Saturday

Q&A With CIMM CEO: How Content and Ad Labeling Efforts Will Impact Programmatic

Finding an industry-standard for cross-platform ad and content measurement was once a hopeful but lonely quest. But today, this initiative is finding a wider voice and beginning to gain traction with stakeholders.

The implications of this standard are enormous, not only helping content creators and advertisers better monetize their efforts from linear to programmatic to digital, but also aiding in other initiatives such as attribution and dynamic ad insertion.

Jane Clarke, CEO and managing director of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), has been a trailblazer in the field of content and ad labeling as an assured way of tracking programming and ads across platforms. She shared her thoughts around the importance of labeling across platforms, the best ways to achieve it, and how she sees the industry evolving because of it.

Weisler: You’ve been involved in the effort to label content for many years. How did you know that this issue would be so important?

Read the full interview on the Videa blog.

Wednesday

Keeping the Family In Mind. An Interview with UPtv’s Ron Plante


How do you construct a break-out segmentation study in a world of custom segmentations? Ron Plante, Senior Vice President, UPtv, launched a multi-wave, multi-year segmentation study that teases out psychographic behavioral elements in viewers that can then be merged with quantitative measurement services such as Nielsen and MRI. 

According to the study, the linear TV viewing audience can be divided into three main segments: Family in Mind or “FIM” (which represents 40 million U.S. households), Thrill Seekers (26 million) and Escape Artists (42 million).

The latest wave has just been released and Plante shared his insights with me in this interview. 

Charlene Weisler: What is the study about and why conduct it now?

Ron Plante: We started the study in 2014 because we wanted to know more about our audience – the people that UPtv really resonated with. The study serves two masters – to help us better understand our target audience and also offered something that could be used for ad sales.
Right out of the gate we found a lot of interest from the ad community. In fact our first wave was vetted by MediaVest who advised us as to their point of view. We also engaged with a major retailer who took some of the data and merged it into its own proprietary model. 

Weisler: What type of input did you get from MediaVest?

Plante: What MediaVest did in the first study was review the questionnaire with us, offering us advice such as which were the most important areas to explore. They gave us detailed questionnaire feedback and as well as some general direction.

Weisler: What methodology did you use?

Plante: A nationally representative sample, cable plus. In the most recent study we focused on persons 25-54 and also expanded from cable plus to a broader universe so we also included broadband only homes, which is obviously an important target for a lot of people right now and for our UPtv SVOD offering. 

Weisler: In this most recent wave, were there any surprises or reinforcements from previous waves? 

Plante: There were definitely some surprises and also some consistencies. The first surprise was that when we looked at the three groupings, the edgiest group (Thrill Seekers) declined from 36% in our first wave to 25% in the most recent wave. People seemed to have migrated, even though this wasn’t a static sample, from that edgier group into Escape Artists and FIMs. When you look at the television landscape in 2014 compared to 2018, and look at the top shows, it is a bit of a gentler landscape. You have “This is Us” and a lot of shows in the top tier in broadcast and cable that seem a little gentler.
What also surprised us was the broad demographic spectrum FIM occupies.  FIMs are from small towns and big cities, racially and economically diverse and politically they are purple - just as likely to be Democrats or Republicans as the total U.S.  What they have in common is the importance they place on TV as their main source of entertainment and they seek out shows they can watch with the entire family. 

Weisler: How are you implementing the results? 

Plante: We’ve done a couple of things. Internally, we conduct research studies that recruit specifically for FIM. That is how we screen our shows and our acquisitions. We have also fused the data definitions with both MRI and Nielsen so we can actually look at FIM in both of those platforms. And we share that with advertisers and agencies if they wish to use it. 

Weisler: What would you say makes these segments unique or special and make them a standout? There are a lot of segmentations out there.

Plante: There ARE a lot of segmentations out there. We looked at a lot of historical research on segmentations and were happy to find that a lot of our results compared to historical segments. What makes ours different is the slightly larger universe because we are including broadband-only homes now too. And we are able to fuse this with Nielsen and MRI. That helps with the actual application of the data. One of my frustrations as a researcher in my career is that we have segmentations but are unable to use it after the fact. We have found that within the company, people understand what FIM is and everyday it is activated when we engage and interact with our audience.

Weisler: What would you say are the implications for UPtv, for programmers and for advertisers with these segments?

Plante: For advertisers, environment is the hot button right now. Everyone is talking about how their content can be in a safe and appropriate environment. This underscores that- when you reach out to those who are in the Family In Mind segment and you reach them in an appropriate environment, you ad performs on steroids. We have found that environment makes a big difference. By targeting people in an appropriate environment who are in this mind-frame, your ad will perform well.

For programmers, we are seeing that there is a general shift happening and the industry seems to be getting a little bit softer in these times. When you look at UPtv, we are one of the few places that is super serving this audience. And when we talk to them, they still say that they want more programming that is appropriate for my entire family. They are saying that there is too much content with too much violence and sex. That is something that we have taken to heart. Some of our most recent campaigns show families that watch together – and that has come directly from our research. 

