Beet.TV The root to the media revolution Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:48:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Comcast’s New Initiative Taps Blockchain For TV Ad Data Security Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:26:46 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — Could the technology behind Bitcoin be used to power digital advertising data, not just a digital currency?

At Cannes Lions, the festival of advertising creativity, technology and ad execs alike have been discussing the potential application of blockchain.

But “potential” may already be an out-of-date description – because Comcast used Cannes to announce what must be one of the world’s first blockchain deployments geared toward improving the distribution of ad targeting data insights.

Blockchain Insights Platform, as Comcast calls it, will be a new and improved advertising approach developed in collaboration with Comcast’s own NBCUniversal, as well as Disney (USA), Channel 4 (UK), Altice (USA), Cox Communications (USA), Mediaset (Italy) and TF1 (France).

Specifically, the platform will help advertisers use aggregated insights from data sets, including their own, for ad planning and buying, without having to give away their own precious customer data to traditional data warehouses.

The program comes out of Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group, which was introduced last week and includes its Strata, FreeWheel, and Visible World companies, and a full launch is expected in 2018.

“We could use blockchain to create a way for anybody with data to query other pools of data without having to pool it,” says Comcast advertising president Marcien Jenckes in this video interview with Beet.TV.

The current line-up of broadcast partners is just the start. “Many others, we will be announcing soon,” Jenckes adds.

For the uninitiated, a blockchain is a public, distributed, anonymized ledger of transactions that is supremely trackable and traceable. It is the technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin, but, in theory, those “transactions” don’t have to be monetary.

Across several industries, speculation is growing that blockchain technology could be applied to more than just currencies or transactions to bring efficiencies, privacy and security.

This video is from The New TV Ecosystem Leadership Forum at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by FreeWheel. For more from the series, please visit this page.

The Power NBCU’s “Symphony” w/ Apple News, Buzzfeed, Snapchat & Vox, Linda Yaccarino explains Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:10:39 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – NBCUniversal’s Symphony initiative keeps adding new players to its promotional ensemble, wherein all company units pull to together to promote a specific initiative. This year Symphony will benefit from NBCU’s partnerships with the likes of Apple News, BuzzFeed and Snapchat.

Therein lies a paradox of sorts, given NBCU’s public bashing of some of the new generation of content providers. So it’s noteworthy to hear the company’s sales chief, Linda Yaccarino, discuss issues like brand safety, premium video and “shiny new toys” in this interview conducted by OMD’s investment chief Ben Winkler at the FreeWheel/Beet.TV New TV Ecosystem Leadership Forum, which took place at the Comcast beach cabana.

Winkler set the stage by asking Yaccarino to square her comments about advertisers over-allocating spending to digital platforms with a wave of negative comments about brand safety on some of those platforms. Were the two connected?

Yaccarino responded by citing a “dangerous soup of an environment that we live in today. I don’t think anyone has the answer yet of what’s the right magical number of the mix, of premium content to digital.”

At the next Cannes festival, the subject may very well be moot, as far as Yaccarino is concerned. “Next year, I hope we stop talking about digital versus linear. In a year or two it’s all going to be the same thing,” she said. “But the turf war isn’t about digital versus linear. It’s how can we come together and help our clients sell more product.”

Winkler asked why NBCU disparaged “shiny new toys” in the digital space but proceeded to invest in and partner with some of them. That all depends on how one defines shiny objects, Yaccarino said.

Citing Apple News, BuzzFeed, Snapchat and Vox, she said, “It’s all populated by one thing and that’s premium content.”

Consumers have already dispelled any semantical differences between traditional TV content and video, according to Yaccarino. “The consumer is already there. They see no difference between accessing content via the big screen on the wall in their home or the screen in their lap or the screen in their hand.”

However, barriers still remain in the “ease of transaction for our customers,” she noted, “and the ability to offer them unified measurement or, God forbid, a currency in which to transact.”

NBCU’s Symphony initiative is credited with, among other things, raising NBC from “worst to first” in ratings by pooling the resources of all company units—from linear digital to theme parks. Among the beneficiaries has been the program “This Is Us,” as The Los Angeles Times reports.

