Merging Digital and TV Ad Tech. Interview with TiVo’s Joan FitzGerald.

Joan Fitzgerald, VP Product Management and Business Development, TiVo, is a TV data expert whose work on the quantification of media defined her entire career. “I have had the good fortune of working with some of the world’s leading marketers on data and analytics innovation projects, including CPG, pharma, retail and media’” she stated. 

Her work at comScore helped to frame cross media measurement. “As new data became available – whether it was purchasing data or CRM data or digital data or television viewing data via the set top box – we developed new techniques for quantification of media effects, including econometric modeling and then attribution modeling,” she added. Now at TiVo, she is putting her skills to work using new data assets combined with new analytics techniques to achieve breakthroughs in understanding how advertising works. 

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about your current job at TiVo.

Joan Fitzgerald: I’m head of product management and business development for the emerging area of programmatic, data-driven video.  In joining TiVo, I was interested in tackling the question of how to integrate audience selling and data-driven TV into our operational and monetization systems.   Rovi – which recently acquired TiVo and kept the brand name -- had acquired a start-up with the right idea: Revenue and inventory management software that enables TV to deliver on the promise of audience-based targeting and data-driven TV, with significant operational workflow improvements. 

Charlene Weisler: How have TV and media measurement and research changed from when you first started?
Joan Fitzgerald: TV has always been a data-driven business, but it’s the form of the data and the availability of the data that has changed.  Visibility into viewership used to be limited to 3rd party research.  It’s hard to imagine this now, in this era of big data viewership assets, where there is visibility via STB, ACR, digital tags, DMPs and any number of other technologies.  The other significant change is the digital ecosystem itself:  It’s hard to understate the changes that the digital ecosystem has caused, including new ways of thinking about how TV can be more effective.    

Charlene Weisler: Where do you see the role of data in measurement going in the next three years?

Joan Fitzgerald: Media brands have made major investments in people, including data scientists and ‘big data’ engineers, and ad tech systems, such as inventory management systems from tech companies such as TiVo. Already, these investments are having a positive, transformative effect on the video business model, including expanding the currencies used for transactions so that they are more closely aligned with how marketers manage their brands.  The payout from this investment is going to significantly increase in a 3-year timeframe, with media brands continuing their historical track record for growth and innovation.    

Charlene Weisler: Give me your state of the art appraisal of cross platform measurement

Joan Fitzgerald: Today, digital and linear TV are separate throughout almost the entire ad tech stack.  This impacts our ability to measure the two platforms together.  As TV morphs into IPTV and into ATSC 3.0 delivery, the executional layers of the digital and TV ad tech stacks may become more similar to each other.  They may even converge.  This presents an opportunity for better cross platform measurement.  There’s a business layer too that needs thoughtful integration.  Media brands want to reduce complexity for their advertisers and sell “video advertising” rather than TV and digital separately.  Ad agencies are motivated to reduce the costs of operations in the same way.  We need systems that support an integrated approach at the business layer, while managing the execution layer so that we achieve new benefits such as measurement but continue to optimize by source of inventory.      

This article first appeared in


Mindshare’s Community X Helps Women Develop into Global Leaders

 At a time when sexual harassment at large corporations is making headlines, and life and death decisions on women’s health care options are being decided by all-male panels, it is affirming to note that there are several female empowerment initiatives taking root both nationally and globally, especially among media organizations with the power to amplify that message. 

Lifetime, for example, is launching Open Road which is traveling state to state to take the pulse of national sentiment on women’s issues. And, for global impact, Mindshare, in partnership with Charlotte Beers, recently announced the launch of Community X to up gender equality in the ad industry.

According to its press release, “what’s different about Community X is that it brings both Mindshare executives and (the agency’s) clients together, making it more unique than a standard female leadership training or retreat programs.” Helen McRae, Mindshare UK CEO and chair of Western Europe, is heading up the effort with Charlotte Beers, former CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. I had the opportunity to ask them the following questions:

Charlene Weisler: What precipitated the formation of Community X? What was its path to implementation?

Helen McRae: It was a conversation in China with our global CEO, Nick [Emery] our China CEO Amrita [Randhawa] and a few clients. The group was talking about leadership and gender balance. There were a lot of shared experiences and learnings and Nick suggested that we do something as a community - clients and agency, all leaders and all women. Charlotte runs the X-Factor for WPP and has always been keen to expand this leadership course to a wider group! And so the idea of Community X was born!

Charlene Weisler: What are the challenges to gender equality in the advertising industry?

Charlotte Beers: The most pressing gender issue starts fairly far along in a woman's career. It is that threshold where she is one of several choices to take a leadership role. Men are chosen more often because they are easier to read in terms of potential. This is not a bias it is simply the fact that men can read one another more easily. The problem needs to be solved by the women who are contenders. This means they have to develop their skills in communicating who they are and particularly how strong relentless and fierce they can be in making good decisions. My experience is that women at these thresholds have all these qualities but in the work they are presently doing such attributes may not be on display. It may not be fair but it is up to our women to make it clear that we have the potential to be leaders and put it in terms that a man can read because it's usually a man who is making that crucial choice to cross the threshold to the highest level.

