The Complicated TV Connection of Friends, Family and "Battlestar Galactica"

TV viewers want to connect with programming -- as well as their friends and family. But in a future, automated TV programmatic world, this might be a complex challenge for marketers.

One major concern could be co-viewing. Christy Tanner, senior vp/general manager of CBS Interactive Media Group, in speaking at OMMA Programmatic Video event, says 73% of TV viewing is with family and/or friends.

“The major challenge for this industry is hitting your real target,” she says. “The assumption we make about people is often false.” And, in that regard, it gets complicated when it comes to selling advertising in specific programming.

As an example, Tanner gave the OMMA Programmatic Video event audience a quiz, asking them to name a particular show after reading a quote that appeared in TV Guide. It came from a father talking about a long time shared viewing experience of the show, now going off the air, with his young son who is now going off to college.

The man also said he had talk about the program with his business partner, the son’s friends, two kids at a local Starbucks, a neighbor, a major customer of his company, and a guy who put up the man’s gutters.

No one guessed the correct show (for which Tanner would have given a subscription to CBS All Access for a year as well as full DVD collection of the show). The answer: “Battlestar Galactica.”

Tanner says this just illustrates a problem -- because all kinds of people watch this show -- including many women.

She says: “Probably when it was being marketed, it was marketed to 25-34 men, sci-fi fans. It really just shows the difficulty of targeting, trying to automate buying in any way. It requires a real partnership between the content owner, the marketer, and the agency to come up with solutions.”

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