“The difference this year is that we’re able to spread that messaging through the partners that we’ve been talking about, Snapchat, Buzzfeed, Apple News so it’s very exciting,” said Yaccarino.

This video is from The New TV Ecosystem Forum at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by FreeWheel. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Amplifi US President Lucas Cridland: Big Data Disconnect Between Broadcast, Other Video Providers Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:30:09 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – When Lucas Cridland compares broadcast television to digital video, he sees data gaps and a lack of flexibility in the former. “The dynamic nature of the premium marketplace is constantly moving,” says the President of Dentsu Aegis Networks’ Amplifi US.

But while there seems to be “a lot of innovation on the supply side,” unfortunately there’s “not as much as we would like in the traditional broadcast area,” Cridland says in this interview with Beet.TV.

“We are always looking for good, quality inventory and the way to access it, and we’re trying to find a route to market that’s valuable, measurable and accountable for our clients.”

One desire among those clients is for better access to data from broadcasters, according to Cridland. He views a “big disconnect” between what Amplifi can obtain in alternative content environments for premium video with regard to “the data going in and the data coming out.”

That represents “a gap we’ve got to close in broadcast.”

On the issue of flexibility, he points to the traditional UpFront TV negotiating period as representing “an 18-month forward buy” that leaves little room for tactical maneuvering.

He finds addressable TV advertising at scale in broadcast “very exciting” even though it represents a small portion of client spending. Barriers to expansion include continuity across providers of addressable ad inventory.

To Cridland, addressable isn’t about making traditional metrics like CPM’s cheaper. “That’s not the end game in this environment. It’s about targeting and eliminating wastage difficult to do in a broadcast environment,” he says.

This video is from The New TV Ecosystem Forum at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by FreeWheel. For more from the series, please visit this page.

MediaLink’s Matt Spiegel Parses The Meaning Of TV, Data Segmentation Standards Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:26:13 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Is the semantical divide between “television” and “digital video” crumbling? Judging from discussions at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the answer is yes.

At least it is in the mind of Matt Spiegel, Managing Director of strategic advisory and business development firm MediaLink. Following his role as moderator of the FreeWheel/Beet.TV New TV Ecosystem Forum, Spiegel shared his thoughts on definitional differences and whether data segmentation standards are necessary.

“I love the fact that both buyers and sellers are now getting rid of the TV versus digital divide,” Spiegel says. “That’s not really news in some level, but the fact that it’s now being talked about means we’re evolving.”

The industry “transactionally” has had a TV versus digital divide for awhile, according to Spiegel. “It seems to me more than ever that’s coming together. Which is great news.”

He reflects on a panel discussion between representatives of Fox Networks and ESPN in which Spiegel’s age-old question—what is television—was center stage. “If it’s a full screen experience and the ad is being viewed what do I care about the rest of the environment? I don’t care what device it is. I don’t care what screen it’s on,” Spiegel recounts.

The viewpoint from Fox was regardless of how a consumer accesses programming, “if I’m showing you an ad and the consumption is the same and the viewership is the same, then that means an advertiser should look at it the same,” he adds. “We’re far from there but I think that’s an interesting point.”

Spiegel differs from many in the industry when it comes to the perceived need for standardization of data segmentation, another topic of discussion at Cannes.

“I still sit on the side that says customization of data science and the definitions, certainly for marketers of how they think about who they’re reaching and how they define those audiences, matters a ton,” says Spiegel.

The sell-side will probably lean toward more standards. “But I think you’re still going to be dealing with a buy-side that has customized that in a lot of ways. How that continues to evolve, the value of things like OpenAP, will be interesting to see as that evolves.”

This video is from The New TV Ecosystem Forum at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by FreeWheel. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Havas’ Dominique Delport “We have a unique opportunity with AI” Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:03:20 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — At the latest assembly of the world’s largest festival for creative marketing, the hottest topic up for discussion was… artificial intelligence?

It may seem incongruous, but, as executives in industries the world over scramble to assess the benefits promised by AI, advertising decision-makers are amongst those getting excited.

“At the agency level, we have a unique opportunity,” says Havas’ global managing director Dominique Delport. “The way we are going to reach new heights .. is the moment we can bring more and more automation.

