Q&A with Katy Loria, Chief Revenue Officer at Screenvision

Katy Loria, EVP, Chief Revenue Officer at Screenvision, made a huge career transition from television and digital at Viacom in Chicago to cinema advertising at Screenvision in New York. She says that “after so many years at Viacom, which was a wonderful place to work, I wanted a change of pace. I went from big company to small company, from public company to private company and from consumer facing brand to non-consumer facing. For me it was a new and different challenge.”

In this fascinating interview, Loria talks about her work at Screenvision, the transitions in the movie business and how it differs from television, how she achieves life balance as the mother of twins and, looking forward, how she thinks the media landscape will change over the next five years.

CW: What is Screenvision’s competitive set?

KL: There are a couple of ways to define that. The real answer is that our competitive set is the video marketplace. If we are downstream, there are just a few of us – a couple of us – that sell cinema advertising. That would look like an obvious competitive set. But in my opinion, at that point, you have already missed the broader competitive set which is really television. Television is the biggest market, and the opportunity is the dollars we see flow from television to digital video  - and there is where cinema needs to be a bigger part of the mix. So dollars that have historically been in TV that want a new home because of fragmentation and declining ratings, DVRs and fast forwarding through content, as those dollars seek new options to stay current with consumers and how they consume media, that is where we would like to be part of that conversation.  It is really anybody – brand or agency – seeking a home for a video message.   

CW: What is your definition of television?

KL: It’s a box.  My definition of television is that it is literally the box that is still, in most, but not all of our family rooms. But what comes through that box is changing all the time and so are all of the options for us to consume content. TV is one place that we do that, but it is not just only place, as we watch more and more content on mobile devices. But TV still is the significant conduit by which content is comes in, however the traditional ways of consumer linear televisions is changing rapidly with more  OTT and all sorts of other streaming options. 

CW: You are a working mother. How do you achieve work life balance?

KL: It’s a great question. I think the first thing you do is lose the word “balance” because it puts too much pressure on the question. What I learned over the years is to embrace imperfection and recognize that there is an ebb and a flow to it. There are times when I am going to feel that I am excelling at my career maybe at the expense of the home front but that flips around and goes the other way too. The other thing I have come to understand (maybe it is just a rationale) that maybe the small moments matter more than the large moments. So I may miss a soccer game or school concerts but I got home before dark last night and played ping pong in the driveway with my son. So if you believe that it is those little moments that add up to what is really important, I am doing okay. 

CW: What advice would you give a college student today regarding a career?

KL: Ask lots of questions and listen really well to the answers. The more people and experiences that you can accumulate the more, well-rounded your approach to life and business will be. And I think there are great role models out there. So find that person and pick up the phone and call. Don’t be afraid to lean on people for advice and questions and help because we like to give it. The ability to find and embrace a mentor is a great approach.

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SymphonyAM is on the VideoPulse of Measurement

SymphonyAM recently announced the launch of their new measurement platform called VideoPulse which they tout as “the first single source TV multi-platform measurement service for advertisers, agencies and media companies capturing in-depth insights into consumer media usage in real-time from over-the-top (OTT), video-on-demand (VOD), digital video audiences (Web, app, and gaming devices), DVR and linear TV.”

Interested in the potential measurement possibilities in this service, I attended their breakfast presentation in New York. “Measurement has not kept up,” stated Charles Buchwalter, President and CEO of SymphonyAM, “and our mission at SymphonyAM is to “build analytics, data and software.”
Measurement challenges are manifold. According to NBCU President of Research and Media Development Alan Wurtzel, “We are not getting measured accurately and are losing the ability to monetize. We lose between 15 and 35 percent of viewers who are viewing on an alternative platform and not being measured.” Colleen Fahey-Rush EVP and Chief Research Officer for Viacom Media Networks added “We measure what has hit the TV glass but none of that consumption is making its way to understand performance.”

Practically speaking, according to Wurtzel, “The industry used to using the current currency. Measuring is hard and getting harder. The industry is looking for alternative solution if we can get it today.” Fahey-Rush noted that “the trick is just not getting not the media companies together but the agencies as well. Get a dialogue going.”

I asked Charles Buchwalter a series of questions to get more insight into VideoPulse.

CW: How long have you been developing VideoPulse?

CB: We’ve been developing our MediaPulse Analytic Platform over 3 years, and based on client feedback, one year ago we were able to fine-tune our focus on four key product areas: AdPulse (cross media ad and sponsorship effectiveness), ConsumerPulse (cross media consumer segmentation), GeoPulse (linking cross media exposure to retail visitation) and VideoPulse (total TV/Video audience tracking with particular focus on exposure beyond the current currency). SymphonyAM has been intensely focused on VideoPulse throughout 2015 and we just had our official launch this month.

CW: Who are the customers for this service and how can they maximize its value?

