Merging Digital and TV Ad Tech. Interview with TiVo’s Joan FitzGerald.

Joan Fitzgerald, VP Product Management and Business Development, TiVo, is a TV data expert whose work on the quantification of media defined her entire career. “I have had the good fortune of working with some of the world’s leading marketers on data and analytics innovation projects, including CPG, pharma, retail and media’” she stated. 

Her work at comScore helped to frame cross media measurement. “As new data became available – whether it was purchasing data or CRM data or digital data or television viewing data via the set top box – we developed new techniques for quantification of media effects, including econometric modeling and then attribution modeling,” she added. Now at TiVo, she is putting her skills to work using new data assets combined with new analytics techniques to achieve breakthroughs in understanding how advertising works. 

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about your current job at TiVo.

Joan Fitzgerald: I’m head of product management and business development for the emerging area of programmatic, data-driven video.  In joining TiVo, I was interested in tackling the question of how to integrate audience selling and data-driven TV into our operational and monetization systems.   Rovi – which recently acquired TiVo and kept the brand name -- had acquired a start-up with the right idea: Revenue and inventory management software that enables TV to deliver on the promise of audience-based targeting and data-driven TV, with significant operational workflow improvements. 

Charlene Weisler: How have TV and media measurement and research changed from when you first started?
Joan Fitzgerald: TV has always been a data-driven business, but it’s the form of the data and the availability of the data that has changed.  Visibility into viewership used to be limited to 3rd party research.  It’s hard to imagine this now, in this era of big data viewership assets, where there is visibility via STB, ACR, digital tags, DMPs and any number of other technologies.  The other significant change is the digital ecosystem itself:  It’s hard to understate the changes that the digital ecosystem has caused, including new ways of thinking about how TV can be more effective.    

Charlene Weisler: Where do you see the role of data in measurement going in the next three years?

Joan Fitzgerald: Media brands have made major investments in people, including data scientists and ‘big data’ engineers, and ad tech systems, such as inventory management systems from tech companies such as TiVo. Already, these investments are having a positive, transformative effect on the video business model, including expanding the currencies used for transactions so that they are more closely aligned with how marketers manage their brands.  The payout from this investment is going to significantly increase in a 3-year timeframe, with media brands continuing their historical track record for growth and innovation.    

Charlene Weisler: Give me your state of the art appraisal of cross platform measurement

Joan Fitzgerald: Today, digital and linear TV are separate throughout almost the entire ad tech stack.  This impacts our ability to measure the two platforms together.  As TV morphs into IPTV and into ATSC 3.0 delivery, the executional layers of the digital and TV ad tech stacks may become more similar to each other.  They may even converge.  This presents an opportunity for better cross platform measurement.  There’s a business layer too that needs thoughtful integration.  Media brands want to reduce complexity for their advertisers and sell “video advertising” rather than TV and digital separately.  Ad agencies are motivated to reduce the costs of operations in the same way.  We need systems that support an integrated approach at the business layer, while managing the execution layer so that we achieve new benefits such as measurement but continue to optimize by source of inventory.      

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