First Upfronts, Then New Fronts and Now PeopleFronts

We have Upfronts and Newfronts. Do we need another “front”? Dave Morgan of Simulmedia thinks so and has launched the PeopleFront with a presentation in NYC this past week. Morgan is one of the most respected executives in the media data space today. His company was an early user of STB data for targeted television marketing, which is why, when Morgan talks about a PeopleFront, he had a full house of media executives ready to listen.

So what exactly is a People Front? Morgan explained, "We buy people not programs, which is why we developed an audience insights database platform offering data driven people- oriented TV advertising."

Morgan began the presentation with actors, all in the 18-49 age break, describing their various lifestyle and behavioral affinities in a way that clarifies that, while they are all 18-49, they are all very different media and marketing targets. While not especially different from lifestyle segments that have been in the industry for decades with Prizm or VALs for example, we do seem to be heading more towards a closer one-to-one targeting capability.  And with the recent announcement that Nielsen and Simulmedia are partnering with to develop a measurement capability for long tail cable network measurement, the race for measurement solutions to facilitate targeting is heating up.

As part of the program, Jack Myers hosted a panel consisting of content buyers and sellers as well as Simulmedia and Nielsen representatives. Leading off was Nielsen’s Steve Hasker who outlined Nielsen’s key priorities. Hasker said that one of the key priorities was “Working with Simulmedia and putting Nielsen ratings with Dave’s analytics and STB data” admitting that “we have some work to do in local.” 

There is the opinion that with Nielsen, innovation often comes in response to perceived competitor initiatives. Myers spoke for many in the audience when he asked, “Nielsen’s history is that it doesn't move forward. How do we know that Nielsen is moving forward (in people measurement innovation)?”  Hasker responded that “Nielsen has and the privilege of being considers currency by the buyers and sellers. We can't just wake up one morning and say that we are going to change the metric. We have a methodical process to go through. Our clients say they want to get beyond demographics. We have our own sets of products that get beyond datasets. One true thing about using age and gender is that it is true of the population. Advertisers want specific people but there is value of age and gender in the mix. We must make sure that all of the data that we have is made available to those who want to add its secret sauce.”  All this caution is great except the industry appears to be moving faster and impatience among the clients is growing. As Campbell Soup Company’s Yin Woon Rani said, “Nielsen is taking input from clients but there is a big learning bell curve.”

In the client sector, interested in People Front audience targeting is keen. Rani explained, “We have a lot of small audiences making up that soup franchise and we use STB data to have our creative delivered to more specific target. It is a pragmatic use of the data. We create a message with that person in mind.  So the core focus of why this (People Front approach) is valuable is that we cultivate segments but then have to buy our media on age gender.  Now you can marry content creative choices with media choices.” Mark Kaline, formerly of Kimberly Clark added, “We are all interested in measuring outcomes. If we can get to individuals and people targets, you can get more clarity and provide effectiveness.”

The research portion of the panel included Discovery’s Sharon O’Sullivan, Turner’s Howard Shimmel and Simulmedia’s John Piccone. All of these executives are involved in finding measurement solutions through big data sets. O’Sullivan noted that there are now “many data sources. Every client wants something different. Some want TRA. Some want Rentrak. Simulmedia has wealth of data. It is refreshing not to have to sell something with a standard mix.” Myers noted that research has historically been a staff area but there is a new movement afoot as Shimmel explained, “We are trying to evolve research away from being a cost center. We target using all these datasets. Recent tests we have done using data to optimize a client’s mix resulted in a 10-30% increase in grps.”

The march towards better consumer targeting, whether as part of a PeopleFront or  through some other codified industry movement, might finally lead to welcomed a readjustment of audience valuation. Shimmel noted that “CPMs for W18-49 could be $10 but for heavy soup eaters it could be $50.” And for those of us in a certain less desirable age group, Jack Myers spoke for many, “I am “55+ and by most measurement targets I am irrelevant. But my spending is not.” I hear you, Jack.

Q&A with SiSense's Amit Bendov

Amit Bendov has sold just about every type of consumer product in his career. Now, as CEO of SiSense, he is in the epicenter of the data market exchange, finding value in combining disparate data sets, modeling algorithms to gauge consumer behavior and taking action based on the strategic insights the data reveals.  In this revealing interview, Bendov talks about his company SiSense, how they maximize the value and the uses of data, how agencies and networks use his data system and, looking ahead, how the media landscape may change over the next few years.

There are three videos in this interview:

Subject                                                 Length (in minutes)
Background and Sisense                                (4:02)
Data and Predictions                                      (5:57)
Agency and Network Analyses                     (4:59)

Charlene Weisler interviews SiSense CEO Amit Bendov who talks about his background and SiSense in this 4:02 minute video:

CW: What type of data do you have?

AB: What makes SiSense so unique is that we have all kinds of data – any kind of data that you have. There are some special applications for marketing and for media and we can focus on specific applications. But the real power comes from bringing together all of the available data from within a company; data from finance, data from marketing, sales, customer satisfaction, from external sources. This is a general purpose software that can connect any data that you have and can help you make smarter decisions based on integration of multiple data sources. It revolutionary because before SiSense, people had to spend a lot of time integrating multiple data sources and creating a coherent picture.

Amit Bendov talks to Charlene Weisler about how SiSense applies data science to data sets and he also shares some insights into the future of media in this5:57 minute video:

CW: I come from the world of television where the data sources are very silo’ed where you would have to commission a special data fusion. What enables you to seamlessly “de-silo” data?

AB: That is the power of the ElastiCubes technology that we have developed. It uses in-chip analytics which is a technical term for very high processing power that is strong enough that regular people who are not technical can marry those data sources together without worrying about performance, just by dragging and clicking and pointing to multiple data sources. It is as simple as that. Before SiSense you would have to write special code and software to integrate them which meant long projects and the problem just starts there. Once they are integrated they are very difficult to change. Let’s say that you have another data source or you need to change something – it is not something that ordinary folks can do. SiSense with the ElastiCubes technology provides a very flexible software that can add data sources on the fly.

(From the SiSense website: ElastiCubes allow you to bring in data from multiple sources, merge, manipulate and then query it as if it was one consolidated data set. One of the biggest advantages of ElastiCubes is the ability to easily mashup multiple data sources. … Once the data is inside the ElastiCube, it is all the same and every field coming from every table can be analyzed in the context of any other – quickly.)

CW: So my understanding is that you are platform agnostic. It doesn’t matter is the data is coming from TV or from Radio or from Mobile phone or from a sales database.

AB: It could come from the moon. It could come from Mars. It could come from a database. It could come from excel. If it is data, we can read it. It doesn’t matter what kind of data. It can marry weather information with consumer demographics with TV with marketing with finance. Any type of data in the world can be brought in and analyzed. That is the beauty of it – it creates a standard platform for reporting that once you build it, it is very easy. You won’t look at it as separate systems anymore. It becomes a single source system that makes it very easy to produce analytical reports, dashboards and visualizations.

In this final 4:59 minute video, SiSense CEO Amit Bendov talks to Charlene Weisler about the agency and network worlds and how they are using data: