Sinclair Reveals National Capabilities and Data Insights

Sinclair Broadcast Group recently completed a groundbreaking study as part of a US International Media’s Secret Society initiative pairing Sinclair and Tribune stations and using Nielsen and comScore/Rentrak measurements. This study had a clear purpose - Sinclair wanted the ability to attract more national dollars into local and, by using data, enhance the value of their inventory for these national clients.

The project, presided over by USIM’s Director, Advanced Television, Mitch Oscar, convened as a “Data-ist” subgroup this past week to explore the initiative. “We always want to fly visibly under the radar and find the next trends,” posited Mitch. The results, presented by Stephen Spencer, Sr. Financial Analyst, Sinclair Broadcast Group, proved that not only was it possibly to roll up a programmatic buy into a nationalized footprint, it was also possible to measure it, with de-duped data, at a level that offers greater granularity, larger, more stable population sizes for niche targets and less data volatility.

Russell Zingale, President, Eastern Region, USIM, outlined the approach, “We were able to put two stations groups together with Sinclair’s help and take national money and move it more efficiently into local impact. Further, we wanted to be able to use a comScore/Rentrak guarantee to see what we could learn vis a vis Nielsen. This was helpful for our clients and a learning experience for the industry. We wanted to maintain our impression guarantee on our primary demo age and gender but also utilize the behavioral aspects of the consumer target to deliver more in the secondary target without hurting the primary target.”

Going National Programmatic
The first step in a national campaign is to be able to advertise to a national footprint. USIM was interested in working with Sinclair, whose footprint is not quite as national as what was needed - 40% of the country. But in partnership with Tribune stations, the usable footprint expanded to 80% of the country, about the reach of most cable networks. With a nationalized footprint having been achieved and a target audience of downscale Adults 25-54 identified, the next step was to examine the potential results of a campaign using comScore/Rentrak data and Nielsen data.

Maximizing Panel Size
Data has become central to the new technological sales process but the Secret Society has revealed challenges with the data that have previously not been discussed publically. One is the large issue of data duplication that was presented in the previous meeting . For this data sub-group meeting, data stability and volatility was explored. 

Stephen outlined the reasoning for comparing Nielsen to comScore/Rentrak, “We compared panel size for both Nielsen and comScore/Rentrak to establish a baseline to examine stability and granularity of the reported viewing. In the three markets we selected, panel size difference was meaningful: Washington (165,000 homes/comScore vs. 800/Nielsen), Cincinnati (41,200/ comScore vs. 500/Nielsen) and Little Rock (91,700 comScore/ 300/Nielsen). In our opinion the larger the panel penetration in the market correlated to the more stable the reported viewing. We saw less hills and valleys on programs that aired during the same time period across the week.” 

Increasing Data Stability
The three markets in the January 2016 buy represented the three different Nielsen data collection methods. Washington is measured by people meter, Cincinnati is measured by household meter and Little Rock is measured by diary. Campaign deliveries from these three markets with their three different Nielsen collection methods were compared to each market’s STB data, collected from comScore/Remtrak.   The target was a25-54 with incomes below $30k. As Jonathan Spaet, VP Network Sales and Development, Sinclair, explained, “Our retail client wanted to use adults 25-54 in early morning, daytime and fringe in an equitable distribution and equitable rotation. We came up with a schedule and ran the exact same ads on Sinclair and Tribune and analyzed the first week of the schedule using both data sets.”

The results - In the larger markets there was less difference in delivery between the two measurement services but as Nielsen measurement sample size decreased, there was more volatility and bounce, resulting in larger differences in delivery compared to the STB data. The concerns of the agency were flow stability, consistency and granularity (which included how to best combine the three data collections of Nielsen people meter, household meter and diary) and the fair comparison to comScore/Rentrak STB data. This was all achieved. “The biggest issue we have is post buys and stewardship” stated Steve Lanzano, President of the TVB.

Russell concluded, “We need a standard that we can plan against. Agencies have limited resources and we can post on many different metrics. There has to be one way to test and see how it goes and track calls we are getting for our client. We decided to measure our buy on comScore / Rentrak grps which for us had more stability, to see how it drove the business.”

For Steve Pruett, Chief Operating Officer, Sinclair TV Group, this initiative was an excellent first step. “As a result of this project, Sinclair and Tribune will continue to work together to expand our relationship in order to pursue network and programmatic dollars," he stated.

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Nationalizing STB Data Driven Sales – The Cablevision and Fourthwall Partnership

With all of the data initiatives out there, I am personally drawn to Cablevision’s whose STB data represents the largest and most diverse DMA in the country.  Currently weighing in at 2.6 million homes and 7.2 million STBs, it covers linear, live and VOD tuning. So it was with great interest that I sat down with Paul Haddad, SVP and GM, Advanced Data Analytics, Cablevision Media Sales and Bill Feininger, President, Fourthwall, to discuss their recent partnership and how Cablevision data insights could be incorporated into a more national footprint.

Cablevision has developed two types of portfolios using data. The first is for the advertising arm of Cablevision Media Sales to help sell audience for impressions based campaigns. The other is, according to Paul, “a standalone system for programmers who do business with Cablevision. This portfolio helps them with analytics services which include in-depth program analysis by specific segments, advanced research of the effectiveness and the health of their programming and campaigns they ran locally or nationally, and audience reach and frequency by relevant segments.” In the past this analysis would be solely in the Cablevision coverage area but now with the addition of Fourthwall data, it enables analysis beyond the footprint.

I was curious as to why Cablevision would choose Fourthwall as a partner. Paul explained, “We did an evaluation of different datasets and were seeking an unbiased party that was pure in its offering. Other datasets, such as those from other MVPDs and SmartTVs were biased, in our opinion, because they were from only one source. We too are considered a biased source being an MVPD. We wanted purity and neutrality of the data collection and quality and there was only one – Fourthwall – where we liked the representativeness of the Fourthwall markets given that it aligns well with where we want to go. We wanted markets across the country to analyze and understand the nuances of Television viewership across these markets. We also wanted Live and DVR data combined given that a lot of valuable insights can be provided by analyzing and understanding the shift of audiences between these two mediums. Other datasets have either Live and VOD, but not DVR.” 

The key applications for this partnership are:

          Audience Based Media Planning for brands or programmers with national media plans based on audiences with expanded attributes beyond age and gender. It is possible to create segmentations and receive plans that they can then execute. 

   Programming Conversion Analysis looking at the relationship between live and DVR viewing, reach and frequency, household that might have viewed last year versus this year and the conversion of the targeted audience after the campaign.

           Audience Analysis looking at loyal viewers and how their viewing has evolved in the current season. Did they move from linear to DVR, for example, and the programs audience analytics. 

                 National Advertising Analytics where campaigns are run with the use of extended datasets to measure conversion to specific audiences reached. 

From Fourthwall’s perspective, Bill explained that, “FourthWall Media serves the industry as a data provider and also provides the keys to link 1st and 3rd party data.  These patent-pending techniques allow our clients to go from traditional age/gender targeting to purchase behaviors, loyalty card members’ viewership, etc.  The intent is to be able to find very specific audience segments.  Our dataset and matching services make this happen.”

It is my personal hope that the industry moves from silo’ed proprietary data solutions to something that can be syndicate-able and delivers powerful insights and analytics. Paul agreed and said, “We are focused on building an open and advanced analytics platform using first party and census-level MVPD data to help evolve the legacy TV measurement methodologies. Such an offering is desperately needed by programmers and advertisers today so they can understand the dynamics that are impacting their marketing, programming, and ad sales initiatives, and to make better decisions that can help them compete with the analytics-savvy competitors. Our goal is to also help evolve the research function - that currently uses sample or hybrid data models - to a powerful analytics function using census level data sets and advance analytics platforms. By joining with Fourthwall, we are implementing our plan to do this at scale and we support bringing more companies into our model as we find additional quality data sets.”

