FTC Regulations in a World of Big Data, Consumers, Advertisers, and TV

FTC regulations regarding consumer privacy are pivotal pieces of legislation. Television has increasingly come to rely on big datasets, with new initiatives by Viacom and Turner concerning their linear, addressable, and programmatic data platforms.

Wherever big data is used, there’s an unspoken assumption that the industry will be privacy compliant, that the data is hashed, and that it’s only used to target consumers on an anonymous basis. But as companies gather ever more granular data that can be combined and modeled using machine learning, how close will targeting become to specific one-to-one marketing in television? And at that point, how much privacy can consumers expect?

Failing to Create Standards Creates Risk
Cooperation across companies to develop a data-privacy industry standard not only helps consumers—it helps businesses as well. In a recent article in AdExchanger, Brad Smith, SVP Revenue and Operations at Videa, noted, “Guidelines and best practices drive consistency and repeatability in systems and processes. It also preserves and improves the art of selling broadcast linear television advertising and the use of first- and third-party data overlays to better understand audience value. (It) establishes rules of engagement between marketplaces so demand and inventory are represented fairly.”

Read the full article on the Videa blog.

Optimizing Short Form Digital-First Content. An Interview with A+E’s Shannon King

Shannon McGarrigal King, SVP Digital Content Partnerships & Social Media at A+E actually began her career in banking where she honed her skills in general business management. But she soon realized that, while she wanted a career in sales & marketing, “that banking was not nearly as interesting to me as media & entertainment.” 

So King left banking and entered media where she worked for both  a series of digital start-ups beginning with Moviefone (later acquired by AOL), and then leading digital sales innovation and integration within established media companies such as Yahoo! and Time Inc. As COO, she then lead Levo, a career navigation network which helps young millennial women in the first years of their career establish networks, gain mentors and create a professional foundation. From there she accepted her latest opportunity – helping to create a new short-form & social media agency for the highly regarded and strongly branded A+E Networks. 

Charlene Weisler: What are your responsibilities at A+E?

Shannon King: I am responsible for the distribution and monetization of short form digital-first content as well as managing the social media platforms for all of the A+E brands.  At the heart of A+E Networks we are a video storytelling company. 45th and Dean is our new dedicated effort to tell those stories on platforms beyond the linear TV format.  Through careful and strategic use of data, we help enable the development of digital and social-first content as well as determine the best platforms to distribute it. 

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about 45th & Dean. 

Shannon King: 45th & Dean is a multi-platform video storytelling hub and full service studio and social media agency. We develop short and mid-form video content for our brands and our advertising partners. The name comes from a combination of where our headquarters are located on 45th Street in Manhattan and where our new production facilities are located on Dean Street in Brooklyn. We are a team of award-winning social, digital and television talent whose goal is to reimagine brand stories by integrating advertising partners’ messaging with A+E Networks characters, shows and themes for audiences across all platforms. 

Charlene Weisler: How does Analytics and Data factor into your mission?

Shannon King: Analytics and Data are at the core of everything we do. We analyze the performance of our content using real-time analytics and adjust accordingly. We put the content out there on Facebook, for example, and see how it works. Then we learn from the data results, adapt the content and push it out again – learn, adapt, push. What we are finding is that different content works on Facebook as compared to Twitter as compared to Snapchat. We look at each of them with a different lens. What is the audience and what creative works best? What business model makes the most sense?

Charlene Weisler: What are the differences you see across the major social media platforms and how do you use them to give your brands a voice of their own beyond individual shows?

Shannon King: You can’t ignore the sheer scale of Facebook- We typically use Facebook for video and mass reach. Twitter is great for live events such as the Critics’ Choice Awards, etc. often as a companion piece to other content where we can use talent directly to promote and interact with fans. Snapchat works well for talent engagement and behind the scenes. Since this content disappears quickly it feels exclusive to our fans. We also use other sites like Reddit which offers a deeper dive about a certain topic. Recently we covered the DB Cooper mystery and used Reddit to continue the conversation via live chats. 

