I've known David Kline for over 18 years, having worked in his department when we were both at Rainbow Media. Since 2015 he has been Executive Vice President at Charter and President of Spectrum Reach, overseeing the advertising sales division -- linear, digital, regional news and sports channels -- for Charter Communications. We caught up recently and discussed the difference in data dependency these days, and his division's recent data-driven linear planning tool called AudienceApp.
David Kline: The industry has used data in some capacity for many years. But now it is taking place at an entirely different level, with advertisers of all sizes taking advantage of data. It is amazing the data that we use in every one of our 80-plus markets. You can go on an iPad and if you want to reach a segment of people making $100k+ that own a home and have a car lease is up in six months, we can optimize that buy using that data like we never had before.
Weisler: How much is your current job dependent on data?
Kline: I think about what data means to our clients, and for them it is absolutely essential. Data is the new demand for advertisers. They need it to compete. Since we are only as successful as our clients, it's incredibly important to me and everyone at Spectrum Reach.
Weisler: How finely can you get to target segments? When do you know when a segment is too small to be stable?
Kline: If a segment is too small to be stable or representative, it is usually less than a couple of percentage points. We always advise our advertisers when it is not a big enough target.
Weisler: Tell me about AudienceApp.
Kline: It's the most advanced linear planning tool out there, giving our advertisers a simple, effective way to target their desired audiences on TV. We rolled AudienceApp out over the last [18 months] in over 80 markets. It is accessed through mobile devices such as an iPad so you can, for example, walk into a car dealership, ask what target audience you need to look at, choose from all types of propensities to buy, [study] demographic information and then choose the schedule, when you want it to run, and how much you want to spend or how many impressions you are seeking. In seconds, it will sift through what could be millions or hundreds of millions of impressions looking at the viewership data, optimizing that buy and looking at what inventory is available at the best price. In seconds, you have a schedule that you can share with your advertisers. It has revolutionized what we do.
Weisler: So this is a planning tool. Can you use it to buy and sell and do you guarantee?
Kline: Usually in local business we don't guarantee. But we are using our data so if there are more uses for this platform, in the future we will be ready.
Weisler: Are there plans, through your work with the VAB, to nationalize this platform using data from several MVPDs?
Kline: Not at this time. However, we can use that same platform to help national networks in their own time do better targeting.
Weisler: What data do you use?
Kline: We use our proprietary anonymized and aggregated viewership data from our set top boxes. We have millions of boxes. We append our dataset with third-party attributes such as demographic, automotive, political and lifestyle data. We also capture ad exposure data from all of our media platforms.
Weisler: So, are you talking about impressions? And does this have an attribution component? If so, what?
Kline: Yes, impressions. It doesn't have an actual attribution component built into the app itself, but we can do that manually for clients on the backend. If they are willing to show us their results, like how many cars were sold or how many service calls they got from the campaigns built from AudienceApp, then we can build a ROI model.
Weisler: Does this have the capability of being cross platform?
Kline: Yes, it does. Moreover, we have a product called AudienceTrak that provides clients with a dashboard where clients track results in one place from all aspects of their campaign, including linear television, non-linear viewing in such places as the Spectrum TV app, and online display and video.
This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com