April 20, 2011 – 12:07 am
Jen Soch is SVP, Activation Director Advanced TV at MediaVest.
TVexchanger.com: First, please tell us a bit about your responsibilities at MediaVest?
JS: I oversee Advanced TV, which spans four main areas, beginning with Video on Demand followed by interactive TV, the addressable space, and set-top box data.
So when you hear the term "targeted television," what does that mean to you?
Targeted television is interchangeable with addressable. In our addressable space, we’re looking to get beyond just targeting to the household level, because that's actually the most finite.
Where is the industry in targeted TV right now?
In conversation, we've gotten really far here at MediaVest over the last three years. We know what it is that we want, and we're just waiting for it. In practice, when it comes to household-level addressability, we're on the cusp of hopefully something bigger. The industry is moving in the right direction, but not fast enough for me.
On the client side, are they hot on targeted TV?
Absolutely – it’s about spending money more efficiently. Instead of just targeting women 25‑54, it would be great to target, for example, women with children, if the client is a diapers company.
We're trying to work differently and have some really good optimizers in place. Now we're able to look at back-end data with tools such as TRA, which helps us optimize better. And, I think we'll soon be able to look at 3rd party databases such as Experian or Acxiom that allow us to target differently on the front-end. In turn better targeting can help us buy more efficiently.
In your advanced TV world, what has grabbed your interest in particular?
Two‑screen voting and polling ideas, which were also hot in 2004 and 2005. At the time, we didn't necessarily have two screens in our home. With most consumers owning mobile phones, two-screen applications are a real possibility today.
Connected TVs, if you want to talk new technology and landscape, are a fascinating potential way for us to combine the targeting of online with the non‑targeting of television carefully, again, on that "lean back" TV screen.
Then of course, there’s tablets and everything the print vehicles can do. Metrics are a work in progress, but we need to figure it out, because there are a lot of interesting stories from the print world that could happen in the electronic space.
Can you go through different silos of advanced TV? Where’s interactive TV versus targeted TV, etc., and how do they work together?
To me, Advanced TV is the umbrella – it is anything new and different that's happening on a video screen. The four buckets, in my mind, fit this way:
- Addressable TV is targeted TV – targeting the consumer, following the consumer, gathering information, and then finding the consumer and delivering the appropriate message
- Interactive TV includes the act of interacting with the TV screen. This could be thorough one click on the TV screen or 2-screen interaction via mobile or Internet to request a coupon, sample or even to use a voting/polling application
- Video on Demand will be addressable some day, and it will have interactive TV on it
- Set-Top Box Data allows us to measure the other three areas and learn how our target audience interacts with new forms of TV advertising. Set-Top Box Data will also allow us to target and optimize more effectively in the future. It’s about using census level data and gathering more details on how we all watch TV
Looking at all four sections of Advanced TV, who do you think are going to be the big winners here down the road?
- In the targeted/addressable TV space, everyone wins, because it's an interesting way to start monetizing inventory that hasn't been monetized before. For the providers, it’s a great way to get local inventory to start and bring in national advertisers. Then of course, there’s the middleware providers, such as the Visible Worlds and OpenTVs could really be winners of the addressable world.
- In interactive TV, TV producers will win – if you can pull consumers into your show and get them so involved that they're willing to watch the show and pick up their device, vote, and do things alongside of it, you have some pretty dedicated folks watching your shows which is attractive to brand marketers, of course.
- Video‑on‑demand - If connected TV can start to give web-like metrics and bring in video‑on‑demand type content, then they win, because video‑on‑demand right now is struggling with just household demographics. Cable companies are going to be more like online ad networks and the stuff that they're pushing out, so I think it'll be the same content providers. If the buyer can more ad-network types of buys like you find online with potential cookie‑like data on your television, it could be interesting.
- Set‑top box data – the value lies in taking this information and pairing it with something else to find the story. For example, TRA. This company is taking set‑top box data and partnering with shopper card data to provide a story. Rentrak is also looking at local markets to get a story. The key is that the buyer doesn’t just want the data, they want something to do with it. The winners are the ones that find the front-end and back-end targeting –something that can help me with the front end and get beyond demographics in the addressable space, and, at the same time on the back end, can help the buyer fix linear buys, and inform on how to better optimize or buy better in the future.
Are you concerned about the challenges being met in the online behavioral advertising space will upset the advanced TV world?
We're keeping a very close eye on it.
There's nothing in the TV space that we do without having third‑party involvement to wipe out consumer information – literally everything that we touch -consumer data, names, addresses - gets removed to protect privacy.
Social media is a hot buzz phrase out there. Is there a social “something happening” in advanced TV?
For me, social TV is interactive television – voting, polling, getting involved in the program. MySpace is also social television; Facebook will eventually be linked in, and the others will follow.
How is Facebook going to suck that world into it?
We’ll wait and see. I've already seen applications on the iPad where you can listen to the audio from the television and the app also pulls down the audio to the iPad - whether you're DVR‑ing it or whether you're watching it live. That's a fascinating social application for me.
So it pops up things about the show and then talks about advertisers. That's very social. That's when you could bring in Facebook, two-screen applications and others. We'll get it with connected TV, too. It's just that it will take a little bit longer for people to be comfortable with that layer on your television screen. But it's coming.
April 20, 2011 – 12:07 am