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Upfront Notebook: Genius Not Required for Data at CBS

Who better than one of the geniuses from The Big Bang Theory to explain how CBS is using Big Data to measure the effectiveness of broadcast advertising?

Actress Mayim Bialik took the stage at Carnegie Hall as neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler. She was joined by CBS ad sale president Jo Ann Ross, who was dressed identically.

After Bialik used big word to describe the strengths and weakness of data, Ross put it in plainer words. "So what you're saying is big data alone is meaningless if you don't have a big audience giving you access to the consumers you want to target," she said.

Ross continued making CBS' pitch. "We all know there's no question in the media universe broadcast television is the big bang and CBS is the biggest. To reach the most people who buy your product, come to CBS."

"Big data does not have to be complicated," she added. "You know your CBS investment always delivers great values. Now we can better help you quantify your returns."

This wasn't the first time Ross dressed up as a character from one of CBS' shows. And If CBS' most talked about new show Supergirl turns out to be a hit, next year, Ross might have to take the stage wearing tights and a cape.

Most buyers were impressed with CBS' schedule, launching just three new shows at the start of the season, then using Thursday Night Football to promote two more debuting in November.
CBS has a winning playbook, and "no one executes that playbook better than Les Moonves," said one media buyer. "But I wish sometimes they would try something new because you need that to succeed in the future."

Perhaps the most impressive part of the CBS schedule are the veteran shows it's producing to sit on the bench: comedies Mike & Molly, The Odd Couple and 2 Broke Girls, plus the drama Person of Interest. That would make for a good night for most networks.