Using Blockchain to Disrupt Media

Just when you thought the media landscape was quieting down, a new non-profit research and development foundation called the AdLedger Consortium has been created to further disrupt the buy/sell model, this time by using blockchain. This consortium is charged with implementing global technical standards, protocols and solutions for digital media and blockchain. 

The group’s founding members consist of a range of companies from technology, advertising agencies, media sellers and data vendors who are pooling their expertise and efforts to, according to the press release, “bring transparency and data security to the ad tech supply chain through blockchain technology.” According to their press release, founding member companies include, Canoe, GroupM, Cadent, Meredith, IPG Mediabrands and Neustar, among others.

Why Apply Blockchain to Digital Media
At a recent Frankfurt Kurnit event, Gordon Platt, President, Gotham Media, explained that when it comes to media and advertising, "Blockchain technology will bring media licensing and distribution into the 21st Century, enabling creators to control access to their work and ensuring that they get paid for its use."

Eric John, Deputy Director, Video Center of Excellence at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) noted that in the areas of fraud and safety, “It takes automation to and entirely new level.” On the plus side, blockchain offers a failsafe, verifiable, immutable protocol to permanently link data for use in transactions and data tracking. Privacy compliance is part of this focus.

But caution is advised. “Putting a social network on the blockchain is harder than you think,” warned Benji Rogers, CEO and Co-Founder, Dot Blockchain Media. “If it links to extremist content, you can never take it down,” he explained. “You might siphon millions of dollars to the wrong person and can’t turn it off.”

Privacy Compliance Legislation
The concern about data privacy is being addressed through legislation by the EU called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) scheduled to go into effect in May 2018. Its implementation is a call to action for companies interested in creating and supporting a privacy compliant peer-to-peer decentralized network for media. Through the use of blockchain, companies can address a range of data issues from transparency to supply chain inefficiency to data security and portability to reconciliation and payments that comply with the new EU regulation.

According to Gabe Greenberg, CEO and Co-Founder of GABBCON, Global Audience Based Buying Conference and Consultancy, “Blockchain has the ability to help media by illuminating the current opacity in the supply chain and, by extension, eliminating fraud and moving economic value back to publishers and advertisers.” And, importantly, it offers a secure, privacy-compliant ability to transact that protects the user's private data. 

AdLedger Proof of Concepts
AdLedger is working on two different proofs of concept right now. The first is OpenGPDR, which will cryptographically store data on a data controller’s private blockchain, creating an audit trail. This will help companies manage the new privacy rights under the GDPR regulations of the Right to Access and the Right to be Forgotten.

The second proof of concept is Campaign Reconciliation which focuses on streamlining the campaign reconciliation process showing “what a campaign transacted from cradle to grave would look like on a blockchain,” stated Greenberg. Led by Amichai Lichtenstein, Director of Product Management at AppNexus, the project includes the creation of a contained blockchain network with a set number of players that combines disparate sources of immediate metrics based on measurement KPI’s tied to campaign delivery. Touted as a single source of truth, the ledger will ideally showcase blockchain’s ability to reduce the amount of campaign discrepancies and offer more transparency for buyers and sellers.

Challenges to Implementation
But there are still some challenges to overcome. The most frequently cited challenge, Greenberg noted, is speed. “The traditional ad tech landscape has high QPS (queries per second) demands that blockchain today would struggle to support, but we are confident that the technology will continue to evolve,” he stated, and added, “Saying that this will remain a challenge forever is assuming no innovation or iteration -- it's like saying a 5-year-old will never be tall enough to ride a roller coaster.” Even with this challenge, the expectation is that there will be increasing traction to embed blockchain in digital media throughout 2018.

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Deepening the Connection To Hispanic Consumers

Hispanic spending is projected to grow 85% over the next 10 years and reach $1.7 trillion by 2020, which makes this market segment one of the most important consumer targets for advertisers.  But how can marketers meaningfully connect with Hispanic consumers?  MAGNA and Univision have just released the results of a seminal research study titled "Marketing to the Hispanic Mindset" that measures the impact of contextual targeting (topic, language and culture) in digital video ad experiences.

Among other key insights, the study revealed that language and culture targeting in digital video ads can double the purchase intent of Hispanic consumers and increase their emotional connection with brands.

Surveying 6,000 Hispanic consumers, the study is the first of its kind to include mobile face-tracking in Hispanic research.  "We wanted to understand the role of language and context in digital advertising, including mobile and emotional facial coding to gain deep insights," said Roberto Ruiz, Executive Vice President, Insights and Analytics at Univision.

