Q&A with Turner's CRO, Howard Shimmel

Howard Shimmel, previously the SVP Ad Sales Sports Research at Turner is now Turner's new CRO. With some big shoes left by departing CRO Jack Wakshlag, Shimmel is amply up to the task and will continue Turner's strong tradition of strategic research. In this interview, conducted before the upfront, Shimmel started his career at Nielsen in the early days of cable.  He is an expert in cross platform audience measurement, data fusion and integration with stints at Viacom and AOL.  In this fascinating video interview, Shimmel talks about the role of research, the roll out of segmentation analysis, set top box data, Turner’s cross platform initiative All-Screen and some predictions for the media landscape going forward.  In this article, we explore the details of CNN’s recent All Screen cross platform measurement study which was recently highlighted at the 2014 CIMM Summit.

There are six videos in this interview:

Subject                                                 Length (in minutes)
Background                                                      (5:12)
Turner                                                               (6:38)
All Screen                                                         (6:23)
Nielsen and Collaboration                            (5:51)
STB Data and Segmentation                         (6:55)
Predictions                                                       (6:42)

Charlene Weisler interviews Turner's Howard Shimmel who talks about his background in this 5:12 minute video:

Howard Shimmel talks to Charlene Weisler about his work at Turner in this 6:38 minute video:

Charlene Weisler interviews Turner's Howard Shimmel who talks about the All Screen cross platform study in this 6:23 minute video:

CW: One of your big initiatives is your cross platform study called All Screen. Can you tell us some of the specifics about the study?

HS: Sure. There are two separate and distinct things that we are trying to accomplish with All Screen. First, it is really important that the market is able to understand CNN’s true breath, impact and reach across platform: TV at Home, TV out of Home, Mobile and Digital. If you think about what we get out of N-Power (Nielsen’s custom analytic system), it actually presents a very limited view both in terms of the reach and in terms of the demographic composition of CNN’s audience. So part of All Screen is working with Nielsen’s data integration experts, Pete Doe’s team, to be able to integrate TV in the home from Nielsen, TV viewing out of home from Nielsen Audio, previously Arbitron, with our own internal mobile data and our own internal digital server data. We want to be able to integrate that in a way that we can go to an advertiser and talk about the true reach of CNN across all platforms. In this way we can accurately paint a picture of how different demographics vary in their reaction across all the CNN platforms. For example, mobile is our youngest platform, digital is a little older. Being able to illustrate that to an agency or client is really important.

The other part of the study is focused around the TV in home and out of home. My people in the industry have given considerable thought to how TV usage differs in and out of home and how we can measure it. ESPN/ ABC did some great work in the 1980s with this concept. And the fact of the matter is that CNN delivers a fairly material amount of out of home TV viewing through our normal linear TV programming. Our approach is that we have taken a subset of All Screen, which is a combination of Nielsen People meter and Nielsen Audio for out of home TV, and integrated that together. We have then taken that data and put that into our sales estimate system so every time we generate a sales plan we are able to show an agency buyer how much additional out of home audience we anticipate delivering from the plan. Then on the backend, we work with MSA to deliver a post buy assessment and are able to show the client the actual amount of out of home delivery we delivered to them. The thought is to use the data actively to calculate true delivery. It is a big part of our upfront discussions.

Every media company is focused on the idea of unmeasured audience. We think that out of home TV, if you are in the news and sports space, is a material amount of unmeasured audience. That is why it is so important to us. 

Howard Shimmel talks to Charlene Weisler about his work at Turner in this 5:51 minute video:

Charlene Weisler interviews Turner's Howard Shimmel who talks about set top box data and segmentation analysis in this 6:55 minute video:

In this final 6:42 minute video, Howard Shimmel offers some insights into the future of the media landscape:

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