And Delport draws a parallel with what happened on the New York Stock Exchange more than a decade ago, when new automated trading software was introduced, meaning many trades are now performed by algorithms, not traders on the floor.

“(It is) exactly what happened in the financial markets and the trading floor, where (the) computer sits next to traders,” Delport adds. “Traders and quant analysts and computer help to make the engine work better.”

At Cannes, discussion of AI’s application in advertising has ranged from interactive 3D faces to personalization. Delport says Havas has already begun to plug AI in to its software stack.

“We start(ed) implementing AI components in our latest version of the meta-DSP, and our new programmatic platform, CTS … to have smarter decision-making by providing the top 30 trading strategies,” he adds.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.

A+E’s Mel Berning: Less Intuition, More Data Inform Advertiser Program Decisions Mon, 26 Jun 2017 23:06:32 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Advertisers aren’t getting less protective of their audience targeting data but they are increasingly willing to work with data and content providers. At the same time, they’re relying less on intuition to choose the most suitable programming for their brands, according to Mel Berning, A+E Networks’ President of Sales.

He sees these trends as a welcome sign that the industry is moving beyond traditional age/sex demographics for audience targeting and defends the broadcast TV environment against newer platforms.

Whereas targeting traditionally has been the province of the advertisers, they have been “very protective of their data and very protective of sharing information about who their real target is,” Berning says in this interview with Beet.TV. “I don’t think any of that is going to change.”

However, he perceives “much more of an appetite to work together in terms of advertisers, data suppliers and networks like A+E” for a deeper understanding of audiences.

This involves moving beyond the concept of, say, women 18-49 who buy certain products to “women who live certain kinds of lifestyles or who have certain mind frames use products for a bunch of reasons, and it’s really delving into those reasons.”

He says marketers have long chosen certain types of content based on their intuition that scripted content might be appropriate for certain brands and unscripted “because it’s very energetic” for others.

“But now we have a lot more data that proves that certain kinds of people with certain kinds of likes and dislikes and different amounts of receptivity to messaging are all part of the audience,” Berning says.

The big difference between an A+E and newer content providers, according to Berning, “is really the quality of our content.”

From an advertising standpoint, “We think there’s a pacing and a quality to the environment because of the content that we provide that really makes the audience more receptive.”

He points to Viceland, History Channel’s scripted series Vikings and SIX and Live PD as standouts at A+E.

This video is from The Advanced TV Summit at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by Alphonso. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Alphonso’s Kodige Takes TV Ad-Tracking To Movie Theaters Mon, 26 Jun 2017 23:00:00 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — Imagine a future in which a brand advertised to you through your TV, then followed you out of your apartment, down the street, in to the store and inside the movie theater.

That future is now, as a new crop of TV ad data companies is rising up to offer not just TV ad tracking – but tracking of real-world viewer movements motivated by the ads.

One of those companies is Alphonso, which says it is finding the movie theater to be a key areana for the new technology.

“Movie studios spend a lot of money on television – they want to know who are the people who went and saw the movie,” says Alphonso chief product officer Raghu Kodige, in this video interview with Beet.TV”

Alphonso’s technology, which the company claims is on TV viewing devices in a third of US TV households as well as on smartphones, can see whether a TV viewer has seen a TV ad for a movie, then can see whether that viewer is sitting in her chair in the theater.

Does Alphonso know whether she also bought popcorn? In fact, it does, as the company also looks at consumers’ credit card records to find purchases and attribute them back to that original TV ad.

Isn’t there a consumer privacy concern in all of this? “If they are aware of it, they are happy to give consent,” Kodihge adds. “The holy grail of advertising is to figure out what is working.”

This video is from The Advanced TV Summit at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by AlphonsoFor more from the series, please visit this page.

Dentsu Aegis Network’s Doug Ray On Data Privacy And A Pivot To More PII Mon, 26 Jun 2017 22:46:07 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – As more marketers seek to use data to achieve the kind of accountability that direct-response media has typically provided, agencies are improving the way they handle sensitive consumer information. In the past month alone, Dentsu Aegis Network rolled out a PII-based data platform and appointed a global data compliance officer in advance of new EU regulations.