I am personally optimistic.

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Matching Audio to the Screen. Interview with Yaniv Davidson of Tunity

Yaniv Davidson, Founder of Tunity, studied engineering before moving into the mobile space doing R&D for Intel and as CTO of a security startup. From there he moved into the digital sphere – advising Fortune 500 CEOs at BCG and as VP in a WPP funded start up where he saw how brands were spending money on media. His company, Tunity, uses mobile technology to stream audio to users in front of Out-of-Home screens where the audio might be muted such as at airports, sports bars or gyms.

Charlene Weisler: What made you explore this part of the media business?

Yaniv Davidson: In the U.S. according to Nielsen, almost 10% of viewership hours is Out-of-Home. The experience for the viewer is terrible because most of the time you can’t hear it. And on top of that, networks and advertisers can’t really know who is watching what. There are studies that report generally who is watching and you can see different networks trying to quantify that but nobody has the technology or the ability to actually measure these people. 

So what we do in Tunity – we created a computer vision and deep learning based technology that lets anyone scan the TV for a second. We detect the channel and detect the timing and stream the audio directly to their mobile phones. What we enable is a much better experience for the consumer by accessing the audio to match the video feed and we enable the network and their advertisers to measure that 10% of the market which is actually 10% of a $70 to $80 billion a year market (in the US). That is what we are focusing on now.

Charlene: What else can you do with this technology?

Yaniv: In general, what we want to do with the technology is to enable any consumer to connect with any visual content wherever they are – TV in and Out-of-Home, Digital Signage, Digital OutofHome – whatever you see, you will be able to scan, detect the content and we will be able to stream not only the audio but any type of synchronized content – content that relates to you, that you clearly signaled you are interested in and trying to connect with. 

On top of measuring Out of Home viewership, we are creating a platform that connects every viewer to additional content and advertising. We are enabling brands and advertisers to create more effective content for Digital Out-of-Home, measure exactly who is interested in that content and adding a channel where they can go back and retarget the consumer with a personalized offer or message.

Charlene: What type of data can you collect and how can it be used?

Yaniv: When you scan the TV we know who you are because you have either signed up with an email or signed up with Facebook and we know what you are watching now and what you have watched in the past. That is the initial data that we already have. We are working on extracting even more demographics from your location, from your viewing, etc. I see our data product in the same way that Nielsen did or is doing for in-home viewership. I want to do the same thing for Out-of-Home viewership. I want to supply TV networks and advertisers with data that looks and feels exactly the same.  Of course, on top of the viewership data, there is a lot of additional data that can be used for better understanding viewers and consumers and for measuring and improving advertising.

Charlene: Where do you see companies like Tunity that capture activity out of home viewing going in the next few years?

Yaniv: We are extremely focused on enabling anyone watching out of home to hear the audio as well as capturing all of that viewership data for networks. That is what we are doing now. I think Tunity as a technology and as a platform, the way we see it three to five years from now, is to enable any user, any consumer to interact with any video content wherever they are – in and out of home and digital signage.
For media in general, TV is not dead and I think out of home viewership of TV will become a bigger part of the overall linear TV market. If you think about it, what do people watch linearly today? Mainly two things – news and sports. Much of that content is watched live and that is what people are watching out of home. So I think that even if linear TV will grow more slowly, it is still going to be a huge market and within that, out of home will actually grow faster compared to the overall TV growth.

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CIMM Continues to Pave the Way for Cross Platform Measurement

CIMM, The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, hosted its 5th Annual Cross Platform Media Measurement and Data Summit last week. The organization has accomplished a lot in the past five years. 

Jane Clarke, CEO and Managing Director, outlined CIMM’s mission which is to “foster innovation in cross platform measurement, bring more granular measurement to TV and look at measurement in new ways. We pilot test new measurement tools to meet the needs of users. It has been a multi-year effort of working together to drive change in media measurement.” 