I sat down with Ruiz and Kara Manatt, Senior Vice President, Intelligence Solutions Strategy at MAGNA to delve more deeply into how the right targeting can connect brands with the Hispanic consumer.

Charlene Weisler:  Tell me how targeting can impact ad receptivity among Hispanics.

Kara Manatt:  We tested three types of targeting.  The first, Topic targeting -- when the topic of the ad is related to the topic of the content it appears in front of -- replicated what we tested among a general audience.  An example would be content on the health benefits of owning a cat that has a pre-roll ad for a cat food brand.  Obviously, there is a strong connection between the product being advertised and the editorial context in which it appears.

The second type that we explored in the study was Language targeting, which is when the language of the ad is matched to the language of the content.  For example, Spanish-language pre-roll ads that run into Spanish-language video content.

Cultural targeting was the third area; that is when an ad speaks to Hispanics through culture.  This can be a bit trickier to nail down since there are a lot of different ways to do that, such as through music, food and specific Latino events.  In Cultural targeting you align an ad that connects on a cultural level with content that does the same thing.

Weisler:  What were the major takeaways from the study?

Manatt:  The key findings for us were the big differences in persuasion metrics, particularly the really important and hard-to-move metrics like brand favorability and purchase intent.  Using language and cultural targeting to double purchase intent was the No. 1 key takeaway; we saw double the impact from merely changing the environment and not the ad.  The other takeaway was that it helps build a relationship between the brand and the consumer.  Hispanics are particularly sensitive to cultural messaging from an advertiser.  They are receptive to the brand going the extra mile by speaking to them in their own language and making that cultural connection.  This is not lost on the consumer.  Again, notably you are not changing the ad.  You are only changing the environment.

Roberto Ruiz:  We also gathered a lot of data on mobile targeting.  When we used the emotion tracking part of the study and we looked at the percentage lift in emotion due to cultural targeting versus no targeting, we saw that with cultural targeting there was more emotion expressed by the people watching the ad.  So, the fact that cultural targeting had a huge impact in emotion on ads received via computers and mobile -- in mobile we saw 60% more emotion being expressed by the Spanish dominant and bi-lingual Hispanics -- told us that cultural targeting is creating a visceral connection and driving emotion.  We know that in branding, emotional connection is really what drives equity.

Weisler:  Were there any surprises in the results?

Manatt:  It's not often we find that what is good for the brand is something that is also good for the consumer.  It is good for brand metrics, but it also leads to a better overall media experience for the consumer.

Ruiz:  It surprised me that Language targeting and Topic targeting performed the best on smartphones.  There is so little data on how to create effective mobile ads that I thought this finding was very interesting.

Weisler:  What are your recommendations to advertisers?

Ruiz:  We say that these are building blocks -- each step leads to a deeper and more profound relationship to the consumer.  Don't limit yourself to Topic targeting and Language targeting.  Take it all the way to Topic, In-Language and Culture to have very powerful digital ads.  You will see the brand KPIs go up.  This research surveyed 6,000 consumers -- a large study with a representative sample that includes non-self-reported data (data that was collected by an app) and that builds on these three targeting steps.  You can see the lift from each one.  But if brands want to do cultural targeting they have to do their homework.  They have to understand the consumer insights that connect the brand to the category, to the consumer and create a solid, culturally targeted creative ad.

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How Will ATSC 3.0 Impact Local Television?

ATSC 3.0 has been receiving a lot of buzz at industry shows like TV of Tomorrow and CES. Described as a game-changer, this new protocol promises advancements that will enable interactivity on-demand for over-the-air local television.

Experts from the field are often bullish but admit there will be a lot of disintermediation, disruption, and transformation that—at least for the short term—could create uncertainty. Here are some of the anticipated pros, cons, and in-betweens.

Further Consolidation
There could be additional local consolidation by companies like Tegna and Sinclair Broadcasting, which might “enable those companies to streamline content production, content delivery, programmatic buying, and ad delivery from a central location,” said Tracy Swedlow, co-founder and chief executive officer at TMRW Corporation.

This could work well for advertisers by creating cost efficiencies and new opportunities for monetization, but could remove the local feel by leaving office operations to be conducted outside the market.

Read the full article on the Videa blog.


CIMM Cross-Platform Media Measurement and Data Summit

Fostering innovation in cross platform media measurement and bringing more granular measurement to TV have been missions for CIMM since its inception. Now, at the seventh annual Cross-Platform Media Measurement and Data Summit held last week in New York, CIMM is proving that hard work and deep analysis can result in industry change. Panelists from networks, agencies, brands, associations and data companies exchanged ideas on how the advancements in cross-platform measurement and data are impacting the industry ad model. 