“I think privacy is of the utmost importance for clients. It always has been,” says Doug Ray, Dentsu Aegis Network’s President of Product & Innovation.

At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, where Ray was a panelist at the Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel, he explains to Beet.TV how the way media is planned and purchased has become much more dynamic and why his company has “doubled down” on leveraging data.

This includes both PII information—names, physical addresses and email addresses—and cookie data within client data management platforms.

“That’s at the end of the day why clients are directly managing their DMP’s and leaning in to CRM, because they’re looking to try to understand and know their customers better,” says Ray.

Particularly in Europe, regulators go to great lengths to restrict what marketers can do with consumer data. This will only increase as companies become more sophisticated about mining that information.

Last week, Dentsu Aegis Network recruited the Chief Privacy Officer from British Telecom Group, Mark Keddie, to become its first Global Data Protection Officer. It came a year before such a position will be mandated by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The move is “very important and something we’re certainly taking quite seriously particularly as we pivot into utilizing PII more and more for our advertising campaigns,” says Ray.

The pivot includes its acquisition last August of a majority stake in data marketing firm Merkle. Baltimore-based Merkle specializes in so-called “customer relationship marketing,” which includes crafting loyalty programs for marketers and managing their vast customer databases that hold reams of consumer information, as The Wall Street Journal reports.

Earlier this month, Dentsu Aegis Networks’ media agency brands began using Merkle’s PII-based M1 platform for centralized data planning and activation. For some initial campaigns using M1, Ray says there’s an average improvement of 20% in return on investment “and that’s simply by cleaning up the supply side in terms of costs, duplication of cookies and so on.”

This video is from The Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Social AI Gives Realistic Emotions To Brand Avatars, Sagar Says Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:45:55 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — Clippy was never this clever. Artificial intelligence is now taking us on a journey to a time where we will interact with lifelike digital avatars in virtual worlds populated by thousands of artificial actors.

That is the vision of artificial intelligence pioneer Mark Sagar. He should know – the CEO of Soul Machines says his company has used IBM’s Watson cognitive computing service to inject emotion in to computer-generated movie characters.

And now he says the same technology can be deployed by any company, to help imbue their machines with realistic empathy for customer interaction.

“Human cooperation is the biggest force in human history – we’re getting to a point where we can now cooperate with machines,” Auckland-based Sagar says during this panel interview at Cannes Lions.

“You start having situations where you can co-create with machines. If you add these in to the VR and AR worlds, you are populating an entire world of interactive characters, like you can interact with real people.”

Powered by IBM’s Watson cognitive technology, The Weather Company has been doing some early work in helping brands create chatbots that, using lifelike linguistic interaction, can have valuable discussions with audiences.

But Sagar, whose company also uses Watson, thinks that the next step in socialization is visual, humanizing brandbots using emotions in artificial brains that sit behind 3D facial models.

“We don’t just make realistic faces, they can be non-human characters,” he says. “We can take a brand and create an embodiment of the brand personality – you can control all the expressions that brand has so a customer can interact with that brand.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM BusinessFor more from the series, please visit this page.

]]> Overseas Convergence of TV And Video Presaged U.S. ‘Awakening’: Videology’s Ryan Jamboretz Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:04:47 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Call it digital déjà vu. The global convergence of television and video that has set off a wave of consolidation and new market entrants in the United States first began to emerge in Europe about two years ago.

Fast-forward and you had deals like NBC and Comcast and now the pending acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T, flanked by the emergence of Amazon, Facebook and Google as video disruptors.

“All of a sudden, the U.S. really woke up as it became apparent that audiences were fragmenting and ratings were declining, especially among some key audiences,” recalls Ryan Jamboretz, CRO of TV and video software provider Videology.

This awakening has forced traditional cable companies and MVPD’s to face the reality of “competition from old foes, people in their own competitive set, and these kind of new barbarians at the gate,” Jamboretz says in this interview with Beet.TV at the Cannes Lions gathering, where he was a panelist on the Advanced TV Summit.

Previously, companies needed only be proficient at distributing other peoples’ content or creating it. “Now they’re having to become both. If not become experts at monetization within that as well,” Jamboretz says.

