The Coup D’etat in Media. Insights From the TV Data Summit

There has been a coup d’etat in media. Where Content used to be King, it has now been deposed and replaced by what Eric Shenk, Technical Director, Office of the CTO, Google Cloud Media noted at the recent TV Data Summit - “Audience is King.”

Why have audiences taken over the prime consideration in media? Part of the answer is the primacy of data in the consumer journey. With access to first, second and third party datasets, marketers and programmers can more easily and efficiently parse who is motivated, who is engaged and who is ready to transact. But how can we know which datasets are relevant, what might be missing and how to best analyze the results?

Here are some takeaways from the TV Data Summit:

The Impact of Data
The availability of data has led to a seismic philosophical change in the media pipeline. The focus used to be on delivering audiences to advertisers. But now, with audiences more in control of their viewing choices, companies need to consider what triggers their choice and attention.

For Radha Subramanyam, Chief Research and Analytics Officer, CBS, her company’s world class global content, brand championship in a safe environment with a passion for innovation is all tied together with cutting edge analytics supported by data. In looking at the ad marketplace today, she noted that data can be used by targeting demographics to gain mass reach and brand awareness, from data enabled TV to target optimization and in addressable for one to one messaging.

For Shenk, “Data is everything,” touching all aspects of the media business. But, currently, it is highly fragmented, residing in silos within companies and behind walled gardens with frenemy companies.  As best as one can, data needs to be collected, transformed, analyzed, visualized and then the best decisions must be made from the insights.

Consumers Are in Charge
Larry Allen, Vice President Ad Innovation and Programmatic, Turner, noted the shift in focus from the client to the consumer. “TV is under siege,” he warned, and said that while advertising strives to make the experience better for the client, “what if it is alienating the consumer?”  We need to “put them front and center.”

He explained that the current ad model is not working because there is too much frequency, not enough relevancy and too mass. “Really long ads can work depending what you are trying to achieve,” he noted and added, “We have new customer engagement metrics to improve our understanding of what is happening. We want to put ads in front of people that make sense. So they don't avoid them.” To that end, Turner embarked on consumer journey research to find out what builds affinity for content. Turner identified consumer content needs and the path they took to make decisions. “This can make things more contextually relevant in real time,” he stated, “and it can be leveraged. But it is hard to scale today and it is a long term horizon project.”

The Challenge of Measurement
The wide possibilities that data brings to the media business is offset by some of the challenges it creates. “Measurement to business outcomes has been challenging,” admitted Julie DeTraglia, Head of Research, Hulu. Tracking content across screens, calculating co-viewing on shared platforms and establishing an industry standard cross platform measurement are all worthy goals that require a joint industry effort between companies that often compete.

CIMM, now part of the ARF, has been focused on establishing a universal content labeling code to ads and programming. This initiative is beginning to gain traction. Jane Clarke, Managing Director and CEO, CIMM noted that there is, “a lot of support for data but sometimes data produces different results because there is no national dataset. We need to understand what is under the hood.”

Initiatives like OpenAP have enabled frenemy companies to work together to bind datasets together to segment audiences for sales.  For Haile Owusu, Senior Vice President, Analytics, Decisions and Data Sciences at Turner, the focus is on algorithmic output. “We forecast bulk audience flows and the ability to probe intra-show behavior, identifying components of the content for additional churn,” he explained. He is also working on the blending of linear and digital consumption by coupling Iinear TV viewing with viewing on devices and to messaging on the app.

Data and analytics, fueled by machine learning and artificial intelligence, will make the media business more efficient and targeted. If frenemy companies can work together, the opportunities offered by data will multiply and the challenges it presents will be subtracted. The TV Data Summit has put all of the innovative approaches out there. Now is the time for the industry to move forward.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com


Matrix Solutions Finds Value in Local Political Advertising Spend

Using data effectively to better understand the voting public is something that has galvanized political prognosticators and, in thinking about Cambridge Analytica, has also caused great public controversy. Researchers such as Frank Lutz, who recently presented his findings at the DPAA, talk about the emotional impact of negativity on a campaign. But sometimes dollars spent on a campaign have even greater impact than a message. 

