A+E Reveals Its Multi-Platform Data Initiative

By Charlene Weisler A+E Networks Archives

Over the past several years A+E Networks has expanded its data solution capabilities and now, with A+E Precision, their recently debuted audience data platform solution, they deliver, according to Peter Olsen, Executive Vice President of A+E Network Ad Sales, “an insightful, actionable and measureable opportunity to advertisers and agencies.”

A Multi-Platform … Platform

A+E Precision’s origins can be traced back to 2012 when the network launched its programmatic video offering. “We established our programmatic strategy in the mobile app space and were able to create new revenue streams on our way to being leaders in the marketplace,” says Jason DeMarco, Vice President Programmatic and Audience Solutions. From there A+E embarked on a larger initiative to include all data that can be used to buy and target ad campaigns through both direct and programmatic sales. This now includes a DMP (data management platform), first party data, licensed (third party) data and on-boarded client data. “It has been a joint effort across sales and marketing,” DeMarco says. The result is A+E Precision’s Digital Audience Data Platform.

As advanced analytics and big data practices started to make their way into the television space A+E was ready to respond with their Linear Ad Optimizer, the TV specific arm of A+E Precision. The Linear Ad Optimizer platform ingests data from disparate sources (first, third or client proprietary). It delivers “an on-air media schedule optimized against a client’s strategic target, proving to be a valuable planning and execution tool for advertisers,” explains Santosh Mathai, Vice President, Data Analytic Strategic Sales Solutions. “First we tackled the digital side. From there we applied our knowledge to the linear side.”

There is also Synch, Reach & Address, A+E Precision’s advanced data testing area. “With a ‘flexible/open’ approach, Sync, Reach and Address affords our partners the ability to extend their reach and frequency (at the household level) across screens by collaborating with strategic partners such as SAMBA TV, Cablevision and others,” says Mathai.

Mathai and DeMarco treat data as a critical asset that they are utilizing to create value for A+E and their partners. “Collaboration prepares us for the future,” Mathai says. “As we look down the road, the walled garden approach will be difficult to maintain. It is critical for us to work collaboratively in this evolving landscape if we are going to create real value and deliver against strategic and business goals.

“We are in favor of an open and connected exchange as it allows our partners to see the, up until now, hidden value of our audiences,” he continues. “A consultative approach with transparency, collaboration, sharing and applying insights is the smarter route that we believe will deliver the best results. There are lots of moving parts and platform specific labels, but at the end of the day A+E Precision is our multi-platform audience targeting solution.”

Data Sets and Metrics

The Audience Data Platform (digital) focuses on first party data -- emails, ids, cookies, etc. “The CRM team is continuously working to incorporate quality, first party data as well as developing solutions for data synching and modeling look-a-likes to increase scale,” notes DeMarco.

The Linear Ad Optimizer (TV) “is data agnostic,” says Mathai. “We have the ability to work with any data that is available out there.”

These two Ad Sales department executives collaborate closely with A+E’s Research department.  In fact, it is important to the company to leverage all of the datasets that A+E has access to, beyond even that found in the research department.  “We work internally across the entire organization to see what datasets are available to us,” says DeMarco. “Data is a strategic asset that is being deployed throughout the company to deliver the best products and solutions. It’s not just limited to ad sales.”

As far as measurement is concerned, digital is still planned and reported on impressions. With TV, it is based on discussions with clients as to which metrics make the most sense. According to Mathai, “Every advertiser has a different definition of success and we are open to working with them to identify the best measurement method that works for all parties.”

Next Steps

Peter Olsen feels the time is right to launch the A+E Precision platform and that Santosh Mathai and Jason DeMarco are the right people to lead the charge. “Data is the key to unlocking value that the current media ecosystem suppresses,” he says. “I, as well as the whole organization, am confident that Jason and Santosh have the knowledge and experience to take A+E Precision out to market and provide the best in class products and solutions for our partners.”

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