As a “pretty global company,” Videology had a ringside seat to “bleeding-edge stuff on TV and video combining” as the result of its work with pioneers like Sky TV.

In the U.S., it’s companies like AT&T that “are really the ones we’re seeing with most of the innovation,” says Jamboretz.

Videology never sought to be a “jack-of-all-trades” in the digital arena. “For us it’s been a wonderful kind of awakening of the industry over the last two or three years as this challenge of how do we tackle TV turning digital has now kind of hit on all fronts,” he says.

One of the company’s keys to success is that it’s still privately held. “We have the luxury of not having to kind of expose all our state secrets, and I think we have every intent to keep doing that.”

This video is from The Advanced TV Summit at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by Alphonso. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Brands Must Unite And Control Their Own Data, Hearts & Science CEO Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:22:27 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — Brands spend too much time measuring the wrong metrics and should, instead, switch focus to look at a holistic overview of what matters in world in which they take back control.

That is according to the chief of the media agency network launched by Omnicom last year.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Hearts & Science CEO Scott Hagedorn worries: “Everything’s gotten broken apart.

“(Clients’) CRM programs aren’t working anymore, they’re divorced from their media programs… People don’t look at the aggregate anymore. It’s important to look at the broader KPIs… sales, purchase intent, proving out brand equity improvement … versus looking at these little pieces that aren’t connected anymore.”

Hagedorn was drafted in from Omnicom’s Annalect data division to run the new unit that is equal parts data and creativity.

He sees an opportunity for clients to use consumer purchase data, connected to ad exposure measurement, to figure out the true ROI of ads – but Hagedorn also sees a privacy concern emerging.

“A lot of consumers have grown up with the concept of a free internet … they’re not as concerned (about) demographic or behavioural data being utilised (in ad targeting),” he says,

“(But) when you start getting in to purchase data … there gets to be some concerns. I advise our clients … they should own their own DMP (demand-side platform), let the agencies operate and have it be fully transparent. Clients need to own their own ad-tech stacks, agencies need to be adept enough to operate on top of those investments.”

This video is from The Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page. Hagedord was a panelist at this event. 

GroupM’s Lesser Rearchitects The Agency For A Data-Led Future Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:04:37 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — GroupM is reconfiguring its agency businesses for a new advertising world in which advertisers expect to measure and pay for ads that bring real, identifiable business results.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, GroupM north America CEO Brian Lesser explains the group is responding a world in which the agency business model is fast-changing, now that brands can increasingly see consumers’ purchase events and link them to ad exposure.

“We’ve been able to measure the effects of online advertising directly to sales for a very long time – it’s just been expensive in the past,” Lesser says. “Ten years ago, we could take one digital impression and match it to a product bought in-store. The data has become ubiquitous. Today, we’re closer to being able to do that at massive scale.”

Agencies were already coming under pressure from clients to introduce a more transparent charging structure.

The emergence of this attribution technology is another reason why agencies are coming under pressure to change.

“We in the marketing services business can start to change our business model,”Lesser says. “We can move more closely to a performance-based model… generating actual sales or test  drives based on awareness we drive online and in linear advertising.

“We’re aggressively changing our organisation structure, how we service clients,”

“We are replatforming our agencies so that all them are planning and activating based on real-time audience data that we have in [m]Platform. We’re combining MEC and Maxus in to one global network… that makes us more efficient … it broadens our network and makes that individual company have the scale.”

This video is from The Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes Lions 2017. Where Lesser was a panelist.  For more from the series, please visit this page.

IPG’s Data Chief Goes The Extra Mile, Beyond Proxies Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:01:54 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Brands need to break away from the limitations of traditional digital ad measurement, to embrace a world in which they can achieve true business outcomes.

That is according to the tech chief of one leading ad agency.

Compared with analog, digital advertising may be sophisticated but, without having full sight of outcomes like actual sales, for years the industry has relied on currencies that measure things like clicks.

But that is changing, says IPG Mediabrands chief data and technology officer Arun Kumar.

“We do have an addiction to measuring proxies,” he tells Beet.TV in this video interview.

“For too long in the industry, we’ve talked about proxies (as metrics), because of our inability to measure the outcome.”