Up until now we used social media as an extension of our shows to drive tune in.  Moving forward, we are focused on organic conversations relating to themes that give each of our brands their own voice. Examples are – Lifetime and our Fempire campaign about strong women and equality for all, while History which is about people and their stories. We focus on the tenets, the core themes related to each brand and how to ladder to that theme. The digital versions of our brands have an identity of their own. They are not just used to send promos out. The audience is different for each brand, and they expect different content and experiences from each platform. Social media can be used to share memories that are common to us and allows our audience to participate. An example is our 9/11 programming. We can run a full length documentary on air, and then compliment the experience by utilizing an Instagram gallery to invite viewers to post photographs relative to the content with a hash tag. It enables us to allow our viewers to participate in the storytelling by remembering. 

Charlene Weisler: What are some of the challenges that a traditionally "TV-centric" media brand has to overcome in a digital first consumption environment?

Shannon King: Powerful brands like A&E and History are so well associated with TV that it’s hard to get people to think of them in any other way. That’s a huge challenge for us. At the core of A&E, History and all of our brands is excellent storytelling. We understand that consumers want to interact differently on different platforms with our content. So long as we continue to tell compelling stories with this in mind we’ll be sure to deliver the premium content our fans expect from us across all screens. 

Charlene Weisler:  What are the advantages that your linear platforms bring to your social and digital platforms?

Shannon King: For me, combining TV and digital is the Holy Grail in my career. I have a digital background and being able to tap into the linear space is an exciting prospect. The two are the perfect complement to each other, they boost each other. Being disruptive in the digital and social space is a challenge and to have access to powerful brands, programs and talent is a huge advantage. TV is one of the biggest drivers of conversation. Digital and social publishers rely on it whether they have their own linear property or not. Luckily we do and we’ll continue to use our linear, digital and social platforms together in an effort to deliver engaging360 degree experiences and conversations for our audiences. 

Charlene Weisler: How do you achieve work/life balance?

Shannon King: I laugh every time I get that question and believe that balance is a misnomer and sets the wrong expectations for men and women alike -it’s more like juggling or integration. There is never a perfect “balance” because every day is different. You can’t say that you will do the same things at 9a or 5p every day. Life-- neither at work or at home-- is simply not that predictable. To be successful, one needs to be able to constantly reassess the priorities of the day or hour and realize that in fact each layer of your life adds to the other with a compounding effect. Finally, we all need strong support systems both at home and at work.

Charlene Weisler: What advice would you give the next generation of media executives?

Shannon King: Say yes first and figure it out later!  You can do a lot more that you think you can do. Say yes. Then you can decide how and even if you like it, but you don’t want to look back and say “I wish I had tried that.” Say yes first and figure it out later. 

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Campaign Optimization Is Enhanced by Algorithmic Attribution

Campaign optimization through attribution is a hot topic for digital marketers, 58 percent of whom say it’ll be the top tactic occupying their time and resources this year, up 22 percent from last year, according to eMarketer.

 But the measurement criteria for attribution is undergoing an evolution from traditional last-touch and first-touch models to more sophisticated computer-generated statistical models that help both buyers and sellers better optimize media spending and consumer targeting.

Algorithmic attribution offers advertisers the ability to react more quickly to competitive changes in the market, eMarketer also noted. But between traditional market-driven forms of attribution and the brave new world of algorithmic attribution, which model allows marketers the flexibility and creativity to better track the path from search to consideration to purchase?

Attention to Incrementality
Whether traditional attribution, like Media Mix Modeling (MMM), or algorithmic, such as Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA), attribution is essentially the practice and measurement of incrementality—the amount of change caused by a small increment of input. In studying the incrementality of attribution, much depends upon the product—cars compared to toothpaste, for example—and the length of consideration time before purchase.

Read my full article on the Videa blog.


Local Broadcast Ad Revenue Forecast 2017

The TVB hosted their annual Broadcast and Leadership Conference during Advertising Week, focusing on the value of broadcast TV and the local markets. What does the future hold for broadcast TV compared to digital? Steve Lanzano, President and CEO TVB, led off the event with an assessment of the role of digital and TV. Citing the recent Facebook measurement data controversy, he said, “Fraud, viewability, lack of third party digital verification – we take these things seriously. Marketers are now reassessing their level of participation in digital. I believe the shine is off the shiny new object. TV is still number one in influencing voters across the spectrum.” 

It is true that TV is currently a top influencer but how long will its dominance and ad revenue maintain?  Marci Ryvicker, Managing Director Wells Fargo, titled her presentation Broadcast Looks Healthy! “Despite,” she said, “what the stocks may be telling us.” According to Ryvicker, “Retransmission consent is a growing percentage of revenue and share of EBITA. Broadcast is a must see, must have asset and a key asset in this ecosystem. Broadcast will be in any successful skinny bundle. If TV doesn't matter, why is Trump raising $140 million and spending most of it on TV?”

