Looking at Data from Both Sides of the Brain – a Roundtable with Cathy Hetzel and Jonathan Bokor

The world of data is not that simple anymore. Not only do companies have to understand the tactical, logical application of a myriad of datasets, they must also be creative enough to derive actionable, often intuitive insights from the data crunching results. 

How does the confluence of logic and intuition impact the work we do today? In the first in series of DISH Network sponsored “virtual roundtables” with industry experts, MediaVillage journalists, Charlene Weisler and David Polinchock, posed questions to Cathy Hetzel, Executive Vice President, comScore, and Jonathan Bokor, Senior Vice President of Precision Video at Publicis Media, about a “right brain/left brain” approach to decision making.

Hetzel leads the strategic partnership team which manages comScore’s relationships with the MVPDs and publishers who provide the data that fuels comScore’s massive and passive cross-platform products. This requires both right brain (the ability to think creatively and emotionally) and left brain (the ability to think quantitatively and logically) agility.

Bokor leads the Precision Video Center of Excellence at Publicis Media, which takes a data-driven and technology-enabled approach to evolving television into a more precise medium to deliver improved performance for their clients. Their approach utilizes data to identify strategic target audiences that represent a more refined view of their clients’ true target.

MediaVillage: Do you consider yourself right brain (emotional / creative) or left brain (logical / analytical)?

Cathy Hetzel: I lean toward right brain plus logic … is that even “a thing”?

Jonathan Bokor: I would consider myself left brain dominant but with creative abilities as well.

MediaVillage: Do you think people can be both?

Hetzel: From my answer above, I do think people can be both.

Bokor: In my view most people do tend to lean one way or another, but I’m sure there are people who are close to evenly split, just like there are people who are ambidextrous.

MediaVillage: How is the data with Dish being used?

Hetzel: Dish has been a valued partner for more than 10 years - and was the first company to use our addressable measurement for cross-platform.  We aggregate Dish data with other MVPD data to provide local and national ratings. They were our first national partner, providing our television services with the opportunity to provide measurement in all 210 local markets. Dish was also the first company to use comScore for addressable television measurement and, recently, the first MVPD to use comScore for cross-platform addressable measurement.

Bokor: We have a preference for using 1st party data when it’s available because it’s the best reflection of the client’s customers and, in general, tends to produce the best results. But we also see that 3rd party data can perform well too.  Since not all clients have 1st party data (or may not be willing to leverage it outside their domains), we utilize the best data available to us.  We also try to use attribution data whenever possible in order to gain insights into the effectiveness of our audience-targeted campaigns.

MediaVillage: What type of data is being used?

Hetzel: comScore uses second-by-second viewership data for both linear TV and addressable advertising.

Bokor: This varies by client depending on their objectives, what audiences they seek to target, and what KPIs they are looking to measure.  A wide variety of data types are used ranging from lifestyle/interest data, to purchase data, to TV viewing data to customer data.

MediaVillage: Will there be any attribution modeling with the data and, if so, how?

Hetzel: In combination with other data sources, comScore uses the Dish data for attribution modeling for both tune-in and advertiser-based attribution studies.

Bokor: We do attribution studies with most of our Addressable TV campaigns because Addressable TV provides us with data around which households saw the ad and we’re able to match that to attribution data where available.  Where sales data is available, and we can do a sales lift analysis, that’s usually the first choice, but we also do retail store visit analysis or website visit analysis where available and brand lift studies if that is appropriate.

MediaVillage: What do you think are privacy best practices?

Hetzel: comScore sees privacy protection as our highest priority with our partners. Our massive and passive measurement footprint includes more than 69 million televisions in more than 31 million U.S. homes. This scale, plus our projections for data we do not have – including OTA viewing -- protects our partner data from ever being exposed. And, to ensure the matched data is always protected, comScore uses a third-party match partner.

Bokor: All of our Addressable TV campaigns utilize a third-party data safe haven such as Acxiom or Experian to maintain the privacy of viewers, and we think consumers should have the ability to opt out of TV targeting.

MediaVillage: What do you see as the impact of creative on consumer response, especially in addressable?