Goals and Actions For Cross Platform Measurement
CIMM seeks to establish a clear understanding of consumer centric usage across all platforms, to measure exposure by pilot testing touchpoints and to evaluate the results. “Enriching media data quality is the key to ROI and data quality is increasingly important for enhancing the buying currency. CIMM is advocating for more passive measurement at scale, linking census based with shopping behavior,” Clarke stated as she announced a Measurement Manifesto that has three goals and eight actions.
The “must haves” for cross platform media measurement are:
       --Accurate representation of cross device universe at scale to use advanced audience segments.
Ø        --An efficient supply chain to real time, with timing comparable to digital.
Ø        --Comparable metrics across platforms with a standard video to average minute to measure ads.

The Actions taken to achieve these goals are:
Ø        -- Embrace competition.
Ø       --  MRC standards.
Ø       --    Move beyond panels, embrace big data and move to census measurements in TV and digital.
Ø       --  Bring more return path data to market for planning. Nationally represent SmartTV and STB data.
Ø       --Measure Out of Home in the ratings. Measure across all possible media points.
Ø       --  Measure both households and individuals.
Ø        -- Implement standardized metadata for content and ads.
Ø       --Demand transparency from 3rd party data companies, linking IDs across devices and channels.

The Impact of Data
Artie Bulgrin, SVP Global Research & Analytics, ESPN, moderated the first panel on Cross Media and Data and asked his panel whether we will see a move away from age and gender demos in buying and selling media across platforms. Michael Strober, in a new role as EVP Client Strategy and Ad Innovation, Turner, replied, “Currently there is too much of the business activating on age and gender.” But, he added, “We are working towards a variety of measurements.” Michael Piner, SVP Investment, MAGNA GLOBAL, was more open to change and said, “We are working towards it. If we can use and overlay third party data, then we don't need (to buy on) age and gender.”

Data rules, according to the panel, whether first or third party. Benjamin Jankowski, Group Head, Global Media, MasterCard, explained, “We have our own data which drives quantitative actions. We can create segments - not individuals because of privacy. The qualitative side is more ahead of the curve. We use social listening to know people's interests.” Piner said, “We use a tremendous amount of big data, are incorporating it into the data stack and ingesting it into our planning system.”

Progress on Cross Platform Measurement
Alan Wurtzel, President, Research & Media Development moderated a panel of end users. When asked how they were using the data to facilitate cross platform measurement, Don Robert, EVP Research and Analytics, A+E Networks spoke of his company’s recent efforts. “We are monetizing cross platform effectively by examining how each platform looks when you take out the commercial units. We are looking at program impressions by duration using currency data based on impressions,” he explained.

However, data delivery lag is a challenge for an industry used to overnight ratings. Ed Gaffney, Managing Partner, Director of Tactical Planning, GroupM explained, “While problems can be solved by research and good quality data, there also needs to be good velocity. The data can’t be six months old. We need it now so we can see what lift we get.”  This means that, for the foreseeable future, the industry is expected to stick with the usual data suspects for upfront buying.  “Nielsen is currency,” Gaffney said, “That is where we are going to do business. We work with comScore (for digital) and Nielsen (for TV).” And yet it is still an open field for more competition In the future. “No one can crack it to everyone's satisfaction,” stated Gaffney, “We will spend the money (for more services). We won’t be happy about it but we will spend the money.”

Collaboration is key and George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO, Media Ratings Council is leading the charge. “Accreditation is a difficult road,” he admits, “but we hope to be done with a cross media standard by the end of 2016.” The MRC standard to follow is the duration-weighted viewable impression filtered for non-fraudulent, valid, human traffic.

The most important thing is for all of us in all areas of the industry is to get involved and help facilitate standardize-able measurement solutions. Ivie concluded with a plea. “Participate!” he said.

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