Media Insights Q&A With Mark Altschuler

It all comes down to sales -- and Mark Altschuler knows sales. He started in TV over 30 years ago and is currently the VP of national ad sales for Comcast Spotlight at a time when digitization, cross platform and the impact of new technology is disrupting “business as usual.” In my interview with him, Mark talks about the cross-platform impact on his business, addressable advertising, dynamic ad insertion, use of segmentation, relationships with agencies and how his job is evolving. He also offers some insights on the sales road ahead.

View the videos of that interview here. Below is a short excerpt:

CW: With many agencies looking at consumer segments, do you see a move away from age and gender measurement to consumer cluster or segment measurement?

MA: Yes. We think that can work well for us, especially in automotive where we work very closely with Polk to understand sales data and loyalty. Loyalty is very important in the automotive category these days. We know that the buying patterns around auto have changed. People are holding cars longer, so the loyalty factor becomes even more important. So we are flowing that type of consumer segment information into traditional age and gender metrics.



And we think that we can make the transition to segmentation measurement as fast as the agency is able to buy into those consumer patterns. We would very much like to sell more qualitatively, and we are always presenting research associated with those insights. The agencies and some of the advertisers have to work hard to evolve out of their traditional ways of buying -- which is still at this point primarily demo-driven.    

CW: Tell us about your dynamic ad insertion part of the business.

MA: We have scaled out our DAI business in the past twelve months. Essentially there are two parts to the business: the mechanics, which is the ability to put the ads in on demand, and the rights to the content. The dynamic part is, of course, Internet-driven, where we can serve ads up to impression levels and across our entire digital footprint. We have made that happen and it’s been terrific.

Equally important is the rights we have with the cable networks to put the ads in their content, whether pre-roll or post-roll, which are the primary positions we have available to us now today. Those are ongoing discussions.

We have limited ability to generate scale without enough networks providing us rights to insert ads on their networks. Right now it’s primarily the NBC family of networks, [so] of course we are inserting there. We also have a series of networks… not cable networks, more on-demand type networks, on which we can generate some impressions.

We just entered into a relationship with Disney, so I would suspect that at some point in time that could be added to our DAI efforts. And we are in discussion with other network families. It’s another emerging business that blends well with our core business of targeted reach and frequency. We continue to focus on our core business and are keeping pace with emerging businesses as well.

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