Yaniv Davidson, founder of Tunity, studied engineering before moving into the mobile space doing R&D for Intel and as CTO of a security startup. From there he moved into the digital sphere, advising Fortune 500 CEOs at BCG and as Vice President in a WPP-funded start up where he saw how brands were spending money on media. His company, Tunity, uses mobile technology to stream audio to users in front of out-of-home screens where the audio might be muted such as airports, sports bars and gyms.
Charlene Weisler: What made you explore this part of the media business?
Yaniv Davidson: In the U.S. according to Nielsen, almost 10% of viewership hours is out-of-home. The experience for the viewer is terrible because most of the time you can't hear it. And on top of that, networks and advertisers can't really know who is watching what. There are studies that report generally who is watching and you can see different networks trying to quantify that but nobody has the technology or the ability to actually measure these people.
[At] Tunity we created a computer vision and deep learning-based technology that lets anyone scan the TV for a second. We detect the channel and detect the timing and stream the audio directly to their mobile phones. What we enable is a much better experience for the consumer by accessing the audio to match the video feed, and we enable the network and its advertisers to measure that 10% of the market which is actually 10% of a $70 to $80 billion a year market (in the US). That is what we are focusing on now.
Charlene: What else can you do with this technology?
Yaniv: In general, what we want to do with the technology is to enable any consumer to connect with any visual content wherever they are -- TV in and out-of-home, digital signage, digital out-of-home. Whatever you see, we will be able to scan and detect the content, and we will be able to stream not only the audio but any type of synchronized content -- content that relates to you, that you clearly signaled you are interested in and trying to connect with.
On top of measuring out of home viewership, we are creating a platform that connects every viewer to additional content and advertising. We are enabling brands and advertisers to create more effective content for digital out-of-home, measure exactly who is interested in that content and add a channel where they can go back and retarget the consumer with a personalized offer or message.
Charlene: What type of data can you collect and how can it be used?
Yaniv: When you scan the TV we know who you are because you have either signed up with an email or signed up with Facebook and we know what you are watching now and what you have watched in the past. That is the initial data that we already have. We are working on extracting even more demographics from your location, from your viewing, etc. I see our data product in the same way that Nielsen did or is doing for in-home viewership. I want to do the same thing for Out-of-Home viewership. I want to supply TV networks and advertisers with data that looks and feels exactly the same. Of course, on top of the viewership data, there is a lot of additional data that can be used for better understanding viewers and consumers and for measuring and improving advertising.
Charlene: Where do you see companies like Tunity that capture activity in out of home viewing going in the next few years?
Yaniv: We are extremely focused on enabling anyone watching out of home to hear the audio as well as capturing all of that viewership data for networks. That is what we are doing now. The way we see Tunity as a technology and as a platform three to five years from now is that it will enable any user, any consumer to interact with any video content wherever they are, in or out of home.
For media in general, TV is not dead. I think out of home viewership of TV will become a bigger part of the overall linear TV market. If you think about it, what do people watch linearly today? Mainly two things: news and sports. Much of that content is watched live and that is what people are watching out of home. So I think that even if linear TV will grow more slowly, it is still going to be a huge market and within that, out of home will actually grow faster compared to overall TV growth.
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