Media Insights Q&A With Bill Harvey

Bill Harvey, Co-Founder, Vice Chairman and CRO of TRA, has helped that company create a new type of buying measurement using STB data and custom databases. Bill has had an illustrious career in some of the biggest ad agencies in the industry and has written extensively about advertising, privacy and research policy. In my interview with him, Bill talks about his background, the ad agency world and TRA and how it uses Set Top Box data. TRA has recently published a sector evaluation on Set Top Box data companies.

 Below is a short excerpt of the interview. Click here for the full version.

CW: Bill, you have an extensive background in agency work. How can agencies best use all of this new Set Top Box based data in a standardize-able way to help with posting and tracking?

BH: Well standardize-ability is crucially important. The objective, if I were still wearing an agency hat, would be the new business model for agencies where agencies can get off the ground of making money off of a one percent solution. I am talking about media agencies. Also I would want to put full service agencies back together again - both media and creative.



Currently the business model is broken for agencies, and the way to fix it is to get paid by performance -- measurable performance, ROI specifically. Being able to have trust in an ROI measurement, whether it is marketing mix -- TRA's, or some other single source or some combination -- to be able to say if the ROI goes up according to the objective third party that we have both agreed upon (the advertiser and the agency), then the agency will get this much more. That can turn the agency business around and make it hugely successful again, mutually profitable, and the business  will attract the cream of talent that it once had.

CW: Nielsen has just reported that the number of TV households has declined. This is not the first time this has happened, but it seems to have struck a chord this time. Some say it is due to economics. Some say it is generational. What do you think?

BH: Well if you think in terms of TV Everywhere and screens, those homes that have given up the big TV screen are probably watching video on mobile devices or iPads or computers. I would be surprised if they totally kicked the habit. It is interesting, though, because if you think about people giving up the big TV screen, it conjures up images. Does it really mean that they are changing the basic 20th century lifestyle of being couch potatoes at night? Does it mean that they are more in a lean-forward mode, spending more of their night doing things that are more social or involved in work?

It would be very interesting to find out more about those people who gave up the big TV screen. But I don't think that it is going to mean that television will become less important as a medium. I think we will have to use the word "video" more often or "screen media." I think that screen media will still be the most dominant medium.

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