• Top Nielsen Executive Casts Doubt On Rentrak And Set-Top Data's Viability
    The Data Wars got some fuel this week. The pole sitter acknowledged this week engines are revving behind it, but suggested they would blow a gasket. Nielsen CFO Brian West said problems with set-top-box (STB) data would prevent it from being used as a currency by itself. Rentrak has inked deals with some 150 local stations for its STB product, which it says is gaining some traction as a basis for buying and selling. But West said: "I'm not losing clients as Rentrak signs them up... doesn't bother me a bit."
  • Crystal Shines At Oscars, But How Did Madison Avenue Do?
    Billy Crystal proved to be a superb host in his return to the Oscar-cast, mostly through his jokes tapping into the zeitgeist from iPads to Occupy Wall Street. Madison Avenue also deserves some kudos for spots for the likes of JCPenney, American Express and Diet Coke. Some advertisers, however, seemed to feel so many females would be watching -- the Oscars are annoying referred to as the "Super Bowl for women" -- they could just toss up some banal narrowly targeted creative. Maybe the most surprising advertiser of the night? Oprah. In some markets, including New York, she showed up …
  • ESPN Remains Reticent Locally, Gannett Looking To Ramp Up
    Since ESPN started launching local sports sites in a handful of large markets, it's always been curious why it stopped. Talk about a fastball down the middle: if newspapers are cutting sports coverage and ESPN has a bottomless budget, why wouldn't it expand into at least the top-10 markets? Why is there no ESPNAtlanta.com or ESPNHouston.com? Meanwhile, Gannett's USA Today Sports Media Group feels it has an opportunity to dominate local sports online, partly by taking USA Today into your neighborhood.
  • Networks Hope Team Coco And Other TV-Tablet Apps Are Hits
    TBS is launching a Team Coco "synch" app for iPad and Android tablets allowing viewers to interact in real time with exclusive content and features developed specifically for a co-viewing experience. If not from the start, it's a sure bet advertising will become a big part of the app soon. Interactive advertising took a hit with Canoe Ventures dissolving its role there this week, but the synched TV-tablet experience offers another opportunity (along with tagging technology from Shazam and other outfits). Will it take off? Good luck guessing, but Turner, Bravo, FX and other programmers are prepping if it does.
  • Canoe Should Have Bought Inventory To Prove Itself Or Get Rich While Trying
    When networks moved slowly at working with it, Canoe should have showed it believed in its core request-for-information (RFI) offering by putting its money where its mouth was. Canoe executives may have all kinds of valid reasons why this suggestion would have fallen flat. (CEO Kathy Timko said two months ago: "I think 2012 really marks a shift from building a platform and technology to a much more go-to-market strategy.") But, the company should have proved to networks what it could do not via presentations or in a laboratory or even through tests, but with cash. The well-funded Canoe should …
  • Civility Rare Enough In Public Debate It Deserves An Award
    It has come to this: the partisanship in Washington has become so toxic that an award has been established to honor those who simply are respectful. The award from Allegheny College cites those who are advocates, but also have an ability to listen and disagree with an understanding that answers may lie outside personal ideology. "PBS NewsHour's" Mark Shields and David Brooks are the inaugural winners. They are most definitely deserving. Will there be anyone to honor next year?
  • Discovered: iPads Can Offer Two-Screen, Simultaneous Marketing Opportunities
    New research indicates iPads offer marketers an opportunity to reach consumers simultaneously on both TV and the devices. A survey from Discovery Communications found 43% of iPad owners say they watch TV and go online concurrently "all" or "most" of the time (compared to 33% of non-owners). During its Shark Week last year, Discovery offered apps for the iPad and iPhone that allowed a viewer to interact with added content that was synched to the shows. (ABC has experimented with the sync-to-broadcast concept with several shows, including "Grey's Anatomy," where Lexus served as a sponsor and Nielsen technology powered the …
  • NBCU's Wurtzel: More Research Dollars Needed, 'Single Source' Faces Challenges
    In a speech at a cross-platform measurement event this week, NBCUniversal top researcher Alan Wurtzel not surprisingly urged industry executives to invest more in research. But, just two days after NBCU announced an initiative to pursue a "single source" metric tracking viewing on multiple platforms for this summer's Olympics, Wurtzel wondered if this "holy grail" is "realistically attainable in the new media world." Separately, he called on the industry to move away from relying on data about who watched and shift towards who watched and what did they buy. Behavioral targeting methods are needed - fast -- he said.
  • Mobile Devices Might Upend DRTV
    As consumers increasingly watch TV with a smartphone in hand, it bears asking whether the direct-response TV (DRTV) business will suffer. The device-in-hand behavior gives advertisers a chance to get the immediate sales results DRTV can generate, while avoiding the associated spots with D-list endorsers and a 1-800 number filling half the screen. Marketers are benefiting from a "bounce" effect, where a TV spot builds interest and a viewer swiftly taps the smartphone or tablet keypad to search for more information or, better yet, make a purchase.
  • Cross-Platform Measurement Initiative Looking To Drive Ahead
    The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) hopes to rev up TAXI - an initiative announced in late 2010 -- this fall. Plans call for a pilot study on developing a Trackable Asset Cross-Platform Identification (TAXI) method to launch as the new TV season kicks off. The aim: establishing a type of UPC code to track content and advertising as it moves from screen to screen. There are ways to do that now - watermarking, fingerprinting, wrapping - yet when Arbitron uses one way, Nielsen another and Kantar a third, how do cross-platform metrics move from the research department to …
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