“Advertising has had a problem that broadband has had (in emerging markets) for a long time – the problem of ‘the last mile’. You bring the wire all the way up to the house and then it’s not in the apartment.”

In Kumar’s world, the advertising industry would close that last mile, helping advertisers to understand true business outcomes by abandoning proxy metrics like clicks, and instead by embracing true outcomes data that can, nowadays, be linked to online instigators.

Increasingly, new measuring techniques can capture a moment of sale and cross-reference data trails to match the purchase to the user who saw ads that motivated the decision.

“There are a fair amount of clients making the move,” says Kumar, “saying, ’It’s important for us to go beyond proxies’.

“We desire to drive outcomes. The outcomes are always business-related. It’s a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.”

This video is from The Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page. Kumar was a panelist at this event. 

WPP’s Sorrell Sees ‘Groundswell’ Of Client Attitude for Programmatic TV Mon, 26 Jun 2017 01:30:52 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Sir Martin Sorrell says marketers are changing their attitudes toward programmatic media buying at the same time as the growth of alternative content continues unabated. In this interview with Beet.TV, he also talks about WPP’s investments in content producers and how advertising “in one form or other” is seeping into Netflix.

In the aftermath of the television UpFront season, Sorrell thinks traditional networks have done pretty well price-wise. ““I think they’re quite bullish about the UpFronts in the U.S. They’re seeing reasonably significant prices increases in the mid single-digit area at a time when we’re seeing deflation elsewhere,” says Sorrell, who is Founder & CEO of WPP. “So I think owners of the inventory feel pretty good about it.”

He then cites “obviously broader and much more significant opportunities” for advertisers in the programmatic space. It’s an area where WPP has made significant investments in its Xaxis unit and [m]PLATFORM technology.

“We’re offering something a little bit more than programmatic as it overlays brings in data and technology inputs, which make it far more sophisticated in terms of targeting,” Sorrell says.

Clients that had been concerned about some aspects of programmatic buying are thinking differently, he adds.

“We are seeing I think the start of a groundswell of change in attitude toward programmatic,” Sorrell says, citing marketers’ in-house operations “perhaps becoming less attractive” for reasons that include the need to keep updating the technology.

Turning his attention to newer content providers like Amazon he notes, “The amount of money that these companies are willing to invest in content is quite considerable.”

He says it’s not uncommon for Amazon to spend $10 million on one, hour-long episode, “Netflix maybe $7 million and the more traditional producers spending about three.”

As for whether Netflix, which according to Sorrell loses money on a cash flow basis, can ever turn that around, the answer will lie in its subscription and advertising policies. “In a way Netflix is already advertising, it has product placement warnings in front of some of its series already. So we are starting to see advertising in one form or other start to invade the Netflix platform.”

Companies like WPP, which traditionally had concentrated their investments outside of the content creation sector, have changed their thinking and are ramping up on the sell-side. Sorrell points to investments in Vice Media, Refinery29, 88rising and Mic as examples of his company’s need to experiment “to see how we can learn more and how are clients can be involved in it.”

This video is from The New TV Ecosystem Forum at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by FreeWheel. For more from the series, please visit this page.

AI Taking One-To-One Personalization ‘To The Ultimate’: MEC’s Carl Fremont Mon, 26 Jun 2017 01:00:47 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Having spent nearly four decades in advertising, Carl Fremont perceives artificial intelligence as “beyond transformational” and “completely disruptive.”

For their part, marketers need to be brave and experiment with AI while not thinking short term about it, Fremont says in this interview Beet.TV with The Weather Company CMO Jordan Bitterman at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

“For me, artificial intelligence is about the iterative learning process,” says Fremont, who is Global Chief Digital officer of MEC.

From an advertising and media perspective, AI represents a transition from algorithms to “something that is learning on its own.”

He is particularly attracted to the notion that AI could help vehicle marketers configure a car “based not on what you told it but what’s learned about you, your lifestyle, if you have a family, how old your kids are, what you do. You go right to the showroom and your car’s there.”

Fremont dubs AI “beyond transformational” because it touches everything from product design to demonstration and purchase.

