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Wanted: Real Scale for Advanced Ads

NEW YORK — Despite gains in advanced advertising technologies and the continued integration of big data into campaigns, the industry will be hard pressed to gain scale without a concerted effort between programmers and media buyers, a panel of experts at the March 27 Multichannel News/Broadcasting & Cable Advanced Advertising spring event said, echoing other speakers during the daylong program.

Walt Horstman, TiVo senior vice president and general manager of analytics and advertising, said that while advanced advertising technology is being deployed over a variety of platforms — over-the-top, video-on-demand and national linear — the challenge remains being able to stitch all these different delivery mechanisms together.

“If we can have the same data set applied against different types, that’s the Holy Grail,” Horstman said.

That isn’t as easy as it seems, said FreeWheel general manager of platform sales James Rooke.

“It’s worth remembering how complex the problem is,” Rooke said, adding that FreeWheel, which deals primarily with digital video advanced advertising, has to manage 220 different endpoints.

“We’re somewhere, because programmers can manage set-top-box VOD in a seamless way,” he said. “We’re nowhere, in that we have different technical stats and different players in the middle. … We’re only at step 0.5 out of 20.”

Canoe Ventures vice president Ed Knudson said targeting ads in obvious programming — for example, advertising golf clubs on the Golf Channel — isn’t enough. He said the ultimate goal is to be able to use data to target ads toward household members that may be outside of a target demographic but are likely watching a show anyway.

But the goal of getting accurate measurement applied to linear TV can’t happen without full industry participation, Modi Media president Michael Bologna said.

“If the others don’t [come on board] it doesn’t do any good for one group to go one way and another go another,” Bologna said, adding that some responsibility falls on the side of the media buyers as well.

“Advanced advertising is here now, it’s real,” Bologna added. “We have to balance our own selfish interests versus evangelizing the ecosystem for the greater good.”