CB: VideoPulse will be leveraged across media companies, advertisers and agencies with unique benefits to each party. Media companies, including broadcast and cable firms will be able to monetize assets that previously haven’t been measured. Advertisers will benefit through close-to-real-time optimization of media plans and more effectively reaching target consumers. Agencies will be able to more accurately support the cross media needs of their advertiser clients.

CW: How many datasets do you include?

CB: The technology serving as the basis of VideoPulse tracks live and same day TV, VOD to 3 days, DVR to 7 days, VOD beyond 3 days, DVR beyond 7 days and OTT exposure across TV, laptop, tablet and mobile. The same technology tracks consumers’ online usage, all app usage, social, cinema and radio, allowing for understanding a complete “media day-in-the-life” of numerous demos.

CW: Any unexpected insights from the data and if so what can you share?

CB: As the data generated by VideoPulse haven’t been seen before, there is no shortage of insights. For example, 25% of millennials’ TV/video usage is beyond Live+7, and can be considerably higher depending on the particular program/episode being viewed. Also, viewers streaming originals such as Orange Is The New Black watched 23% less other programming during the week of the Season 3 release (week of June 8), but viewership of other programming bounced back to normal levels after three weeks’ time. An area we’ll be watching carefully is the interplay between linear and non-linear viewership: what are examples of consumers who are increasingly viewing on non-linear platforms re-engaging with broadcast programming?

CW: VOD beyond three days is capped at what point? Do you monitor to 30 days?

CB: As of now we are going to 35 days.

CW: What TV data are you using...are you using Nielsen data for TV or STB data?

CB: We do not use Nielsen or any STB data. All of the TV data we use comes from our own application which uses an audio-matching capability via automatic content recognition (ACR) to identify what people are watching live, delayed or via OTT. Any video content that is viewed on portable devices is monitored via clickstream.

CW: Over the development phase of three years did you have to change or modify your specs as the landscape changed? 

CB: No. Our technology decisions of three years ago, i.e. mobile devices will be the media meters of the future and everything we do will be passive and single-source, have allowed us to keep apace of the dynamic changes occurring re: consumer media behavior. 

CW: How do you plan to keep up with change?  

CB: One of the great things about being a startup is that we can be very nimble, and can respond quickly to requests made by our clients. We have an off-shore development team that enables efficiency and speed-to-market. Our management team is focused on being responsive to the needs of our clients in the context of significant industry developments. 

CW: What if any challenges did you face? Do you currently face? And how do you overcome them?
CB: We are very proud of our 15,000 person mobile-device panel which continues to be unique in the market. But we know it must grow, and are seeking to get to 25,000 as soon as possible, and to 50,000 by this time next year. Partnering with the right companies will help us extend the robustness of our coverage.


comScores’ Big Acquisition of Rentrak Shifts Measurement’s Tectonic Plates

I have to admit that I was surprised by the news that comScore was acquiring Rentrak. While I expected more consolidation in the media measurement space, I didn't envision that it would be two big players joining forces but rather the continued ingestion of smaller companies by larger companies. But this acquisition is not only a brilliant tactical move, it is also strategic. This might finally move analytics and insights in such a way that the industry shifts from the proxy metric of age and gender and into a more standardize-able cross platform measurement.

The news has caused the otherwise politic and polite “non-competition” between Nielsen and Rentrak to publicly flare up during a panel at Advertising Week. This indicates to me that the measurement space is receiving a boost of attention beyond the usual suspects and even perhaps a needed ‘kick in the pants’ to get long-planned initiatives that are ‘still in the development stage’ out into the industry. I believe that competition is good and even welcomed in the audience measurement space today. It encourages evolution, fresh thinking and experimentation in an industry that is undergoing massive transformation with new challenges (and opportunities) to capture media usage behavior.

The Players
Serge Matta, CEO comScore and Bill Livek, CEO Rentrak released a joint statement in a press release saying, “The time has come to build this measurement system of the present and future, and that’s what the merger of comScore and Rentrak will allow us to do.” At the Rentrak Investors Day meeting this past Thursday, October 01, 2015 Livek announced that the joint efforts of comScore and Rentrak “brings two companies together with complementary assets – products, data, people and innovation. This helps us define the future of measurement.”

Upon the news, Nielsen released an official statement to all media outlets which said, "Nielsen has the only Total Audience measurement, comparable across all screens. All of our data is fully representative of the U.S. population, and we deliver truly independent measurement. There are myriad analytics options for the media industry, but Nielsen’s focus is on delivering the actual currency ratings data used for trading billions of dollars in advertising. This requires superior quality, industrial-strength delivery, and gold-standard audited processes and methods."