“It’s not device oriented, it’s not marketing oriented,” Fremont says. “What I love most about it is that it’s completely disruptive.”

Asked by Bitterman whether AI is just a lot of talk at this point, Fremont posits that marketers need to do a lot more experimentation. Beyond the vehicle design model, he talks about the potential for machine learning from consumer engagement with digital ads.

“It’s really taken the notion of one-to-one personalization to the ultimate.”

Recalling the early days of one-to-one marketing with the direct mail medium, Fremont marvels at the swiftness of the AI realm.

“Now the ability to move at lightening speed is what is so disruptive,” along with “the accuracy that it has.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.

More Standards For Advanced TV, Premium Video A Bulwark For Agencies: MEC’s Tim Castree Mon, 26 Jun 2017 00:58:14 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Solving the challenges of optimizing advanced television and premium video surely will provide better audience targeting and advertising performance. But just as important, it’s also a “bulwark” for agencies to defend their turf against consultants and other forms of disintermediation.

This is the viewpoint that Tim Castree brought to global advertising and media planning agency MEC upon his arrival as CEO from Videology, following stints at MediaVest and Leo Burnett. Having been tapped to lead the merger of GroupM’s MEC and Maxus earlier this month, Castree sees a need for more standardization for targeting and measurement and fewer “home-grown” solutions.

Many people look at advanced TV and premium video “and say it’s obvious, we get better targeting, we get better performance, etcetera,” Castree says in this interview with Beet.TV. “But there’s a larger context that I’m not sure people are talking about in the industry that’s really essential.”

While companies like Google and Facebook are “fantastic, important partners” they represent “disintermediation against the agency model at the moment,” according to Castree.

Meanwhile, he alludes to consultancies that are attempting to lower the rank of agencies on the value chain.

“They want to give all the smart advice and try to relegate us to execution,” Castree says.

So the opportunity for better optimization of advanced TV and premium video isn’t just about better performance. “It’s our bulwark. It’s our big hedge against the competitive threats and disintermediation.”

The route to erecting these ramparts is by bringing more data, targeting and addressability “but more importantly more standardization to the approach behind which we transact in premium video.”

In other words, a common way to apply different types of data to targeting and measurement.

“The challenge we’re having at the moment is everybody is building a home- grown solution,” Castree observes. “There’s just a multitude of home-grown solutions so it’s getting more fragmented, more difficult to navigate and the power is in some form of consolidation around that.”

This video is from The Advanced TV Summit at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by Alphonso. For more from the series, please visit this page.

OMD’s Ben Winkler: No ‘Us Versus Them,’ Advertisers Need Many Video Options Mon, 26 Jun 2017 00:55:47 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – OMD’s Chief Investment Officer welcomes a warming of the discourse between traditional TV content providers and their digital counterparts. Not only does it reflect reality, embracing both is the only way for advertisers to meet their business objectives, says Ben Winkler.

In this interview with Beet.TV, Winkler mentions a conversation he had onstage with NBCUniversal sales chief Linda Yaccarino during the the FreeWheel/Beet.TV forum hosted by Comcast. He says her call for an agnostic approach to media selection strikes a chord of harmony.

“It’s great to talk to Linda. What’s especially heartening is I think that she and the industry as a whole lower your temperature a little bit around the us versus them, traditional versus digital,” Winkler says in this interview with Beet.TV.

From the beginning of the digital era, people like Winkler found it challenging when broadcast networks “would come out and say digital has garbage content,” Winkler recalls. Paradoxically, some of the same networks would then implore buyers to patronize digital companies in which the networks had invested.

“The reality is any advertiser to succeed needs a nice mix of different types of media,” says Winkler. “You simply cannot deliver on your business objectives if you just pick a single medium.”

He adds that it’s “nice to see that Linda is embracing that idea of a portfolio approach, NBCU being a big part of that. Certainly they deliver fantastic content.”

OMD’s clients “have an insatiable appetite” for video content, according to Winkler. “When I say video content, I don’t mean tiny videos with no sound that are watched for 1.8 seconds. We’re talking about the full commercial experience.”

Beyond traditional TV, there are few places where brands can indulge in “the full commercial experience,” he adds. “Strangely enough, Snapchat is one of those places and it’s good to see that Linda and NBC have invested in that as well.”

