Gregg Liebman, senior vice president, ad sales and sports research, Turner, started in the industry on the agency side before moving to the networks. This gives him a uniquely long-term perspective on the industry in general and in research specifically.
In my interview with him, Gregg talks about his extensive research background from both an agency and content provider perspective, the importance of quality custom research in conjunction with syndicated services, Turner’s groundbreaking approach to research, and some predictions about the media landscape in the next five years. Gregg also talks about some specific custom research projects such as the recent biometric study Turner conducted in partnership with InnerScope.
Watch the videos of my interview here. Below is an excerpt:
CW: Gregg, can you share some of Turner’s recent custom research projects?
GL: Sure. One that we are proud of is trying to understand the value of shared news stories. One of the brands I represent is CNN and we know that news is “cultural currency” and even “social currency” within the social media sphere.
As you know, people often share stories through email, Facebook etc. We wanted to understand this behavior. We also wanted to be able to demonstrate to advertisers that there is value to advertising within the program and being associated with those stories that people are passionate about and are sharing.
So we decided to partner with InnerScope to do some biometric research because we think that the engagement with this type of content is at the subconscious level. We believe that traditional survey work probably wouldn’t get at how people really connect [to] and react [with] content
This co-produced research with InnerScope was presented at the ARF. We saw multiple times lift in engagement with the ads associated with the content that people share. It really makes sense that when someone you trust is recommending a story, it becomes more of a “lean-forward” and engaging experience for you.
CW: Let’s talk about return-path data. What type of work have you done with it, and where do you think it is in the industry at this point?
GL: I would like to answer the second part of your question first. I think that it is still in the very early stages. It is a valuable tool for long-tail networks that the Nielsen sample is not really adequate to measure.
I also think that there is a lot of fascination with actual census-level viewing behavior and data from millions of set-top-box households. Clearly the industry hasn’t yet figured out many of the key issues such as the demographics, issues of when the set-top box is on but there is no viewing (which we know happens a lot). There are still many key questions that need to be answered before it becomes mainstream.
I don’t think it was the savior that many people thought it was a few years ago, but there are a lot of insights and intelligence that can be learned from that data. We’ve looked at commercial retention and viewing behavior during the breaks that we weren’t able to get at with minute-by-minute Nielsen data. So those insights have helped us manage the way we schedule our network to boost viewing behavior and make it more valuable for advertisers.