Jan 09 2019

CES Day One: Omnicom, Freewheel, and Nielsen Executives Weigh In on the State of Advanced TV

VideoAmp partnered with Broadcasting and Cable on day one of CES to talk to industry executives about the latest news and innovation, the future of Advanced TV, and what they’re looking forward to at CES this year.

We spoke to Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer at Omnicom Media Group, Claudio Marcus, GM Data Platforms at FreeWheel / Comcast, and Kelly Abcarian, SVP Product Leadership at Nielsen.

In the videos below, hear from these industry leaders about how they define Advanced TV, where they think audience targeting is going, and their impressions of new measurement, attribution, and media currencies, like CFlight.

Here’s what our contributors are looking forward to:

This whole 5G evolution has piqued my interest. For one, just understanding how the Internet of Things and connected devices are really going to transform consumers. We’re all about measuring the consumers. The consumers sit at the center of our ecosystem, and trying to anticipate where consumers are heading, it’s almost like understanding where they’re going next even before they arrive.  – Kelly Abcarian, SVP Product Leadership @Nielsen

We’re here at CES again and our first mission is to get together with our friends and clients in the industry. We really believe in TV as a platform and it’s important for the broader TV ecosystem to essentially pull together to advance the state of the industry so that we can bring more value to advertisers and to our own businesses…and in doing so also be much more competitive relative to the digital goliaths. – Claudio Marcus, GM Data Platforms @ FreeWheel

My general take on CES is that there are revolutionary and evolutionary CES years and I think this is an evolutionary CES year. We’ve heard a lot over the last few years about, you know, 5G is coming! Let’s see it for real, you know. TV on any device cross-platform measurement…we’re not there yet, but we’re gonna see a lot of incremental steps in the right direction of getting that problem solved. – Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer @ OMG

What is Advanced Television anyway?

Kelly Abcarian highlights below what role Nielsen, the gold standard of television measurement and age/gender demographics, is playing in Advanced TV.

“Nielsen is really focused on how we’re going to evolve the television ecosystem. […] Bringing together first party and third party segments to really drive an ability for a marketer to reach their unique audience…Nielsen’s the underpinning of all that data, much like we are in an age/gender world to help our clients transact against these precision audiences. […] We’re driving that evolution with our ACR technology and our broad-based assets in which to really drive the evolution of true one-to-one addressability in television.”

‍So, are advertisers seeking to target audiences on TV the way they do in programmatic?

In short, yes.

“Advertisers are learning to do audience targeting in television the way they have done it for a decade or more in digital. It’s definitely a work in progress to move from thinking only about how many impressions were delivered on television to thinking more specifically about which impressions were delivered to which people at what point in time,” says Steuer.

Claudio Marcus seems to agree, noting the progress reaches beyond just targeting: 

“What I would say is that traditional linear television is now embracing some of the best qualities of digital. The ability to use data, the ability to target, the ability to measure… and to do so in a level of scale that TV brings to the table,” considers Marcus.

But is holistic campaign measurement and attribution possible given today’s technology?

“Measuring advanced television […] right now is still pretty challenging. Part of that is that we live in a world where the traditional television metrics [have] really focused only on bulk reach against a demo, whereas digital metrics are much more granular. And part of the big challenge today is trying to figure out how to merge those together for measurement… first of delivery and then of attribution,” explains Steuer.

Marcus also shares a cautious optimism about holistic campaign measurement: 

“It’s possible. It’s not easy but it is possible. We are starting to see both traditional linear television and digital video datasets combined to enable cross-platform attribution. We also see a lot more matching to first and third party datasets both on the targeting side as well as on the measurement and attribution side, so it is happening,”

What about the buzz around emerging media currencies like NBCU’s CFlight?

“There are a number of initiatives aiming at cross-platform measurement and Cflight has led the way in some respects, and now we see Nielsen even embracing some common elements with Cflight. And that’s an important move for the industry because ultimately we want to understand de-duplicated audience reach across television in premium digital video. Cflight brings that together, and it’s in early stages, but that’s the general direction that we should expect to see measurement going,” says Marcus.

Jonathan Steuer also is encouraged by initiatives, like CFlight, moving toward a currency capable of capturing the needs of today’s transactions, even if it’s not yet perfect: 

“We applaud NBC for at least trying to move the industry in the direction of a more comprehensive and cross-platform measurement mechanism with Cflight. I think Cflight 1.0 — which we certainly have worked with them on over the year or so that it’s been in the marketplace — it’s still a strange hybrid where it’s measuring linear television on a sort of bulk ratings level and everything else on an impression level. We look forward to and are continuing to collaborate with NBC to help get us to Cflight 2.0 and further where we get the level of granularity we want across all the different platforms.”

But skepticism remains, especially around the creation of a new measurement metric that isn’t coming from a third party and is not yet widely adopted by the industry. Kelly Abcarian maintains that transparency and trust in the metrics is key to moving forward.

“We’re all about metrics to monetize because we recognize the industry is going to transact on the set of metrics that still have the same comparable foundation and trust and transparency. And we’re not here to dictate what the actual right currency metric needs to be, foundationally we want to build every metric in a way that — whether an advertiser wants to trade on sales lift versus brand lift versus age and gender versus an advanced target — they can have confidence and trust in the data they’re using to make those advertising decisions.”

All of this after only one day! We can’t wait to see what the rest of the week holds.