After 23 years as a top executive at Viacom (now ViacomCBS), helping to launch groundbreaking networks like Logo TV and overseeing operations at iconic brands like MTV and VH1, Kristin Frank switched career gears in 2019, becoming president (and then CEO) of customer intelligence platform AdPredictive. AdPredictive helps clients better navigate the ever-complicated media landscape, even more relevant as the current shift toward streaming video and on-demand content has blurred the lines between advertising and programming. Frank spoke with B+C/Multichannel News senior content producer, finance Mike Farrell. An edited transcript follows.
What drew you to this company? I was drawn to AdPredictive by the energy and the culture. We create more with less, fast and with laser focus on impact, while staying ahead of the needs of the industry. What hooked me was how the company solves the industry’s hard problems with solutions that I had wished for in a partner when I was at MTV.
Discovery has been an early supporter. Will that continue and expand once their merger with WarnerMedia is complete? Discovery has committed themselves to a strong, open and reciprocal relationship with their viewers, and that is evident in the work they do to understand and connect with their audiences with the help of AdPredictive intelligence.
What shows are you binge-watching? Hacks, Mare of Easttown (pictured)
What books are on your nightstand? The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto; Our Common Ground: Insight from Four Years of Listening to American Voters by Diane Hessan
Favorite TV show of all time? Parks and Recreation
What’s your favorite app? I’m obsessed with my Oura Ring and its app
Bucket-list travel destinations? Antarctica and Easter Island
We’ve had the right solution, were ahead of the industry [and] worked really hard to grow the company and increase profitability. At this juncture, it’s about scaling and accelerating with the right solutions in the marketplace. We’re increasingly seeing our clients extend the use of our intelligence beyond marketing into all areas of their business, from cross-department insights to informing a CFO’s messaging to shareholders. And amid all of that, we’ve started to extend platform access to a broad base of industries including sports, retail, automotive and finance.
Ad measurement has become a hot-button issue as streaming and online have taken over traditional ways to deliver ads. How do you see things playing out? From my perspective, it’s quite simple. To drive real business growth and impact business outcomes — ROAS [return on ad spend], cost per sale, cost per tune-in, etc. — you have to know who your customers are and understand what media they engage with. AdPredictive takes a modern approach to this with our customer intelligence and attribution methodology. A great example of that is an attribution study that is in progress for a major entertainment client. In addition to tracking exposure and viewership conversions across linear TV and digital, we’re also adding their CRM data from email outreach into the attribution mix and looking at the crossover of their linear audiences with their streaming subscribers.
Does it matter to AdPredictive which platform wins out — Nielsen, Comscore, a combination of those or others? The short answer is no. What matters to AdPredictive is a business model that works for business. There is a tipping point at which it is cost-prohibitive to access data. Trying to solve for a broken business model really needs to be focused on a new structure. AdPredictive is not stuck in the old way. Brands should own their data and IDs without the restrictions that prevent enough trust to activate, optimize and drive growth.
You’ve been on both sides of the table on this issue. How does that unique perspective help your clients? As a Viacom executive and now the CEO of AdPredictive, I oversee our business with an entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve been where my clients are and was super-excited to come to AdPredictive because we are solving the industry’s hard problems — leveraging data intelligence and machine learning to drive stronger business outcomes, customer understanding and media effectiveness. ■
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.