Charlene Weisler: Do you see differences in US efforts vs European efforts for Community X and if so what are they?

Helen McRae: It's a global effort. There will be perhaps some differences but think it will be nuanced differences. And we won't just stop at US and Europe but intend of having these communities in every region.

 Charlene Weisler: What advice would you give a young woman starting out in the industry today to achieve the greatest success?

Charlotte Beers: I would urge the young women coming up in the business to think and study who they are so that they can bring forward what makes them unique, what excites them and the kind of task they do exceptionally well. This understanding is part of how they learn to find meaning at work but it also guides everyone around them as to where they will be most productive and successful. This is not easy because there's so much pressure on the new members in the business to learn the culture, to follow the directive of your immediate boss and to search for evaluations. While these pressures are real this other somewhat more interior homework has to be done at exactly the same time. In studying yourself as your master your work you will learn to keep your own scorecard and present your own capacity. That's the beginning of learning to be a leader.

Charlene Weisler: Where would you like to see this initiative five years from now?

Helen McRae: Ideally it should be redundant and focus on diversity in leadership irrespective of race, gender, etc. Leadership comes in many shapes and sizes and it is diversity which adds depth and scales opportunity. 

This article first appeared in


Age and Gender Measurement is So Over. David Poltrack at the ARF

David Poltrack, President of CBS Vision and Chief Research Officer of CBS Corporation, is the visionary who created the Campaign Performance Audit (CPA), an initiative on measuring return on ad spend. 

As Poltrack shared in a Media Village article I wrote last year,  CPA was first presented at the 2014 ARF and focuses on five components: 1. Test your message, 2. Maximize your weekly reach, 3. Get the most out of recency, 4. Precisely target your potential customers, and 5. Consider context.

After three years in the field, Poltrack and his team have completed the fifth component of CPA helping to understand creative in context. I met up with Poltrack at this month’s 2017 ARF to get an update about the initiative’s progress. Three key takeaways from my recent interview with him include:

      1.       Creativity in context holds great power for advertisers. Poltrack stated, “Can you create a contextual aura? I believe that there is great potential there.” 

      2.       TV in combination with Digital has the greatest impact according to CPA’s Return on Ad Spend analysis. It is not an either/or. “A digital campaign may be more effective if people have been pre-conditioned by a television ad first,” noted Poltrack.

      3.       The industry will move away from age and gender proxy measurements even faster than we think. And much of the movement will be due to digital data. “When the digital insights come together with the analytics, there will be a move towards a new way to transact business,” Poltrack concludes.

Charlene Weisler: What is Return on Ad Spend?

David Poltrack: It is the actual lift you get from advertising. It is all about attribution. One of the biggest challenges we all face today, with all the different elements going into what does or doesn’t make a successful consumer product, is that we have to figure out what is contributing what and what are the synergistic effects. That is what makes it really complex. A digital campaign may be more effective if people have been pre-conditioned by a television ad first. So I don’t want to cut the television advertising to find that campaign. I want to be able to understand how much that television campaign is pre-conditioning the digital campaign and vice versa. 

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about the recent updates on your CPA study.

David Poltrack: We have been working on the five levels. Now we have updates in all of these levels, the last of which was the impact of context. This was presented at the most recent ARF conference in mid-March. It shows that context does have an impact and different types of programming do create different contextual results. However, it also shows that it is relative to the reach of the campaign and that the creative elements of the ad itself are not a very consequential or significant part of the equation. That being said, this was being done on a general level; Looking at the context of a situation comedy vs the context of a drama, the context of a highly-rated show, the context of a low rated show. 

The bigger question is what if you create the context, as opposed to just looking at generic contextual issues? Can you create a contextual aura? I believe that there is great potential there particularly when you have people seeing ads while watching television and simultaneously having a phone where they could, for example, go into a virtual reality type of follow-up. Example: An auto ad runs on television on a sports show. Then there is the ability to link through the phone to a virtual reality site for people with the virtual reality equipment and experience that ad in a virtual environment. This is very powerful. It is all about how you create that context that enhances your advertising message.

Charlene Weisler: Can you talk about the trends in results that you have seen in your CPA study since it first began? Any big takeaway?

David Poltrack: The big functional elements of age/sex/demo surrogates are, once and for all, found to be not the proper tools in directing campaigns. Now, with usage based targeting and other elements, there are much better ways to select media. Notably, pricing is based on these demographics and so for these advertisers who use audience based targeting, it creates opportunities to find shows that work better in their plan but are even cheaper than what they have been buying.  It works with the current difference between the reality of targeting age and gender 18-49 and the reality of targeting on actual usage. Advertisers can get significant lifts in the actual return on ad spending by buying on actual usage. Over time as more advertisers buy on actual usage this lift may mitigate so there is opportunity right now to take advantage of this type of buying.