But looking forward, she said that “Broadcast ratings are not expected to be very strong. Stations, though, are maintaining their share. The outlier is digital which is taking share from print but broadcast under performed in the stock market.”

Jack Myers, Media Ecologist, MyersBizNet, offered his forecasts for 2016 and 2017. Currently, 2016, with the Olympics and charged Presidential election, is proving to be a healthy market for TV. “More advertisers are looking at their digital expenditures,” Myers stated, and then added, “In the upfront, CPG moved back to TV from digital. It was a surprisingly strong upfront this year with CPM growth between 7% and 12% and first quarter scatter is strong so far.” Data is playing a major role, along with attribution. “There have been major shifts with data analytics at the core of decision making. We are incorporating more analytics into the process.”

Myers anticipates that local/national spot broadcast TV is projected to increase +12.5% in 2016 with legacy media garnering +11.8% and digital +25%. But the picture changes in 2017 as the total percent change declines -12.4% driven by a legacy media loss of -13.5% and a digital gain of +5%. 

The trends in consumer usage portend a more difficult sales environment for traditional television in the longer term, but television executives are exploiting digital opportunities at both the local and national level. As Myers stated, “There can be a bigger upside and better use of digital inventory in local markets. Local TV and radio have extraordinary opportunities to tap into local shopper dollars. And mobile holds significant upside potential.” 

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The State of the Art in On Demand

Last week’s B&C Multichannel New On Demand Summit gave a great overview of the state of the art in the on demand world. From content creators and distributors to measurement companies to marketers, the growth and appeal of on demand for both business and consumers is growing and transforming the business of television.  Here are the takeaways:

Make the Viewing Ecosystem Simple and Unified …
With the myriad of programming options available to viewers, there is the risk of making content choices, delivery options and payment processes too complicated and time consuming. Different programs originating from different apps and requiring different subscriptions processes and options might stall adoption and growth for certain content providers. But some companies, such as Amazon, are focusing on streamlining their processes and collecting them into one simple ecosystem.

Michael Paull, VP Digital Video for Amazon, described his company’s strategy of “getting more sources of programming and keep building on programming” offerings and enabling third party content owners to access. Amazon has created an environment of “streaming, billing and audience to create a unified experience, instead of going from app to app.” He continued, “We have aggregated all of these functions in the viewer experience.” According to Paull, “We can help other programmers unify transactional and program ecosystems and the strategy is paying off.”

… But Give the Viewer Options When and How to View
Understanding viewing trends and preferences is key to effectively responding in a competitive and strategic manner. Sofia Chang, EVP Worldwide Digital Distribution at HBO, follows their subscribers’ viewing patterns. “We saw the trend of time shifted viewing a while ago and launched the first premium service, introducing HBO on demand through our MVPD partners in 2001. In 2008 we launched HBO GO. Last year we saw the trend of broadband only homes so we launched our standalone digital app HBO Now. But even with time shifting, some programming is viewed live like our Game of Thrones. Live programming is not dead,” she asserted, “but it depends on the program.”

Programming Craftsmanship Rules
The old chestnut that Content is King continues to be true. But the old rules regarding programming are shifting. It is no longer vital to target to a broad based audience. And older programs, even those out of the market for more than a decade, can attract a younger Millennial audience.

 Paull noted that going niche, rather than broad based, is a viable programming strategy for his video service. He stated, “We are creating a lot of original programming. We want to create shows people love. And we don't need to have every show that appeals to every consumer.”

Older inventory can have a new life as younger audiences suddenly discover the gems of yesteryear. Chang noted that “Sex in City ended in 1996 and now we are picking up new audiences who were too young to watch at that time. That is what the on demand platforms have done. You can discover shows from over 10 years ago and can view them now.”

The Data Shows That Consumers Are in Control
It bears repeating that data has become the golden key to understanding the viewer experience.
Brian Hughes, SVP Audience Intelligence and Strategy, MAGNA, shared some of his agency’s findings about viewing habits. The trends, according to Hughes, are that viewing is becoming “less linear, more snacking which reveal an underlying behavior shift. Even live event sports are seeing on demand impacting them as well. For example, the Olympics offered more coverage but there was less live viewing than London.” He listed three major points: 1. In the digital age, video is everywhere and consumers like it that way. 2. Millennials are not only ones changing habits and 3. Viewers want TV experiences to be more like mobile - App based and on demand.