Matrix Solutions has recently released a new study that examines the impact of local ad spend and believes that it has the potential to better connect and inform voters on the issues on the local market level in time for Election Day.

According to their press release, Matrix Solutions looked at more than $256 million worth of relevant political ad sales to determine individual and total local broadcast spend of Democratic and Republican senatorial candidates in the toss up states of Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia for the duration of each state’s 2018 general election campaign.

Matrix Solutions’ Mark Gorman, CEO, and David Weitz, Data Product Manager shared their views on the political value of their company’s data with MediaVillage:

Charlene Weisler: What is Matrix - tell me your company's role in the industry.

Mark Gorman: Matrix Solutions offers media companies solutions to help monetize content and cultivate ad sales approaches. Monarch, our flagship product, is a global ad sales platform capable of transforming chaotic data into actionable sales information. We manage more than $13 billion in media ad revenue and work with outlets in most local markets nationwide.

Weisler: Which senatorial candidates spent the most on local TV?

Gorman: According to our midterms ad spend map which tracked over $256 million worth of local TV political ad sales made on behalf of senatorial candidates in the top 10 Senate toss ups, the Democratic contenders have outspent their competitors by $9.9 million (4 percent). Of the Democrats, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill (D) has spent the most at $20.3 million. She is the incumbent in her race and was first elected back in 2006. Right now she is trailing behind her competitor, Josh Hawley (R), in the polls by 2 points and it’s evident she’s working hard to be re-elected. However, the highest spender across the board is Florida’s Rick Scott (R), who served as the state’s Governor since 2011 and is now running for the Senate. He’s known for using a significant amount of his funds on campaign advertising.

Weisler: What data is accumulated and how is it used to develop insights?

David Weitz: We aggregate booked revenue across nearly our entire customer base, which includes stations in nearly every state, and we pull the data when the industry category or revenue type is political. We also know the station, market, advertiser (in this case political entity), agency and office. To develop the insight we look at each political advertiser (nearly 10,000 of these) and normalize them across all customers. Then we research each to determine whether they are for local or national office, which office, and whether they are Democrat or Republican. In addition to this, research is done to see whom each PAC favors in each state.

Weisler: What is the criteria of campaign donations - do they include individual, PACS etc? Does the percentage of donation types impact results? (for example, more PAC money carries more impact?)

Gorman: Local TV ad spend accounted for in our report is inclusive of purchases made by the candidates themselves or in their favor by entities like PACs, political committees, other organizations, among others.

Weisler: What is it about political ad spend on the local level that can influence the election?

Gorman: Political ad spend holistically is a tool politicians should leverage to raise awareness of their campaigns, but ad spend at the local level can be viewed as a direct avenue for educating constituents on the issues and discussions most pertinent to the communities at hand. Politicians need to recognize local media as an instrument to reaching the eyes and ears of the actual voters – whether undecided or decided – who possess the voting power to support their campaigns at the ballots. Additionally, local media impressions help constituents recognize their important responsibility on Election Day and encourage overall voter turnout.

What is the Bid Caching Controversy?

Ever heard of bid caching? It’s a technique that extends the life of bids in programmatic ad auctions, as Digiday describes it, which loosely translates into an effort where unsold inventory is shifted to other auctions.

OKO Digital Limited defines it as “the process of keeping a bid when a buyer fails to win an impression and then applying that bid to a later ad-request.” Its purpose is to reduce latency and serve ads faster. However, it can also increase CPMs and may result in buyers getting a different impression than they thought they were buying.

For advertisers, it lacks transparency, but for platforms, it facilitates the sale of previously unsold inventory. Some say it is a ‘bait and switch,’ while others call it an ‘innovation.’ It has been halted almost as fast as it was implemented, but not before a heated controversy erupted.

Industry Background
In the early days of programmatic, inventory was more siloed with private marketplaces offering unique, specialized inventory. Now marketplaces have opened up and more freely allow their inventory to be sold across multiple marketplace platforms. There is more inventory ubiquity and more pressure to differentiate.

As Digiday explains, “tweaking auction dynamics to gain a competitive...

Read the full article on the Videa blog.