Weisler: What are your plans going forward in this study?

Plante: I would love to get other programmers and other advertisers interested in the segments and join forces with us to have a bigger, better and complete understanding of this audience. Although we have built a pretty large base, the industry is expanding and changing so fast that a study conducted six months ago is already behind the eight ball. We would also like to start to look at some non-linear behaviors like video in the digital space.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com
 

Tuesday

Measuring the Gaze For Ads-in-Program. An Interview with Samuel Huber of admix.in


Monetizing content has at once become easier and far more complicated with new technologies enabling insertions pre, mid, post and within programming. With the advent of AR and VR, the options have widened further. Enter, Samuel Huber, Founder and CEO, Admix who has been grappling with, as he explained, “the struggles of creating and monetizing content” for many years. 

He noted that there was, “not much choice, besides banners at the bottom of the screen. When I discovered VR for the first time, I immediately thought we could do better than that, because the environment is not limited to a small screen anymore.” 

Charlene Weisler: Give me a short description of your company - is it only for the AR and VR space?

Samuel Huber: Admix is the first monetzsation platform for XR, helping over 200 VR/AR developers like High Fidelity, Somnium Space or Atom Universe, monetize their content through non-intrusive advertising. Through a free plugin for Unity, developers can create inventory within their app (a banner on a wall, a screen, or a 3D item on a table), filter the advertisers they want, to ensure ads are relevant to the content. That way, the ads will never interrupt the users, because they are in line with the content. Because we integrate with Unity, any 3D content can use Admix, not just VR/AR - we are integrating with Atom Universe which is a PS4 title. We are the first company to build the infrastructure to distribute XR ads programmatically, meaning automated and at scale. We are building new standards together with Yahoo, AOL and other demand partners, giving their advertisers the ability to access VR/AR media for the very first time.

Weisler: What technology do you use to implant ads? 

Huber: Admix is a supply side platform (SSP) built in house and selling inventory to 3rd party demand side platforms, such as Brightroll (Yahoo/AOL ). We then use our own renderer to display the ads in a 3D environment. 

Weisler: Are they static?

Huber: We have 3 ad formats - banner, video and 3D. Banner and videos are existing formats used by advertisers. The 3D format is a new format we are pioneering with our demand partners and that will be interactive and enable new interactions between brands and consumers.

Weisler: How are the ads measured? What data do you use and how do you integrate it into the buy/sell?

Huber: Being programmatic, we capture contextual data (about the environment) and gaze tracking data (where the users are looking) to calculate viewability. Gaze tracking data is anonymized and used in aggregate, to understand how people consume a specific ad, how long they spend gazing at it, which is used to qualify the impact of the ad in a much more granular way than possible on the web. ‘Impressions’ are not binary anymore, but on a continuous spectrum, giving advertisers a lot more insights. In the future, we aim to define a Cost per Gaze model, which will charge advertisers differently based on the interaction level with a specific ad. We can then feed that information back to advertisers, to give them more insights on the profile of the person interacting with their ads.

Weisler: Are you working with any media measurement companies and if so who?

Huber: The answer is not yet, we are having discussions with 3rd party measurement companies but no integration yet. To popularize the gaze tracking metric, we are working together with Oath building these standards so will aim to make it a standards with existing players first.

Weisler: Is there a thought to integrate with other media platforms and if so what?

Huber: We are currently integrating with various DSPs to give us access to more advertisers.

Weisler: What do you see as the future of advertising 3 years from now?

Huber: I believe that XR will profoundly improve advertising for the better, by bringing it at the center of the creative process and giving developers the ability to control the experience. VR and AR give advertisers a lot more freedom to be creative. In particular, product placements, which do not interrupt and are relevant to the story, are going to replace banners, pre rolls and popups. From a financial point of view, because they do not interrupt, you can imagine having 50 product placements per app, as opposed to 1 pre roll when the app loads, meaning more revenue for the developers, and more brand recognition for the advertisers! For the first time, interests of the consumers, the developers and the publishers are aligned. This is the future that we see at Admix, and are working on building!

This article first appeared in www.Mediapost.com

Monday

Where's the Money? Exclusive Interview with Age Wave’s Ken Dychtwald



American aging demographic and psychographic trends are headed to, as Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Founder and CEO, Age Wave, noted, “a time of profound change.” But, he adds, “Do I think America is ready for the aging of the Boomer generation? Not at all.”

Back in the 1970s, a young Dychtwald hit an epiphany. “I became intrigued by older people, their point of view, what it was like to see life from the vantage point of 80, 90 or 100 years, the depth of perception they had,” he shared, “And I couldn’t understand why we lived in a society where there was so little regard for older people where in some ways they might be the most interesting among us.” 

