a way to prove the efficacy of their owned and operated inventory.

Turner Broadcasting is the latest. The cable network – owner of CNN, TBS and Adult Swim, among others – recently partnered with marketing analytics platform MarketShare, through which it will offer a forecasting tool called Turner Incite during this season’s Upfront.

Turner Incite is designed to help advertisers apportion ad spend across the network’s portfolio, Speciale said.

“It may show them that they’re spending X amount of dollars on TBS and TNT, when in fact [it might benefit them more] to spend on CNN or on original programming,” said Donna Speciale, president of ad sales at Turner Broadcasting.

Speciale said she hopes this offering will help Turner eventually provide different guarantees based on different targeting parameters.

Turner has worked to improve its targeting and attribution capabilities. Last year, it rolled out Targeting Now and ROI Now so brands could measure the sales impact of their multiscreen campaigns. Turner Incite is similar to the ROI Now attribution tool, though it has richer analytics and more data sets.

“Television has been bought on very broad data points, such as adults age 18-49, for a long time,” Speciale said.

MarketShare’s analytics platform, dubbed DecisionCloud, lets Turner advertising clients work with a greater range of data sets. Automotive clients, for instance, might use Polk data, or retailer clients could use credit card data from Rentrak, Speciale said.

MarketShare’s analytics also considers external factors that might influence consumer buying, including economic insights like oil prices and competitive pricing intelligence.

Turner Incite is also intended to influence ad spend in the scatter market, ad slots not reserved during the upfronts, typically sold closer to a program’s air date.

“We can now model [results from the upfront] and say, ‘What are the best KPIs and business outcomes you can modify to in order to better spend your $2 million-$3 million dollars in the first quarter?” Speciale said.

Given the amount of ad budget devoted to TV – a 30-second Super Bowl TV spot this year cost $4.5 million – Speciale said clients want proof it works.

This demand changes how networks negotiate with clients. NBCUniversal, for instance, now surfaces both set-top box and third-party data to narrow down an advertiser’s commitments and enable tighter audience targeting.

Despite having attribution tools, publishers sometimes overstate the advertorial value of their content, noted MarketShare’s CEO Wes Nichols. In some instances, MarketShare’s models have shown advertisers were in fact overspending on a specific media property.

Typically media companies see this as an opportunity to improve their own offering, but there are exceptions.

“There are plenty of media companies who [would prefer to] bury the numbers and we’ve walked away from those deals,” Nichols said. “In an era of transparency, you can’t bullshit your way to better business performance. We intentionally [refrain from a] business model where we take a stake in media placements or anything that would seemingly impact our objectivity.”

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