Viacom: ‘Our Product Is Content, Our Currency Is Audiences’

TapadUnifyChannels are so last season.

“I don’t care what device you’re on – I care about reaching you at the right time,” said Robert Spratlen, Viacom’s VP of digital media, data and audience development at Viacom, at Tapad Unify Tech ’15 on Thursday in New York. “Our product is content, our currency is audiences.”

These days, it’s about identity and channel agnosticism, said Deanie Elsner, former EVP and CMO of Kraft Foods Group. Marketers don’t want names or PII – they want individuals, she said.

“Anonymized non-transactional is fine for me … and if you do this well, the ability for you to be precise and accurate, the ability for you to drive a much bigger bang for every dollar you are spending, increases tenfold,” Elsner said. “This literally means going from demographically defined consumer cohorts delivered through a medium to individuals at scale delivered agnostic to the medium.”

But cross-platform measurement has been a fly in the ointment of that great dream, and last-click and other less-than-representative attribution metrics are particularly irrelevant for omnichannel campaigns – even those that include linear television.

To that end, Tapad announced at the show that it’s in the process of rolling out cross-device measurement for linear TV data tied to its device graph. MediaHub, the media planning and buying arm of Mullen Lowe, is Tapad’s launch partner on the initiative. Set to go live later this month, Tapad is testing the capability, dubbed TV Pulse, with MediaHub clients VH1 and National Geographic Channel.

TV Pulse can inform multiple use cases, said Tapad CEO and founder Are Traasdahl. If viewers watch an ad on TV, Pulse can connect that exposure back to other devices or to physical store visits. If users have their first ad exposure on a phone or tablet, Tapad claims to be able to see if and when those people tune into a particular TV program down the line.

The data powering Tapad’s TV Pulse comes through a partnership with an unnamed first-party data supplier.

“We are starting to get toward the dream and the goal here, which is to get this complete 360 view on the consumer across all devices,” Traasdahl said.

Tying television to digital is part of the overall march toward omnichannel.

“We want to reach our audiences wherever they are online,” said Mike Haben, manager of programmatic media at Accuen, Omnicom Media Group’s programmatic agency. “The only way we get there is to have a fluid budget, one that is not tethered to any specific screen or device.”

In other TV-related news, advanced TV ad company Allant announced Thursday that it’s going to start incorporating retail purchase data from Nielsen Catalina Solutions into an addressable TV solution with the goal of placing ads into programs or networks based off of a desired audience’s past purchases.

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