This soon led to the formation of Age Wave and work in demography where aging trends, especially with the Boomer generation, would act like “a pig moving through a python” changing American attitudes and spending patterns. 

In this interview he explains why companies that ignore or undervalue the Boomer generation do so at their peril.

Charlene Weisler: Give me a lay of the land in the area of population maturity.

Ken Dychtwald: There are three driving forces. One is the birthrate. In the U.S. our birthrate has been hovering at about replacement level for the last several decades. So while we are doing better than the European nations which don’t have enough young people, we are not a young country anymore.
Another driver is longevity. When Social Security was drafted, life expectancy was 63. When we signed our Constitution, the life expectancy was 45.  We never envisioned there would be that many old people. We didn’t set up our culture language, governing, benefits to engage or handle the needs of hundreds of thousands of older people. 

The third engine is the most dramatic. We have this huge post WW2 Baby Boom beginning in 1946 where the boys came home from the war and 92% of all women who could have kids, did – 4,000,000 a year for eight years. This Baby Boom generation is an age wave that will reshape the center of gravity for society and pull it towards the second half of life more than it has ever been in history.

Weisler: Describe Boomers and how they differ (or not) from other generations before and after.

Dychtwald: Boomers are the beneficiaries of more longevity than any other generations of Americans. And while there has been a great deal of talk about income inequality, we are about to see increasing longevity inequality because there are more and more ways that people can buy their way to longer life or buy their way to greater health that people with fewer resources can’t afford. It is not inconceivable that there will be some Boomers who will live to 150 or more. They will likely be the billionaires. 

The Boomers will also mainstream a new paradigm for work, learning and leisure throughout ones’ life. Previous generations lived what I call a ‘linear life’.  You learned, then you worked like crazy for forty years and then if you had a little bit of longevity you had some retirement time. We busted up that model when we changed majors in college, changed careers a few times and often had more than one marriage. So the idea of reinvention is not uncommon.  What you will see mainstreamed (and younger people like this model too) is a more cyclic model of how to live ones’ life – like going back to school at age 45 and learning a new career. A more balanced life across a lifetime will become the model. 

You will also see the rise of female power and influence. Women outlive men so as we become increasingly elder society it will become increasingly controlled by women. And over the past decades women are outpacing men in all sorts of things such as education. It has not been fully unleased but in years to come the aging of the population will converge with female power.
I also see more uncertainty. Since the 1930s there has been more security for older people from Social Security and then in the 1960s, Medicare. During WW2 unions negotiated for pensions. Powerful lobbying organizations such as AARP stand and protect the interests of older people. Today’s older people have benefitted from the growth of the stock market. But that is not the demographic equation we are heading into. We are going to have a lot more older people and fewer younger people. There won’t be enough younger people to shoulder future costs – it is not supportable and not sustainable. So I think that you will see that a lot of the guarantees of security evaporate in this Boomer generation. 

Next, the Boomers will mainstream the next purpose of maturity. What we saw in the 20th Century was a huge focus on the medical breakthrough that allows more people to grow older and live longer but never really created a role or purpose for these individuals. Boomers are trying to discover a sense of purpose.  

The last thing is that Boomers are not especially good at putting a good PR spin on themselves. My parent’s generation was hard working and obedient. They were drafted and served in a war and then they built America. But they were also a profoundly racist generation and their treatment of women was almost unfathomable. Yet they are called the Greatest Generation. I don’t think the Boomers will get that kind of treatment. I think they will be thought of as self-indulgent and irresponsible. 

Weisler: How do we change the advertiser and media mindset that undervalues older Americans?

Dychtwald: Most people in business are driven by shareholder value – where can I make the most money - and perhaps the most untapped opportunity is hiding in plain sight. Back in my grandparents and parents time, when modern media was emerging on the scene, people were pretty set in their ways. You weren’t changing your toothpaste brand when you were 50 or buying a new kind of hair product when you were 70. That is called brand loyalty and people were determining what product references were from the age of about 15 to 25. So you needed to heavily load your targeting of people between those ages because if you could capture them then, you would have them for life. Conversely, why bother marketing to a 50 year old because they have already made up their mind about everything.

Well, we all know in business today that’s all bullshit. There are a lot of products I am buying today that didn’t exist before. There was no software when I was 20. And, I have a lot more money and freedom now than I had before in my life to do whatever I want. So people who are 40 or 50 or 70 are no longer brand loyal, are reinventing themselves and very eager to try new things. 

That linchpin of the 1960s and 70s is a problem because it is a lie. Everyone in business knows that – like a wink and a nod. Why will the market move towards a redefinition of age breaks? Because, like Willy Sutton said, that is where the money is. It won’t be in all categories but there are a few like Financial Services, Leisure, Health, Medical, Beauty and Wellness that will soar. Seventy percent of all of the wealth in America is held by people over 50. So you can spend a lot of time and energy creating apps for 23 year olds but guess what – they don’t have any money.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com