CIMM has created a Measurement Manifesto which serves as a roadmap to ensure a continued industry focus on cross-platform measurement. As Jane Clarke, CEO and Managing Director of CIMM, noted, “We need to keep the dialogue going about how to manage change by following our roadmap to plan, measure exposure and evaluate. There is still more work to do but we are making progress.”

Highlights of the seventh annual summit include:

The Erosion of the Advertising Market and Upending of Business as Usual
According to Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer, Publicis Groupe, the advertising industry is in for a rude awakening. He said that the increasing ad loads and irrelevant messaging has been disrespectful to the consumers’ time. The result is that they are increasingly spending more time in ad free environments. Because of this trend, there will be “less and less advertising,” resulting in a 25% to 30% decline in ad inventory in the next five years as brands go direct to the consumer.There will also be consolidation among media companies resulting in fewer networks and,therefore, less inventory.

There are three Connected Ages, according to Tobaccowala. The first was the Link, the second was the advent of Social Networks and Smartphones and the third is now Connecting to Data with Artificial Intelligence. “Things are connecting to things with the IoT,” he stated. “There will be new ways of connecting through Voice, AR and VR which are coming to us much faster than anticipated and will lead to different ways to measure,” he added. While we are in the business of measuring impressions from programs or networks now, this will shift to measuring interactions of people.

Going For Good Rather Than Perfect in Attribution
Attribution is emerging as a primary goal for advertisers and networks. But there are so many aspects to attribution that achieving the perfect industry standard is a chimera. “There is the lie of attribution,” noted Joe Marchese, President Advertising Revenue, Fox Networks Group because “the human brain is more complicated. Brands are bought with cultural relevance.” There is also, what Scott Hagedorn, CEO, Hearts & Science, Omnicom Media Group, described as “negative attribution,” where an ad placed next to objectionable content becomes tainted. And it is important to give credit where credit is due. Brand value is accrued over the long term according to Marchese, so “if we move to pure attribution, it is the platforms that achieve all of the value.”

Overcoming Obstacles
Industry associations such as the ANA, 4As, ARF and MRC are all focused on addressing a range of industry challenges including solving for fraud, viewability, deduplication and data labeling for cross platform measurement. 

Bob Liodice, CEO, ANA, noted that his organization has made progress in the fraud area and in eliminating waste. “We are learning how to control fraud and rein in bots,” he stated. “It is increasingly complex but we are all asking the same question - Do I have the information necessary to make right decisions to grow business?” Scott McDonald, CEO and President, the ARF, spoke of the Sunshine Rule advocating transparency in measuring exposures through deduplication. “There is a gap between exposure and ROI sales lift and it is not well understood,” he stated. 

Cooperation Between Frenemies
“Fostering competition is the only way to get innovation,” stated Clarke. This is true in the area of measurement. Brain Hughes, SVP, Audience Intelligence and Strategy, MAGNA, believes that competition between measurement companies “makes for better thinking for problem solving and that  is not a bad thing.”

Yet there are some companies that are finding that cooperating with their competitors can bear fruit. OpenAP, a collaborative effort between Fox, Turner and Viacom is one effort designed to measure attention and engagement. “We need to get better thinking about how measurement correlates to outcomes. What viewability drives outcome and then build back to measurement standards from there,” advised Howard Shimmel, Chief Research Officer, Turner.

“Measurement is now a team sport. Cooperation is needed,” concluded Elissa Lee, Director Research, Advanced Technologies, Google.

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The Future of Retail: Consumer Attitudes, Brick-and-Mortar Strategies—and TV

Is there a unified channel strategy to drive the future of retail? According to Piers Fawkes, founder and president of media company PSFK, the retail space is transitioning from an online-versus-offline competition into an omnichannel landscape where the two competing channels are blended and synergistic.

“Retail is going from a place of transaction to a place of experience,” said Fawkes. In January 2018, PSFK released the latest results of a trend study that tracks the evolution of retail in all its forms.
What were the results? The future of brick and mortar looks very different from the antiquated stores of the past. And perhaps more surprising? The fact that TV has a central role in the future.

Transitions in Retail

Read the full article on the Videa blog.


Global Programmatic Advertising Reaches New Heights

Global programmatic advertising is experiencing impressive gains year after year.Programmatic advertising is taking the media world by storm. Its impressive growth on a global scale is changing the way international advertisers think about video advertising, ensuring a robust and profitable future for the media industry.

But what does programmatic mean for the world?

