Agencies Developing Method To Factor Set-Top Data, See It As Proxy For TV Ratings
The findings, and the team's recommendations, will be presented during the alliances next meeting June 3rd in New York, but the collaborators are optimistic that it will yield a practical tool that could get more advertisers and agencies to begin rolling up their sleeves and applying set-top data to fill in some of the blanks that exist for their TV planning and buying decisions.
"The whole thing is trying to figure out the long tail of cable networks out there, and how we can measure them," says Andy Donchin, the top TV buyer at Aegis Group's Carat unit, and one of the agencies participating in MPG's alliance.
According to Donchin, there are scores of smaller TV networks that still are not rated by Nielsen, but which may have valuable audiences for advertisers to target and reach. But the lack of ratings data makes it difficult for agencies like Carat to justify spending their client's advertising dollars without some proof of performance.
The solution, he says, maybe the new factoring system, which would help make such buys "more accountable."
Mitch Oscar, the executive vice president of televisual applications at MPG, who organizes the Collaborative Alliance meetings, says several other agencies are close to throwing support behind the initiative, which has been working with a variety of digital set-top box data aggregators to develop the solution. Both AT&T U-verse and Rentrak are supplying digital set-top data, and researchers from at least three agencies - Carat, MPG and OMD - are actively involved in the development of the new system, and say they will apply it if the results look good enough to use in their buying decisions.
"We are in the process of developing the correlations," says MPG's Oscar. "Once formed we will present to buyers at the agencies to get their feedback and ascertain their comfort level with our directional approach."