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Avoiding the Walled Garden of Data and Measurement Tools in Television

May 18th, 2016   ||    by Charlene Weisler

Do we risk the creation of a walled garden in TV media measurement? The advancement of both big data and niche data sets into the media ecosystem has been both a boon and a challenge for the industry. Targeted and segmented data sets enable content producers and advertisers to better ascertain the value of their inventories and send effective messaging to consumers.

But these data sets are not without their challenges. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to merge data results for post analysis because of data and metric uniqueness and data duplication.

Challenge: Siloed and Duplicated Data Sets

Some datasets are proprietary and siloed, which hinders data merging. Other datasets are licensed to competing vendors, risking duplication. For an advertiser who buys across networks, it is challenging to match target-segment deliveries with datasets that are either unique to the network, originate from different vendors, or employ different methodology leading to data gaps or overlaps. Mitch Oscar, founder of the USIM Secret Society Workshop, asks, “Since many data companies have licensed AT&T, Charter, and FourthWall, how is that translated into the output of any and all investigations?”

Challenge: Metrics and Methodology

In jockeying for position, many networks extol the value and sophistication of their newly launched data initiatives, each with its own “special sauce” calculations and “black box” algorithms, few of which are transferable or easily comparable across competing companies.

Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, doesn’t think “open data sharing across exchanges is very critical to the development, adoption, and effectiveness of next generation TV advertising. Most TV media owners and TV marketers want to protect the proprietary value of their data and their consumers’ privacy, so I don’t expect it to be very public. What will be important is open and accepted protocols for privacy-safe, de-identified data matching and verification between TV companies and marketers.”

Solutions

Communication is a powerful tool to build consensus and standards. Oscar has formed a group of industry professionals to focus on data issues such as duplication. He says, “When a platform like Videa is trying to determine what data sets to purchase in order to help advertising agencies target audiences beyond age and gender as well as complement the agency’s existing data tools, it is very expensive. Cost aside, the skew of the data becomes another monumental factor. Aggregation of data is common in the syndication realm but how is it affecting the analysis? How is it slanting the read of the age, gender, and behavior of the audience?” Oscar intends to explore these questions in his committee’s initiatives.

Some call for a JIC (Joint Industry Committee) tasked with breaking down the data walled garden by establishing industry accepted data and metric standardization. Joe Mandese, Editor in Chief of MediaPost, is one advocate. He explains, “The only real solution would be for the industry to figure out a way to pool various data sources to create a unified database using common definition and standards for defining viewers across platforms and segmentation schemes. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of black boxes processing a lot of subjective data that is difficult to benchmark beyond its application within those platforms and the campaigns executed on them.”

Establishing consensus is the goal. Jane Clarke, CEO managing director CIMM, noted, “Standardized and accredited third party data for audience targeting across the industry will hasten the development of programmatic TV as buyers and sellers will then have a common language for buying and selling. It will also help foster a sense of openness and transparency, critical factors in digital ad buying today, further spurring adoption of programmatic buying in TV.”

For more on the walled garden, reach out to Videa.

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