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What Are Data Companies Contributing to the Television Market? An Overview of Offerings – Part 1



Everybody is into new data solutions for media measurement nowadays. Many networks touted their innovative data initiatives prior to the upfront while data suppliers and vendors continue to offer an ever expanding selection of services and datasets for use in the industry.

The expansion of all of the possible data sets has, in itself, fueled a data science feeding frenzy where some of the most creative minds are able to construct very interesting measurement solutions. More potential data sources available for media companies result in more opportunities for vendors to offer innovative datasets for analytics and insights. Yet, many individual announcements later, we are left with a dizzying array of the possibilities and it can be very confusing.

So with that in mind, I have embarked on a series of six articles (based on six questions) designed to focus on those data companies whose offerings have direct application to television measurement and to showcase all their solutions in one place. These companies represent many (but not all) of the players in the evolving media measurement space. So let’s consider this a work-in-progress.

My Take: There is no better illustration of the value, complexity and creativity available through the use of data in media measurement today than in some of the solutions offered by the suppliers and vendors. Many companies are discovering new approaches, finding solutions to measuring and predicting viewer and consumer behavior. Gains made now might help bolster media profits during the turbulent and transitioning years ahead. But we as an industry need to be open to and even pro-active in adopting new these solutions and making them part of our basic currency toolkit. All the rest is just talk and marketing.

This the first article in a series. Thank you to all who participated.

Question 1: Please describe your company's data offerings that are in use in the television sector. Please include whether you own your own data and/or aggregate datasets.

Kelly Abcarian, Senior Vice President, Watch Product Architecture, Nielsen: Nielsen provides national and local television audience estimates for virtually every station, cable network, syndicator, and broadcast network in the United States, based on a statistically representative sample of households that are recruited, electronically metered, and maintained by an in-person Nielsen field force. Nielsen retains ownership of all its data.

Cathy Hetzel, Rentrak Corporate President: In the television marketplace, Rentrak provides ratings, measurement and analytical services for TV Everywhere. Our television ratings service comes from integrated licensed set-top box data from cable, satellite, and telco operators from more than 35 million U.S. televisions across more than 16 million households per day. We project the reported viewing, including over the air, to all 114 million U.S. television households, in all 210 markets. The audience measurements are available in a secure, Web-based application and a data feed made available on Rentrak’s secure FTP server. The system is built from the ZIP code (Rentrak Local) to the national level (Rentrak National) for all local television stations and over 300 national networks. The system provides advanced demographics at the household level including car registration information, product usage and political persuasion.

Joan FitzGerald Senior Vice President, Television and Cross Media Service, comScore: comScore measures advertising and content across multiple platforms and devices, including smartphone, tablets, gaming devices, TV sets, smart TVs, desktop PC, desktop Mac  … virtually any device or platform that is used by audiences to consume video and other digital content, as well as radio.  Our syndicated and custom offerings are used by the television sector (broadcast and cable networks, content owners, agencies, brands, etc.) and deliver value to both the buy and sell sides of the advertising business.  Syndicated services include: 1. Audience measurement offerings: Media Metrix™, Video Metrix ™, Mobile Metrix™, Media Metrix Multi-Platform, Video Metrix Multi-Platform, Xmedia™ and 2. Advertising measurement offerings: validated Campaign Essentials™, Ad Metrix, Plan Metrix, Brand Survey Lift™.  Action Lift, TV Tune-In and Sales Lift. Xmedia, Plan Metrix and TV Tune-In include linear television data. Brand Survey Lift, Action Lift, Sales Lift have the option to include linear television data. comScore sources linear TV and DVR (time-shifted viewing) measurement from TV panel data and a national footprint of 6.5 million “set top box” homes.  comScore sources radio data and TV panel data from the Nielsen Audio PPM™ panel.  We strive to innovate measurements to adapt to the changing media world, and build new data assets that help our clients understand cross-channel and cross-platform consumption. 

Mainak Mazumdar Chief Science Officer,Simulmedia: Simulmedia’s VAMOS platform ingests disparate data sources and runs scientific algorithms based on that data to predict future TV viewing behavior. Simulmedia’s data comes from various set-top-box providers representing about 50 million Americans’ second-by-second viewing behavior. This viewing data is fused with other demographic, psychographic, behavioral and purchase data, and then used to optimize TV inventory and place ads that will reach the most receptive audiences who are most likely to drive an advertiser’s business outcomes. Simulmedia’s data powers our actual business, which is executing audience-targeted TV ad campaigns at national scale, and guaranteeing superior business outcomes from our schedule compared to all other concurrent TV media.

Bill Feininger, President FourthWall Media: FourthWall Media collects cable set top box data through our own technology.  The data is integrated with household characteristics (demographics), digital media cookie pools and other 1st and 3rd party datasets. We collect data from 2.1M households and have 1.1M matched to household demographics.

Charles Buchwalter, President and CEO Symphony Advanced Media: Symphony Advanced Media is the leading media technology company tracking true cross media behavior. We believe mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are the media meters of the future, and have developed mobile app that works in the background to track an individual’s exposure to content and advertising across TV (linear + non-linear), PCs and mobile devices in a single-source, passive manner. We own all of the data generated by our technology, and we are in the process of linking our unique, cross media data to larger data sets as well. Symphony Advanced Media is the only comprehensive single source measurement platform tracking consumer behavior passively across all screens.

Eric Schmitt, EVP, Communications, TV and Media. Allant: Allant functions as a data-independent aggregator, and has partnered with dozens of third-party data providers. These include companies such as MasterCard, Polk, Acxiom, Experian and Nielsen Catalina Solutions.  Allant also derives proprietary data attributes, for example a household’s likelihood to be a pay TV subscriber, or to purchase on-demand content.  We also facilitate advertiser use of its own first-party CRM data.

Leslie Wood, Nielsen Catalina Solutions: All of our data is “watch” and “buy” matched. The watch part for TV includes Nielsen Peoplemeter, metered markets and set top box data. We have large overlaps between them. So for NPM households we have some that are also set top box and the same for metered markets. We put those together to be able to understand television viewing. All of our data is aggregated from other sources. None of our data is primary. Because we do not have any privacy information we cannot actually go out and collect data.

Frank Foster, SVP General Manager, TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA): TiVo Research offers clients a 100% direct match of purchase data with second-by-second set top box data and digital (OLV, Banner and Mobile) exposure data.  The data are privacy protected and secured by our ISO27001 certification.  Data are made available to our clients via our platform, Media TRAnalytics, API data feeds, or custom analysis.  Our data is used by some of the largest CPG companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, TV networks, and ad agencies.  Our CPG TV in-tab rates are the highest in the industry with more than 2.3 million directly matched households. With more than 2.7 million adults matched by healthcare claim and TV data, our pharmaceutical panel is the largest available, and it’s matched via a HIPPA compliant process with the leader in pharmaceutical data. We are the only single source company that owns its own data from 1.5 million statistically relevant TiVo boxes. We further supplement that data with millions of other households from multi-service operator and technology partners. We only use STB data from DVR homes with return path data, so both our live viewing and time-shifted numbers are accurate and reliable. The data in our platform, Media TRAnalytics allows clients to create custom purchase- based targets, TV and digital True Target Indices (selectivity indices) at the program/domain level, and cross media reach and frequency reports. The platform also includes a built in optimizer, automated univariate incremental spend reports, creative effectiveness capabilities, and a TV Storyfinder report. We can also provide information on ad exposures, sales lift/conversion, and OTT analytics.  Since we own our own data, we are also able to survey more than 35,000 TiVo homes for attitudes, awareness, and other behavioral measures that can be matched with second by second viewership.

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