Industry Reactions
The reactions from the industry to the acquisition ran the gamut from elated to resigned. Some who did not want to be quoted for attribution felt that “despite the perceived benefit to the industry of an emerging Nielsen competitor and possible currency expansion to include consumer demos, from a methodological soundness perspective, it's a pretty unholy alliance.” 

But there were many who saw the acquisition as the opportunity for healthy competition and continued industry innovation. Here are a few quotes spanning networks, agencies, measurement companies and organizations:

Geri Wang, President ABC Sales said: “We support all industry initiatives that get us closer to a true cross-platform measurement solution. Increased resources and healthy competition are always positive things and the expertise of these two firms has great potential. We look forward to continuing and growing our relationship with this new enterprise." 

Alan Wurtzel, President of Research and Media Development for NBC Universal said, "Competition in the measurement space offers the opportunity to foster greater innovation among all the players. The introduction of a new measurement service which would offer a different way to crack the cross-platform code would be enormously beneficial to the entire media industry. It can't come too soon."

Colleen Fahey Rush, EVP, Chief Research Officer, Viacom said, "This merger paves the way for innovation in cross platform measurement to capture how audiences are consuming content on every screen and platform."

Howard Shimmel Chief Research Officer, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc said, “We are excited about the announcement and believe that competition is great and sorely needed. In the past, we have been vocal in our belief that there isn’t any one company that solves all of this. Like many in the industry with diverse portfolios, we need two different cross platform measurements – for a network like CNN, we need to accurately measure total reach across all platforms, including TV, Digital and Mobile. comScore offers that now and our hope is that the product gets better with the Rentrak data. But we still need the ability to see individual shows like “The Last Ship” on TNT and how they perform in live, DVR, C3, VOD, SVOD, which seems to be the focus of the Nielsen Total Audience initiative. Each product has a strength applicable to our business and it may be that we use both services for our insights and sales needs.” 

Dave Morgan, CEO and founder of Simulmedia said, “The comScore/Rentrak merger is certainly good for both of those companies. They gain scale and have a product set that complements each other well. The combined company will get more attention and grow faster than they could have on their own. It’s also good for Nielsen. The merged companies bring more attention into the marketing data and media measurement space and Nielsen will now get credit for the work that they've been doing in cross-platform that the market hasn't noticed. Plus, having a noisier comScore/Rentrak around will give Nielsen more firepower to push back on legacy media clients who may have slowed down some of their attempts to drive more innovation in the past.

Andy Brown, CEO and Chairman, Kantar Media said, “Separately both comScore and Rentrak are good partners in the US and globally. I think the merger of the two companies will only accelerate our current initiatives”  

Brad Adgate, SVP, Research Horizon Media “I think this will be the biggest challenge to Nielsen since AGB rolled out their People Meter sample nearly 30 years ago.” 

Jane Clarke, CEO, Managing Director of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) said, “CIMM congratulates comScore and Rentrak on their announced merger which will help bring needed competition into the field of cross-platform audience measurement. This area is undergoing significant pressure to innovate in response to quickly evolving consumer content consumption habits.  The proliferation of available measurement options will help innovation.  But at the same time, we cannot have a fractured approach to measurement.  While the technology that companies such as the combined comScore and Rentrak will bring to cross-platform measurement are greatly needed, it is still the cooperation and coordination of our industry that will enable effective measurement systems to be adopted.  CIMM, as the industry’s R&D body to advance cross platform measurement, was created to help foster that communication and cooperation so collectively we can address the needs and challenges that await the industry through a unified approach.”

George Ivie, CEO and Executive Director at Media Rating Council said, “I congratulate both organizations and wish them well. My hope is that comScore/Rentrak will continue to pursue accreditation of their existing products which remain very important, and that they will submit whatever cross-platform products they develop to the MRC process timely.  Project Blueprint (comScore’s initial cross platform measurement project) for example was not submitted to MRC, and there is a clear need to audit/accredit these types of new methods. Notably, the new combined entity clearly has a "big data" heritage but I caution about generalizing all of their data assets as "census."  Some sources are census, such as tag-based impression records (these require other actions such as IVT filtration), but others are not census and require specialized adjustments.”

Gayle Fuguitt, CEO & President ARF said: “We at the ARF issued a measurement mandate over a year ago, challenging the industry to deliver common GRP and ROI Metrics.  A valuable advancement is to see industry leaders like Comscore and Rentrak merge to connect their measurement onto one data management platform instead of relying on advertisers to stitch it together. We know that the fastest growing media are the least well measured today, especially mobile.  Further advancements are needed now in mobile measurement and measurement precision across the board for true GRP and ROI metrics for speed to decisions.”

I think that as an industry we should welcome this new paradigm of Nielsen as established measurement of television now getting into digital and a cross platform service versus comScore/Rentrak as established measurement of digital with TV measurement capabilities via STBs and a cross platform service. May the best solution become the standard!

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