Charlene Weisler: What do you think it will take to move us away from age and gender proxy measurement to return on ad spend?

David Poltrack: At the rate we are going right now I think it will come very fast. You have to overcome the inertia. You have to bring together the new data analytics workforce with the traditional insights workforce. When the digital insights come together with the analytics, there will be a move towards a new way to transact business.

This article first appeared in


OpenAP Unveiled

It takes some doing to keep a secret like this. For close to one year, Viacom, Turner and Fox have been working together to build a three-corporation consortium for accepting third and first party datasets for use as guidance in the sales marketplace. They announced their joint effort this past week in New York City to an audience of advertisers, clients, suppliers and press.

OpenAP Announcement
“This is a historical day for all, of us,” announced Donna Speciale, President Turner Ad Sales. “We three (Turner, Viacom and Fox) are all here together. It has been a year in the making.” And referring to the high level agency executives in the crowd, she added, “We came together because of all of you. You were the catalyst, asking us to get together to unify and make data more scalable. We listened and are making it happen.”

The OpenAp was designed to address the many concerns in the media marketplace regarding data. “Despite all of the value that data provides, we still hear same concerns and that is that it is complicated, not scalable, there is a lack of auditing and it is not consistent. We needed to simplify audience targeting. It sounds simple but it is not an easy task,” noted Speciale.

What is also not an easy task is bringing together and coordinating the efforts of three highly competitive corporations and keeping these efforts under wraps for so long. “It’s crazy that we could keep it quiet,” stated Sean Moran, Head of Sales, VIACOM Media Networks.

OpenAP Interface
For those of us working with data, OpenAp is a tremendous step forward in beginning to address some of the challenges in the media marketplace from walled gardens, to scalability and accreditation.

Bryson Gordon, EVP Data Strategy, Viacom, explained that OpenAP has two separate pathways to access the audience data and see how the contract is posting. The first pathway is a website. “If you work for an agency or an advertiser, you will have a login to this website,” he explained, “Through that website you will be able to explore advanced audience and onboard your own advanced audiences and you will be able to pull down the post from the campaign across inventory from Fox, Viacom and Turner and any other member publisher that has joined.” The second pathway offers a way to onboard custom datasets that might be proprietary to the agency or advertiser. “We recognize that agencies and advertisers have made huge investments in defining audiences in proprietary data systems, through DMPs. So it is critical that we make it easy and seamless for you to have clean pathways into and out of OpenAP,” Gordon added.

OpenAP Details
OpenAP address some of the marketplace challenges. With normalization, scalability and accreditation, the consortium hired Accenture to manage those tasks. “Accenture is doing the build and the auditing of the measurement,” according to Joe Marchese, President of Advanced Advertising Products, Fox Network. Notably, Accenture is the company who jumped in to fix the Affordable Care website after it first crashed and now handles many of the health exchanges across the country. They are adept at managing vast amounts of data, normalizing it and keeping the data quality consistent and high. 

When it comes to the data sets, “We are data agnostic,” explained, Gordon, “At the end of the day, OpenAP is about supporting all the datasets that advertisers need to create the high value segments they want to target.” To start, OpenAP is working with two major data source ecosystems – “comScore for all of the set top box data and the associated third party syndicated datasets that they have,” he added, and “Nielsen as a key part of this initiative.”  In a press release that came directly after the OpenAP announcement, Lynda Clarizio, Nielsen’s President of U.S. Media, stated, “We support the consortium’s ambitions to create a clearinghouse for audience-based buying on linear television. We look forward to working with the participating networks and advertisers on the broader success of this initiative.”

When it comes to consistency, Gordon said, “Consistency is about have the same segments for all publishers making it easy to activate at scale. You can go find an advanced audience, have it consistently defined, have it activated across most of television in premium content that is absolutely brand safe. It’s about on-boarding once and activing again and again.”

Working Together for a Common Cause
How can you get three major competing corporations to work together for a common cause? “We all experienced a very similar pain, in talking to our agencies and clients who were all buying Fox, Turner and Viacom,” said Michael Strober, EVP Client Strategy and Ad Innovation, Turner and co-head of Turner Ignite, who added, ”How do we make it easier to buy and transact on a larger scale? We had open and honest conversations – are you experiencing the same thing? We met with Kern Schireson, Chief Data Officer, Viacom. I sat with Joe Marchese. We decided that nobody is going to do this for us. We needed to find the solution and do it ourselves. It was very organic and a response to the market.”

This is a big first step for OpenAP. As Marchese noted, “This is step one - live linear television. What comes next are dynamic advertising and VOD environments.”

This article first appeared in