The Future of TV Advertising is ... Data

What will be the future of TV advertising in this ever-fragmenting media environment? An attempt was made to shed some light on this subject by Rovi, who sponsored a panel last week fittingly called "The Future of TV Advertising."

The panel, moderated by Bill Niemeyer of TDG, included Jeff Siegel of Rovi, Lori Schwartz of McCann and Matthew Pagen of IAG discussing Rovi's Smart TV initiative, the pace of change, social media, extended screen and bundling vs a la carte. But in my opinion, their discussion of the role of data was the most interesting.

The creation of metrics and measurement in the STB data space continues to be a land rush with competitors racing to get their brand of customizable (and standardize-able) analytics to market. And equally, the demand from the marketplace for data insights and analytics has never been so strong. Part of this demand is due to ever increasing cross platform opportunities and the plethora of data points resulting from the potential combination of interactive platforms and set top boxes.  



Lori Schwartz, Chief Technology Catalyst at McCann Worldgroup, said it best: "The data piece is pivotal. Data is the new black. Everyone wants the data and everybody wants the data to touch everything. They want it to not only measure the traditional interactive side of things; they also want it to address engagement." She also admitted that because the landscape is in constant change, there is a pressing need to stay ahead of the curve, learning about new cutting edge technologies even if they are destined to disappear by the next year.  

But which metrics are most meaningful? Do they need to be standardized to the current currency -- or does the evolving marketplace demand new metrics for the new times? Much of the addressable advertising measurement today is still fairly custom -- whether it is data matching to proprietary segmentations or to known consumer measurement industry data panels for that particular advertiser, product or category. But slowly, some of these previously custom metrics are becoming part of a new standard nomenclature like TRA's Heavy Swing Purchasers and Purchaser Rating Points which CRO's Bill Harvey says many of their clients have adopted. 

Rovi's contribution to the discussion involves measuring Smart TV usage and behavior through a 100k STB panel that combines ISP data with TV viewing. This initiative involves a partnership with Nielsen's IAG service via a panel. This is one possible approach providing that it is a representative sample of the TV Universe. Results of their study will be available at the end of the summer. In the meantime there are two short videos from the panel which can be viewed here.

6 comments about "The Future of TV Advertising is ... Data".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, June 1, 2011 at 3:57 p.m.

    I'm skeptical. We were told this about web advertising - that data and the ability to identify specialized audiences would be this tremendous (Massive! Huge!) advantage to companies.

    Yet, click-through rates are dramatically lower than direct mail purchase rates. Our DRTV drives higher SALES than a decent web site gets for clicks.

    And so, techno-crats are at it again trying to sell agencies on the "ultimate targeting" with this concept that laser-like focus ensures your ad dollars are well spent.

    But if we really sit back and ponder our experiences on the web, this experience suggests otherwise.

    Part of the confusion is that AGENCIES make tremendous money selling these new things. But then, agencies often decide that what makes them money clearly makes clients money - and that really isn't true as often as we'd like.

    And so, I'm quite skeptical about this being a productive future for TV. It doesn't work on the web the way it was promised. Why should we expect it to work on TV that way?

  2. Stephen Pickens from Pick Consulting, June 1, 2011 at 4:57 p.m.

    Our brand response group at Kre8 Media specializes in attributing online response generated from traditional offline media. We track and optimize advertising performance by applying algorithms in our buying system that match visits and registrations on websites to TV spots promoting the same URL across multiple channels (referred to as vanity tracking). Most advertisements include a branded URL, so this type of tracking is extremely useful and is relatively simple for marketers to comprehend.

  3. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant:, June 1, 2011 at 5:09 p.m.

    Hi Doug,
    Agreed that there is still a lot to be done - for both online and television - in terms of measurement ROI. Compounding the varying results is that the landscape is constantly changing. The internet of 3-5 years ago is very different than it is today with much more Social Media impacting purchasing decisions and opinions.

  4. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant:, June 1, 2011 at 5:13 p.m.

    I would be remiss if I did not include examples of metrics from other measurement companies such as Kantar and Rentrak.

    Kantar's metrics:
    Jeff Boehme, CRO: There are a number of “custom” metrics beyond the traditional set Kantar Media developed which have been incorporated into our standard set of audience metrics available to our clients, including:

    · Tuneaway – measures the performance of commercials by calculating the loss of tuning based on second by second behavior

    · Audience Tuneaway Index (ATI) – composite of the individual ad placement influences which affect audience tuneaway (program, network, pod position, etc.).

    · Unique Contribution - percentage of unduplicated HHs/STBs out of all universe HHs/STBs that have tuned to a specified channel, program or ad in one and only one period out of multiple specified periods.

    · Average Time Tuned - average daily time (minutes/seconds/hours) that each reached HH tuned to a channel, program, time period or ad.

    · Sessions - number of distinct tuning sessions to a channel, where each session is defined by a distinct start and end, with contiguous tuning to the channel averaged among those HHs/STBs tuning to the channel.

    · Commercial Tuning Index (CTI) - index which compares the tuning to an ad or program segment relative to tuning to the entire program, to the relative time period, or to other ads in the program.

    · Affinity Index - index relating the number of minutes HHs/STBs tuned to an asset out of the total minutes the asset airs content over a specified period.

    · Tuning Segment – a specific audience defined by tuning behavior criteria established by the client.

    · Commercial Time Shifted Tuning – second by second tuning to specific commercials measuring time shifted tuning in any increment up to 31 days after original live telecast.

    Rentrak's metrics:
    Chief Research Office at Rentrak Bruce Goerlich developed a metric to measure the “stickiness” of a program. Having a lot of experience on the Agency side of the business he understood the amount of time consumers spend watching a TV show as a percentage of the run time was a good measure of how engaged with that program the viewer is. Since its early development, Rentrak has been providing a weekly release containing an the Index of the top stickiest programs on television. Interestingly enough, they don’t always align to the highest rated.

    This metric has now become a part of doing business. Hallmark is using this metric in their selling process. Jess Aguirre stated, “The amount of time a viewer stays with a program is the ultimate measure of viewer engagement and value to our advertisers.”

  5. John Billett from ID Comms, June 2, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.

    In the apparent feeding frenzy for data, the pressure seems to be exclusively on establishing the best metrics. But before that we need to know if the data we are being invited to use is appropriate, valid, representative, relevant and fit for purpose. Just because the new data comes in large, dynamic and digital delivery doesn'tt mean we can abandon these well established, proven principles. We must avoid the fate of the data provider who drowned in a pond 3 inches deep on average.

  6. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant:, June 2, 2011 at 3:36 p.m.

    Hi John,
    Agreed. And there are data processors that are grappling with that now as well as the MRC which is spearheading an effort to help inform STB data roll out.

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