Impacting the Ad Effect and Insuring Brand Safety. An Interview with the ARF’s Paul Donato

Image result for paul donatoAdvertisers are finding that the context in which an ad is viewed – not only within the commercial pod surrounded by other ads, but also the specific media platform, brand, device and time and place -  impacts the ad effect, both positively and negatively. With the proliferation of devices and platforms and the fragmentation of the media environment, brand safety is becoming a bigger issue. 
Paul Donato, Chief Research Officer at the ARF, has conducted considerable research in these areas and spoke to MediaVIllage about the insights and conclusions:

Charlene Weisler: What do you mean by context?

Paul Donato:  The context of an ad is the environment in which the advertisement is viewed, from the content surrounding the ad to the platform on which it appears. There is a large body of evidence supporting the premise that the context of an ad can affect perception of the ad, both positively and negatively. 

Weisler: And brand safety?

Donato: Brand safety is an issue that arises when the context of the ad, usually the content that the ad appears in tandem with, causes negative consumer reactions that can impact perception of the brand being advertised. Brands are afraid to appear next to unsavory content out of the fear that they may lose consumer trust and hurt brand equity if they are perceived as being supportive of that content.

Weisler: What are some of the highlights of the research you have seen regarding the effect ad context can have on perception and recall?

Donato: The research on the context effect goes back about 60 years. Studies have shown both positive and negative effects from ad context, though the focus lately has been on negative effects, given recent brand safety controversies. Most studies on the context effect have involved television commercials, and the general consensus was that the programs surrounding the commercials did impact the response consumers had to those commercials. Studies found that consumers were more likely to recall commercials in their favorite programs, and that advertising was more effective when there was alignment between the program and the product being advertised.

A recent ARF review of research on the context effect found that, while the evidence clearly supports the legitimacy of the context effect, the studies don’t sufficiently explain why the context effect occurs. Additionally, the ad context is difficult to isolate as it interacts with factors like brand and product characteristics and consumer attitudes.

Weisler: How does context impact ad receptivity?

Donato: The context of an ad impacts consumers’ state of mind, attention level, and emotions, which sets the stage for how an ad is perceived and processed. However, context is only a secondary factor to be considered, because quality of ad creative, reach and targeting are usually much more important in determining those responses.

Weisler: What are the elements of context and which ones are most pivotal?

Donato: The content the ad appears in and the other ads it is surrounded by, the media platform or brand, the device, and time and place all contribute to the context of an advertisement. Evidence is strongest regarding the content the advertising appears next to, like the program a commercial appears in, the text of an article next to a display ad or the video content that follows a pre-roll ad. How can an advertiser control for maximal context? and brand safety? How can ad context be used strategically to drive increased ad recall and more positive ad perception?   

It’s important for brands to conduct research with target consumers to uncover reactions to the content and context in which they plan to place their ads, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Brands should look for their target consumers’ preferred content, the content they pay most attention to and the content that prompts the most positive emotions. By placing ads in these contexts, brands stand a better chance of improved ad perception and recall from consumers.

The other way to improve ad effectiveness using the context effect is to align advertising with the content it will appear with on multiple emotional dimensions, which creates a sort of halo effect. It’s not enough to include a football-themed ad to play during a big game – advertisers need to understand why consumers love the specific sport and how their teams make them feel to create a strong alignment with the programming and the consumers’ emotional state.

Companies that conduct the necessary research and consider context from the beginning of the ad creation process will see the biggest gains from the context effect.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVIllage.com


Where Are We in Addressable TV? Myers Polls Agencies and Marketers in a New Study

With addressable television advertising poised to reach $3.04 billion in 2019, the media industry is now beginning to take a fuller look on its impact on the marketplace. But, despite the enthusiasm for addressable TV, a recent MediaVillage survey released by Jack Myers TomorrowToday, found that there is an industry knowledge gap that needs to be bridged to facilitate its adoption progress. 

Myers surveyed of 1200 advertiser and agency executives, asking them to rate their overall knowledge of addressable TV, the importance of it in the future for media generally and TV specifically, the current level of interest and the top performing companies in the landscape.
The industry is working hard to dispel the myths of addressable TV. Brett Hurwitz, Business Lead, Advanced TV, Oath, noted that there is a misconception that addressable is better for marketers with narrow population targets and that addressable TV CPMs carry a premium which makes it too expensive for advertisers with broad targets. But, higher CPMs are actually more efficient considering addressable’s targeting capabilities and its ability to avoid all of the waste in traditional TV advertising. 