What this all means to creators, distributors, marketers and advertisers is that the brave new world of on demand is fast becoming a standard way for viewers to enjoy and consume content. Old theories about viewing habits are evolving as even live event programming cannot guarantee exact minute consumption on a reliable screen. My advice is to follow the data and respond accordingly. As Paull concluded, “We have an enormous amount of data so we can bring the right show to the right people at the right time. We are customer centric as a company.”

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Driving Data for Agencies. Interview with Centriply

There are many data driven platform companies in the media ecosystem today and Centriply is one that concentrates its efforts on the agency side. Centriply is known predominantly as “a media agency first and foremost,” according to Rich Kaufman VP Business Development. 

The company operates in two sectors; 1. Technology and software for DMP planning analysis that facilitates local cable data driven planning and buying and 2. As a local cable media buying specialist for agencies. In that way, it could be said that they tend to compete with organizations such as the NCC for local cable ad inventory and dollars, but advocating from the agency side.

Kaufman explained that Centriply has “historically been hired by other agencies to wrestle with local cable. Today we go to the holding companies of agencies offering them capabilities that they may not have.” These companies include IPG entities from Cadreon to MAGNA to some non-media brands and with WPP primarily with Modi Media.

Shelley Stansfield, with the intriguing title of Director, Special Ops for Centriply, added that the company can get to the household address level to assisting these agencies with targeting more households in areas where other data sets may have less saturation or concentrations of the target consumer. “It’s not that the agency can’t buy local cable,” Kaufman explained, “The core point of our capability in our platform is that we have a window on all inventory on the MVPDs, rates from Nielsen local and custom segmentations from agencies as well as data from companies like Experian and Axciom  or proprietary audience data from marketers or their agencies.”

I sat down with both Kaufman and Stansfield and asked them the following questions:

Charlene Weisler: What are your definitions of TV?

Rich Kaufman: I believe there are two answers -What is it actually today and what is it going to be? Today it is 90% the same as it has always been. TV budgets are transacted in the traditional manner. Upfronts are as healthy as can be. Technology and data offer better targeting. Where will it all go? I see TV going away and replaced by video. Network TV, Cable, Digital Video, OTT, IP based insertion of 30 second spots, tablets and mobile will all be defined as video compression. Measurement and information will be based on a data target and it will continue to evolve quickly.
Shelly Stansfield: TV is a historic term that will be evolving into video. It is the delivery of entertainment, as a sit back moment to be entertained. I am happy to see the disruption of measurement because we have always been a data driven company.

Charlene Weisler: What data do you use and access?

Shelly Stansfield: We have access to a number of datasets to apply to both inventory and audiences such as Experian, Polk, Cambridge Analytica for psychography to drive TV plans, first party, CRM, loyalty cards to zipcode. We come from the political realm and have the measurement ability to go to the address level but we roll it up into zipcodes. You can append to the advertisers’ specific sources.

Charlene Weisler: Address level? What is your policy on privacy?

Shelly Stansfield: We use the HIPAA regulations for pharmaceutical advertising that has specific restrictions about how privacy works. The smallest group we target in a concentrated area is 25 and then we roll it up. We look at the sum total.

Charlene Weisler:  Who is in your competitive set?

Shelly Stansfield: I would say the spot departments at the agencies themselves. We can sometimes be viewed as threatening. We are like the Simulmedias of the world but we are different in that they take data and make inventory more valuable for sellers. We take data and identify more valuable inventory for agencies and advertisers.

Rich Kaufman: Sometimes we compete with other companies in the space for media solutions such as DSPs like Tubemogel or SSPs like Rubicon or Simulmedia or other direct aggregators like AdMore REVShare. If you are Cadreon, you can go in many directions. So we potentially compete with everything an agency can do in addition, as Shelly pointed out, the spot departments at the agencies.

Charlene Weisler: Looking ahead five years, what would you predict for the media landscape?

Rich Kaufman: There will be scaled ubiquitous IP based video measurement. All will be measured at the device level.

Shelly Stansfield: Everyone should fear Facebook. It will be a juggernaut. We placed something on it recently and wow – the reach is amazing.

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