Hetzel: Because comScore measures every creative execution at the exact commercial rating level, we are able to provide our clients, such as Dish, the information they need to be able to determine the impact of creative execution for every campaign. Creative is one of many elements of impact including pacing of ads, activation to the “most likely to buy” target and even timing of commercial assets that are measured by comScore.

Bokor:  We believe that using creative that is tailored to the objectives of the campaign are a best practice for audience targeting campaigns.  For example, if the goal of the campaign is to drive web visits, then the creative should reflect that.  However, custom creative isn’t always possible or available, so we can use the same creative that is used for the general market demo-targeting TV campaigns and we have found that we can still deliver lifts in key metrics using the same creative as general market.

MediaVillage: Is there a thought to creating a privacy "value exchange" for the consumer (what makes them happy you are using their data)?

Hetzel: That would be a decision to be made by our partners, not comScore. We provide a lot of value to our partnerships both by selling services to our partners and licensing the data that fuels our products and provides unmatched scale in our industry.

Bokor: It is a consideration that should be explored, but it is easier said than done.  Audience targeting usually carries a CPM premium which requires that it outperform demo targeting in order to make sense, so asking the advertiser to pay an additional amount to deliver a “value exchange” will require that audience targeting perform at an even higher level to justify this additional expense.

MediaVillage: What do you see as the long-term trends in data within the addressable ecosystem?

Hetzel: We ask we are hearing from our clients is to continue to focus on providing cross-platform unduplicated reach.  Getting cross-platform measurement right is our singular focus and the driving force behind what we do. Our aim is to provide unduplicated, comprehensive and objective measurement of content and advertising across any and every platform. We’ll continue to work with the industry to provide data at scale needed to measure viewership wherever the consumer chooses to watch content and advertising.

Bokor: The biggest trend I see is moving towards using the same targeting data across multiple channels and then uniting the data across those channels in order to deliver cross-screen reach, frequency and attribution.  This is a must for us because it allows us to more efficiently allocate our clients’ budgets to deliver the best results (as opposed to running siloed campaigns that don’t necessarily work together and communicate with each other). 

This article first appeared in


Ovation Upfront Showcases The Power of Art

Let me just start out by saying that I am a great fan of Ovation. It is, as Liz Janneman, Executive Vice President, Network Strategy, Ovation, stated, “America’s only arts network,” whose mission is to celebrate both the classical arts and the cutting edge art of tomorrow. 

Ovation Programming
“Art is a powerful three letter word,” Janneman stated, and Ovation programming “celebrates the artist experience through premium content and compelling storytelling.” To that end, the network announced four shows showcasing that mission including the final season of Versailles, the recently premiered espionage series X Company and new series, The Wine Show and crime thriller Riveria. 

X Company, airing Mondays at 10pm is a World War II based espionage series inspired by true events at Camp X, a top secret Allied spy training camp on Lake Ontario. It is the compelling story of five recruits who go behind enemy lines in Europe to help the Allied forces defeat the Nazis. 

Versailles, airing on Saturdays at 10p is now in its sophomore year and will enter its third and final season in October 2018.  George Blagden, who plays King Louis XIV on the program, marveled at the series’ authenticity. The series is partially filmed on the actual grounds at Versailles, “one of the eight wonders of the world,” he noted, “There is no pretending – we are actually in the 350 year old space where ballet was invented and  opera performed.” 

The Wine Show, Wednesdays at 10p, takes a storytelling approach to wine connoisseurship. With wines spanning eleven countries over five continents, wine expert and host Joe Fattorini assured the upfront crowd that anyone can become a wine expert in 90 seconds. “Look for BLIC,” he explained, “that is, Balance – is it fruity or acidic, Length – how long does the taste stay in your mouth, Intensity – of the wine flavor and Complexity –you should note no more than three distinct tastes.” Every bottle of wine tells a great story. 

Riviera, which is “a sensation in the UK,” according to Janneman, debuts February 2019 on Ovation. The program is a crime mystery thriller set in France that follows an art curator who is trying to solve the mystery of her husband’s murder. Her quest devolves into the lurid aspects of art theft and how art can be used for money laundering.  

