Data, Data Everywhere in the Upfront: An Overview -- Part 3

By Media Insights Archives
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This is the third in a series of articles examining and comparing all of the data initiative announcements taking place during this Upfront.

The question this time is whether these initiatives are scalable and if so, how? (ReadPart 1 here and Part 2 here.)

There is a bit of skepticism in the industry regarding true scalability of these initiatives which, for many, means that they are adoptable across the industry. As Liz Janneman, Executive Vice President, Ad Sales at Ovation TV, said, “From a marketer’s perspective, how can they aggregate all of this data from (different networks) and all other partners if the data is proprietary and therefore can’t be aggregated across their entire media buy?”

How indeed? For others, scalability means the ability to grow the data service more deeply within a company and across one’s owned media properties.

My take: At this point I am not sure that many of these data initiatives are truly scalable outside the walls of the company. For a variety of reasons, I do not expect any of these initiatives to expand and integrate into general industry use anytime soon. They are generally proprietary services, some with a “secret sauce” of datasets and algorithms. Just like the agency optimizer models of yesteryear, today’s data initiatives seem to serve as a marketable point of difference for networks. I believe that it is the combination of quality content and deliverability of targeted audiences within the currency and sales service backing up all transactions that will be the ultimate arbiter of business success. But offering a way to accentuate ROI through the data chain is a nice added bonus that may tip a sales decision in a network’s favor.

Question 3: Is your data initiative scalable? If so how?

Katie Larkin (Executive Vice President, Advertising Sales Research and Strategy, NBCU): Yes. NBCUniversal’s broadcast, cable, Hispanic, news and sports programming are all included in our Audience Targeting Platform (ATP). We are offering this to select clients but broadly across all categories.

Mike Rosen (Executive Vice President, Advertising Sales, NBCU): Our offering, by its nature, is the most scalable of anything in the marketplace because NBCUniversal’s portfolio of assets has the most scale of anyone out there. We reach 93% of all US adults every single month. The essence of optimization is to build effective reach of specific audience segments.

Stephano Kim (Senior Vice President, Ad Operations and Chief Data Strategist, Turner): Turner Data Cloud will now become Turner’s central repository of data, spanning digital and linear ecosystems. Advertisers and their agencies can now transact in any format they prefer, with any data source they choose, including their own first party data.

Beth Rockwood (Senior Vice President, Market Resources, Discovery Communications): We are working with several systems that will make our initiatives scalable.  Discovery is working with Lake5 for data analytics and with clypd for audience optimization and a higher level of automation.  Systems are essential; however, good targeting work is customized and requires a higher touch approach and direct collaboration with clients. 

Paul Haddad (Senior Vice President and General Manager, Advanced Data Analytics, Cablevision Media Sales): Our data-related initiatives continue to grow, and we are now introducing automation. Just a couple of weeks ago we introduced Total Audience Application -- an advanced, data-driven platform that leverages the power of first party data sources to automate the audience and media planning of addressable and optimized linear television campaigns.  The platform reduces the media planning process from weeks to just minutes and evolves the traditional, spot-based ad-buying model to one that is audience and impression-based.

David Poltrack (Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation and President of CBS VISION): Yes, it is definitely scalable. From a pure research perspective we are the best equipped network to add analytics for optimal targeting. To underscore this, we recently released data showing that consumers across all major buying categories watch more CBS programming than any other network. By delivering our clients a base audience rich in consumers we are able to layer on analytics to target more efficiently and effectively than our competitors.

Geri Wang (President, Ad Sales, ABC): Our TWDC digital portfolio offering provides marketers with the largest premium video audience marketplace opportunity.  No other media company producing premium original content reaches more people, for more time, with more ad supported video.  Our linear TV offering is rooted in ABC Primetime -- this season’s No. 1 A18-49 entertainment primetime lineup.  There’s no better place to find scale.

Elizabeth Herbst-Brady (Executive Vice President, Ad Sales Strategy, Viacom):  Viacom Vantage is scalable not only because we can offer it across our robust portfolio of networks, but also because we can efficiently handle the A-to-Z process, from analytics to creative integrations to operational and inventory management. 

Tom Ziangas (Senior Vice President, Research and Insights, AMC Networks): Too early to tell at this juncture, but I believe it will be. Developing our own DMP and Business Analytics Research Tool (BART) that encompasses Nielsen AMRLD, TVE data, VOD data, online Website data, EST, OTT will make it scalable.

In Part 4, to be published next week, I ask these questions: Do we need a standard metric with all of these data innovations? If so, then what should it be?

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage management or associated bloggers. Image at top courtesy of

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