Cross Screen Planning, Buying and Measurement. Q&A with Scott Ferber of Videology

Scott Ferber could be considered an early adopter of technology. He explains, “As a child I was interested in technology and math. I was there for the beginning of gaming, Pong and personal computers. Because of that I was attuned to technology in society and had the belief in 1996 that the world would significantly evolve because of the internet.”

Since then he has been involved in some form in the digital and data space, first launching which he sold to AOL in 2006 and then launching Videology in 2007.

In this interview Ferber talks about his role in the company, metrics, partnerships, global differences and challenges in the digital space. He also looks ahead to the next 3 to 5 years to predict how the video landscape will change.

CW: Tell me about your current job and your company.

SF: Back in 2007, we saw that the digitization of television and escalation in the availability of broadband was going to transform the way that viewers watched content.  We set out to develop a business to meet the unique needs of content convergence across TV and digital video. That was the genesis of Videology—a software provider that helps brand advertisers, agencies and media companies drive better results through cross-screen planning, buying and measurement. While my job as CEO is to represent the face of the company, it is also to attract and empower a team of great people. So I recruit, train, motivate and direct a highly skilled team, and ensure that we have the systems in place to make it sustainable.

CW: What type of metrics do you use? 

SF: We are integrated with over 40 third party data providers such as Nielsen, Oracle, Adobe, comScore, Experian, Axciom, BlueKai, JD Power, Rentak and Kantar Shopcom—so the range of measurement that we offer our users is broad and aligns with their overall goals.  That said, increasingly advertisers are interested in measuring for actual brand metrics ranging from brand awareness to whether a campaign actually moved product off the shelves.  Much of our innovation is focused on measuring that type of ROI.

CW: What is your opinion of the comScore acquisition of Rentrak?

SF: All efforts toward innovation in cross-screen measurement in this increasingly fragmented media landscape are positive for the industry.

CW: With whom do you partner?

SF: We are a huge systems integrator. On a high level, we provide software used by advertisers, agencies and media companies to create and measure effective ad campaigns that sell more product with greater efficiency. We count some of the largest media agencies, global brands and media companies as our partners and clients.

CW: Do you include radio, out of home and print in your cross media system?

SF: Currently we are focused on television and video.  However, our software can work with any media that can be measured through digital distribution channels. So for instance, we can measure digital radio but not terrestrial radio. Outdoor video is also of growing importance and we can include that. And of course we include digital print publications.

CW: What is your cross platform unifying metric?

SF: There is a debate going on right now about the best measurement for digital cross-screen viewing.  Some believe the solution lies with a more digitally-influenced metric, others believe it should be a more traditional TV ratings metric. What everyone does agree upon however is the need for a unifying metric.  One example of how Videology is helping to solve for that is with a direct integration with Nielsen which allows us to tie television viewing behavior to online viewing behavior.  Ultimately, in many ad categories, we are then able to help our users drive campaign results by correlating ad exposure to cross-screen return on investment (ROI) and offline sales. This type of closed-loop, cross-screen measurement is the end goal that most advertisers are looking for.

CW: What are the challenges to your business and how can you overcome them?

SF: One of the primary factors holding back convergence is legacy systems which were not built for a cross-platform world. The hard part is to bridge the old and the new worlds. To do this, we need to unify legacy technology systems, be respectful of current business models and workflows, and ensure the fluidity of data across digital and linear video channels, as well as between targeting parameters on the front end, and measurement metrics on the back end.

CW: Videology is a global company. Are there differences in the business globally?

SF: The main difference is the evolution of their convergence. The US and the UK are further along in planning, measurement and execution than many other countries. But we’re also seeing significant progress across APAC. It’s also interesting to note that as convergence spreads into new markets, the cycle for adoption is becoming faster and faster

CW: Give me some predictions of how the media landscape will look in the next three to five years.

SF: Right now about 7% of the total video ad marketplace—including TV—is automated and data-driven.  Within the next 3-5 years that will increase to around 50%.  Keep in mind that automation and data do not equate to “biddable” which only comprises about 1% of the total video marketplace today and will likely remain less than 10%.  So this means that the majority of growth will come from bringing automation and data to traditional television workflows which are primarily focused on scheduled inventory purchased in an upfront, reserved manner, not from real-time bidding.

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