Multiplatform Targeting to A25-54
Ovation recently launched a new OTT service called Journy that is streamed on Roku and Xumo smart TVs, featuring art, culture and travel programming. While the network continues to target Adults 25-54 with discretionary income and high education, Janneman, also explained that, “With Journy and the platforms that it is displayed on, we are targeting a younger subset of that demographic but still in the same theme of art, culture and travel,” offering the younger cohort an truly immersive experience.

Journy initiatives for 2018 include, according to Elba Flamenco, Ovation’s Senior Director of Content Partnerships, “adding even more programming content and expanding our app to several TV connected devices to increase distribution, ” such as Apple, Amazon and Chrome.

Advocating for the Arts
Ovation is also a strong advocate for the arts with outreach programs. Janneman noted that “We have formed a Stand for the Arts Coalition with more than 30 organizations joining the cause such as Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater, National Humanities Center and the American Film Institute. All of these organizations are working together to promote art and art access.” 

This advocacy is moving into the political realm in regards to government funding of the arts. “We have come out against the de-funding of the NEA. We are not a recipient of any NEA funding but we have stated that for every dollar that the NEA spends, $5 comes back to the economy, “she noted, “We believe that when the NEA provides a grant, it is a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval which then enables that organization to secure more private funding.” 

If the NEA is abolished, Janneman believes that the Stand for the Arts Coalition will get larger and offer organizations an even stronger voice to promote the arts. “Someone has to step up power of art and carry the mantle of arts,” she concluded.  

This article first appeared in


GABBCON’s 2018 Audience-Based Buying Conference: It’s All About Inventory

The third-annual Global Audience-Based Buying Conference and Consultancy (GABBCON) Audience-Based Buying Conference, was held recently in New York City. The 2018 conference offered attendees a wealth of information on how marketers and advertisers can adapt to the new environment of diverse datasets, dynamic real-time ad insertion, and the automation of local television.

Here is what’s looming on the horizon.

Identifying Diverse Audiences
In this age of ever-expanding consumer datasets, what is the best method to determine the most impactful consumer for a brand or network? Jason Wertheimer, vice president of media technology at Horizon Media, noted optimistically that our ability to pinpoint audiences is significantly better than it was years ago.

But Wertheimer says it’s hard to keep up: “Data is flying so fast. We need to make sense of it. Technology is advancing faster than we can keep up.” For some, data is not a panacea. According to Beth Mach, chief digital officer at Initiative, “consumers are finicky and change a lot. There is only so much we can attach to data.”

Read the full article on the Videa blog.


The Media Crystal Ball

It is difficult enough to predict how the media landscape will look next year but it is arguably even more difficult projecting how things will look five years hence. A recent Mediapost event gathered some of the best industry minds together to share their thoughts about the state of the media state in 2023. Here is what they predicted:

TV Will Always Be Here
There was optimism regarding the robustness of the TV and the advertising business. According to Tom Goodwin, EVP, Head of Innovation, Zenith, “We tend to think that TV or advertising is dead but it is here to stay.” Further, there was a feeling that even old media has the ability to adapt and reinvent for the new digitized media environment. “The money keeps shifting to online and digital,” stated Brian Hughes, SVP, Audience Intelligence and Strategy, MAGNA. However, he believes that this momentum will slow that down and flatten as “old school media reinvents themselves.”

Delight the Consumer … or Else
Since consumers will have greater power to choose the ads they want to see, those companies that engage people in a negative way may experience blowback. Barry Lowenthal, President, The Media Kitchen, said that, “Facebook will be the big loser’” in the next five years because they fail at the “fundamental human truth” regarding shame about envy. “Facebook peddles in envy. Most feel bad about themselves after seeing Facebook,” he explained, “and you can't sustain a business on envy.”  He predicted that unless Facebook reinvents itself, they will lose money. “It is better to drive to gratitude,” he concluded.

There is also the thought that unless companies respect the consumer by providing them with relevant messaging (without getting creepily intrusive), consumers may decide to opt out and withhold their data and their attention. “Consumers will be in control of their data. GDPR will precipitate that,” noted Natalie Monboit, SVP, Futures for Samsung, Starcom USA, who added, “There will be a shift to drop data when in doubt. Consumers will have more self-sovereignty.”