Global Programmatic’s Robust Growth
Global programmatic advertising is experiencing impressive year-on-year gains. In 2016, media agency Zenith projected a 31 percent growth in spend from 2016 to 2017 and forecasted spending of $64 billion in 2018. Once considered a remnant buy, programmatic has upped the ante. It offers advanced data segmentations and analytics that enable advertisers to purchase high-quality, hyper-targeted audiences in prime inventory.

“Programmatic advertising has risen to dominate the digital display market in just a few years,” according to the Zenith report,

Read the full article in the Videa blog.


Bringing Linear TV into the Addressable Market – The Spectrum and 605 Data Partnership

“Linear television does not come to mind when people think of advanced products,” noted Rob Klippel, Senior Vice President of Advanced Advertising Products and Strategy, Spectrum Reach, but being able to do targeted one-to-one addressable in linear television is becoming closer to a reality. 

Of course, “even just applying data to linear TV, even if it is not one-to-one targeted, to better find audiences and on the back end use data to find ad exposure is part of an advanced advertising group,” he concluded.

Now as the dust settles on the Spectrum and 605 data partnership, we begin to see how addressability in linear TV has taken a step forward with the introduction of their AudienceApp data platform. This new platform was developed in partnership between Spectrum Reach and 605 for linear media planning and optimization. I sat down with Ben Tatta, Co-Founder & President of 605 and Rob Klippel to learn more:

Charlene Weisler: What types of data points will be made available by Charter for 605?

Ben Tatta: As the second largest cable operator in the U.S., Charter provides 605 with aggregated TV platform data from all its cable system operations nationally resulting in more robust and granular audience measurement and analytics solutions. Charter data gives us broad national reach and deep coverage in 13 of the top 20 U.S. markets. As part of the partnership, we also have matching rights to Charter data giving us the ability to append a broad array of household attributes to the viewing data (in a secure manner that protects privacy).

Weisler: What are some of the challenges?

Tatta: This partnership is a major step in fueling the industry migration from sample-based measurement to true census-level measurement moving beyond traditional ratings to deeper, more actionable, impressions-based data. The challenge will be educating and encouraging the industry to embrace this transition, which will be of benefit to all from advertisers, programmers, providers – ultimately the buyers and sellers.

Weisler: Will there be the ability to use the data in some form to measure cross platform?

Klippel: Yes. We are capturing and providing aggregated and anonymized viewing across all platforms.    This gives us the ability to not only leverage cross-platform insights for planning and execution, but also post-campaign analysis and attribution.

Weisler: What other data sets will be part of this effort?

Tatta: 605 uses data from over 40 million addressable households to deliver its ad and campaign analytics services and also maintains a library of over 1,500 demographics, behavioral, transactional and psychographic attributes and possesses consumer records for 131 million unique households, containing 240 million adults.

Klippel: Charter has a robust set of first party and third party attributes that we leverage for the most effective and efficient way to deliver specific segments for our local and regional advertisers.  A unique aspect of our partnership with 605 is the broad append rights to enable similar detailed customer segmentation for national advertisers and programmers.

Weisler: What metrics will you use?

Tatta: In addition to more granular, household level impressions data, 605 also measures content and/or ad consumption on a second-by-second basis.  605 also developed a set of engagement and conversion metrics designed to measure ad response, ROI and attribution.  Ultimately, the metrics we utilize vary based on the unique objectives of our clients.

Weisler: Have any advertisers signed up for this yet?

Tatta: 605 currently works with blue-chip advertisers such as Walmart and Uber. We are also working with programmers such as A&E to help them understand specific audience attributes to enable them to serve their advertisers and connect with specific audiences. We have also added several new advertisers following the launch of AudienceApp.

Klippel: AudienceApp was launched in August and our goal is to have all markets launched by the end of Q2 2018.  In the markets that have launched, AudienceApp has had an immediate impact on our customers and the way campaigns are being planned.  We have seen early and open adoption by our local customers, changing the way existing customers are buying TV as well as bringing new advertisers to local TV.

Weisler: How will this be marketed?

Tatta: Our efforts center heavily on industry education and building awareness about the benefits of census-level audience measurement and advanced analytics relative to TV advertising and programming. Ultimately, it’s about doing really great client work so being able to communicate some of the interesting things we’re doing for clients like Walmart and Charter is truly a privilege.
Klippel: AudienceApp is a mobile tool that will be in the hands of our sales account executives to allow them to work in real-time with their customers to plan and optimize against audiences.  In addition, we will be working to build awareness of the benefits and effectiveness of using viewership and audience data to drive advanced campaign planning and advanced analytics, ROI and attribution.

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