Level of Knowledge and the Importance of Addressable TV
But are industry executives sufficiently knowledgeable in the advantages of addressable TV? The Myers study found that, among those polled, 38% of advertisers and 35% of marketers reported that they were sufficiently knowledgeable on the advantages of addressable TV versus linear (top 3 boxes on a 10 point scale). Many fell in the middle range indicating that a little more education could help accelerate addressable TV’s growth.

Notably, addressable’s messaging has penetrated agencies more effectively than at brands. The study found that generally speaking, agency executive felt more secure in their knowledge of the format with only 9% reporting low (bottom three boxes) understanding while 22% of marketers felt that way. There is obviously more work to be done at the brand level.

Yet, no matter what their knowledge comfort level was, both agency executives and marketers recognize the importance and high value of addressable TV for their industry and agree (63% for agency and 49% for marketers) that this format will be important and relevant to their future business. Notably, very few (4% and 8% respectively) felt that this advertising form had low importance. But the differential in high importance between the 63% for agencies and the 49% for marketers indicates that more work needs to be done to reinforce the value of addressable TV among brands and get them off the fence.

“It's logical that agencies are more knowledgeable,” explained Jack Myers, Media Ecologist and Founder of MediaVillage, “But the disconnect among marketers between using addressable and their knowledge is notable.” The industry could be doing more outreach among marketers to insure that they feel confident in their knowledge of addressable that will then reinforce their advertising decisions in the format.

Level of Involvement on Addressable TV
Because of the recognized importance of addressable, the study revealed that more and more of the industry is moving towards this type of advertising with 43% of agencies and 51% of marketers currently highly involved (top two boxes) in it. But there is still a significant percentage of executives (27% and 29% bottom two boxes) who are still on the sidelines which represents an area of opportunity for the industry.

The approach for outreach might be guided by the recruitment of the study itself. “The agency respondents reflect individual executives at different levels so comparisons cannot be made between agencies and marketers. A marketer respondent would represent a company; an agency respondent would be reflecting personal experience,” stated Myers.

The Best Companies in Addressable TV
Which are considered the best companies in the addressable TV space? According to those polled, DirecTV leads the field with 60% of agencies and 51% of marketers ranking them high (top three boxes) in industry leadership.

While actual rankings varied slightly between agencies and marketers the top ten companies were the same for both groups:

Top 3 Boxes
% AGENCY                                          %MARKETER______
DirecTV                60%                        DirecTV                 51%
Comcast/NBCU    55%                        AT&T                     51%
AT&T                    54%                        Verizon/Oath          50%
Verizon/Oath         50%                        Comcast/NBCU     47%
DISH                     47%                        Disney/ABC           46%
Disney/ABC          44%                        Spectrum                45%
Spectrum               37%                        DISH                      44%
FOX TV                36%                        FOX TV                 44%
CBS                       26%                        Charter                    35%
Charter                   24%                        CBS                        34%

The following companies have some work to do in increasing their presence and perception as addressable TV leaders among agencies and marketers. These companies received the highest percentage in the bottom three boxes for leadership:

Bottom 3 Boxes
% AGENCY                                          % MARKETER______          
Altice                     21%                        Altice                     19%       
Sinclair                  19%                        Sinclair                   16%       
Cadent (one2one)         15%                        Cadent (one2one)          17%       
CBS                       12%                        CBS                        13%       
Charter                   12%                        Charter                   13%       

In this first study by Myers, it is clear that there is work to be done in the industry to more clearly state the value of addressable TV and raise the level of knowledge (and therefore comfort) in the advertising format. But overwhelmingly, the industry agrees that addressable TV is the future as a valued and important advertising format. Now we have to work hard to dispel any remaining myths and raise the general level of knowledge.

“As audiences shift to OTT platforms and as advanced technologies accelerate the reach potential of addressable media, television will have a new communications and commerce application across the consumer journey,” explained Myers. “It’s important to understand how effectively the changing value proposition of television is being understood. This initial outreach is the first in a series of studies,” he concluded.

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com