Streamlined Processes Through Technology
Whether it’s the continuing increase in the amount and type of available data, the introduction of blockchain protocol into the media business, the use of artificial intelligence or the boundaries of privacy, all these issues will impact how we conduct our business five years from now. Monboit noted that, “Blockchain could be the one thing that disrupts today,” and has the potential to change the business.

Finally, it is important for media companies to continue to take risks. Sam Olstein, Global Director Innovation, GE Corporation, concluded that the biggest challenge today is the mindset to avoid more risks. Spending money on things that don’t pan out is “never wasted because it laid the bedrock for the next entrepreneur to benefit from previous mistakes.”

This article first appeared in


Tackling the Big Media Industry Issues at GABBCON 2018

Reaching the right consumer is getting much easier and at the same time, far more complicated. At the  GABBCON conference, issues like privacy and the right to be forgotten on the consumer side faced off with fraud, viewability and attribution challenges on the advertiser side. The playing field is not only changing, we may not be able to discern the best path to the goal posts. 

And in the spirit of the time, Gabe Greenberg, CEO and Co-Founder, GABBCON, made a concerted effort to enlist a diverse group of speakers to participate on panels. This resulted in an event that included new perspectives on media issues. Here are some takeaways:

Choosing a Consumer's Tattoo, Shadow or Twin
What is the best way to target a consumer? A panel moderated by Wendy Dunlap, Senior Vice President Digital Investment, Blue449 (previously Optimedia of Publicis Groupe), parsed out the various ways marketers can profile a consumer – whether a Twin, a Shadow or a Tattoo.  
Dunlap explained that a Twin is an individual’s digital representation formed by the aggregation and analysis of their behaviors, preferences and attitudes as expressed in the digital world.  A Shadow is an outline of a real-world identity but is prone to distortion and misrepresentation based on imprecise data signals in providing a complete picture. A Tattoo, as coined by Bethany Mach, Chief Digital Officer of Initiative, is a permanent marker of an individual’s digital activity that doesn’t go away but can continue to morph based on new information.  

“The replica of a real consumer is an amalgam of their various behaviors,” Dunlap noted. “A tattoo is a great metaphor,” she continued, stating that we should track “how it holds up over time and what we add to it” and “how it changes, “as more attributes are added to it or whether it fades away.” 

With Employees, Should it be a Right Brain or Left Brain Hire?
Throughout the day, panelists brought up the challenge of hiring the right people – those with that careful balance of right and left brain capabilities and experiences. And should new hires be from media or outside media? These are no small issues for the industry at a time when there is a need for both creative and analytical solutions and the knowledge of the past and the capabilities of the future.  
Mach stated, “I am looking for new types of people to work for me.  I want a data scientist or engineer.” However, filling media slots with left brain experts may be missing an important ingredient in discerning consumer motivations and behaviors. Shouldn’t we also be hiring anthropologists, Dunlap countered? “It’s good to have an analytical perspective but you also need a social science background,” she added.

Blockchain is Coming. Be Ready. Or Else.
There has been a lot of talk about how Blockchain will impact the Media industry but what exactly is Blockchain? Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer, Omnicom Media Group, defined it, “as an ecosystem. It is a technology method that provides a secure chain of custody for any digital transaction, data, or personal attribute all the way through a system. Where it is where it came from and what aspect of it you can use.”

It was agreed that Blockchain should be embraced and not deferred. Natalie Monboit, Head of Futures at Starcom, warned, “It will hurt you if you are not involved.” She advised to start now by looking ahead and asking, “What is that big disruptive vision? What is the future state?  And then work backwards. You have to be in it in order for it not to hurt you.”

While some may feel that the future application of Blockchain is just another monstrous transformation to upend business as usual, there are those who look on the bright side. Monboit concluded, “Blockchain has potential to solve for fraud and clean up our industry. It unearths everything we understand about engaging consumers. It is a lot bigger than just solving for current issues in ad tech.”

This article first appeared in