Outside of “the video paradigm,” brands also need platforms like Facebook to reach audiences at scale. “You get great data, remarkable targeting with very little waste,” Winkler says.

As with any medium there are challenges. “But at the risk of saying something obvious, you have to spread the wealth when it comes to media planning because it’s the only way to deliver your business objectives.”

This video is from The New TV Ecosystem Forum at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by FreeWheel. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Virtual Brain Models Put A Face On Big Data: AI Guru Sagar Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:37:24 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — At this point in the early development of artificial intelligence, many people probably assume that typical AI applications revolve around textual deployments.

But we if you could use AI to create lifelike digital brains that, implanted in 3D facial models, could give life and character to virtual avatars?

As far-fetched as it may seem, that is exactly what Mark Sagar has done. The CEO of Soul Machines says his company has used IBM’s Watson cognitive computing service to inject emotion in to computer-generated movie characters – but the tech is not going to stop at Hollywood.

“How do we make characters that have their own digital life?,” asks Auckland-based Sagar, during this panel interview at Cannes Lions. “You almost have to give it a nervous system, a digital brain so it can think for itself.”

Sagar, who first pioneered the technology whilst working on the movie King Kong and who later built upon his work for Avatar, may be used to working with scripted characters – but these AI creations don’t necessarily have to follow the paths laid out for them.

“We have biologically-constrained cognitive architectures – these are brain models,” he says.”You don’t know how it’s going to act, it will have memory and so forth.

“The models can sense the environment, they can react, they can learn in real-time and we can connect those to Watson – you (can) have a conversation with it.”

Why is Sagar in Cannes, where the world’s advertisers and creative agencies are out in force to hear about what’s new and what’s next?

Because AI-driven facial models could help brands and enterprises create avatars that interact with customers in lifelike ways, tapping in to vast databases behind them and describing it in emotional mannerisms.

“If you’re a company and have big data that you want to go through, we can put a living face on it,” Sagar adds.”

This interview panel was chaired by The Weather Company CMO Jordan Bitterman. The Weather Company was acquired by IBM in 2015 and, together, the pair are leveraging IBM’s Watson to work on a range of AI-powered initiatives.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.

WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell on Cannes: Excessive & Expensive But No Boycott Fri, 23 Jun 2017 22:02:36 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Because it may have grown to become too big and too expensive, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity should be examined for its location and format, according to Sir Martin Sorrell. However, boycotting the event or not participating is not the right approach, according to the Founder & CEO of WPP.

Sorrell’s comments in this interview with Beet.TV came as the organizers of Cannes announced the formation of an advisory committee to help them decide what the event should consist of going forward amid controversy generated by the pullout next year of Publicis Groupe, as The Drum reports.

“Cannes as ever was a frenetic week,” says Sorrell. “Probably has become too big. Probably has become too expensive.”

Some people are questioning “whether Cannes should be Cannes, or Cannes should be in Cannes, or whether Cannes should be canned as somebody put it to me,” he adds. “I think it’s a good question.”

The value of Cannes to WPP “is that it’s important to our people and it’s important to our clients.” WPP staffers see the awards confab “as a way of enriching their careers and celebrating their success with their peers judging their work.” The holding company’s clients “also enjoy it in the sense that they get a great kick out of winning awards and being judged by their peers has having been responsible for producing great work.”

Seen in this light, Sorrell doesn’t think a boycott or withdrawal is helpful “but where it’s directionally correct is it does raise the question about whether this is the right place to do this and whether this is the right format.

“Because I think in certain respects, certainly in terms of expense, and maybe some excesses, it’s too much.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s Coverage of Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.

TV Is Moving Down The Funnel: Alphonso’s Gall Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:18:46 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — Once upon a time, television advertising used to be all about igniting consumers’ initial interest, sometimes long before an eventual purchase.

It’s called “branding”, raising awareness at the very start of the marketing funnel – with no real ability to track a TV ad’s specific impact on sales.

But all that is changing, thanks to new technology that tracks consumers’ TV viewing – and follows consumers all the way to the checkout.

“We index all of television across the United States, so we know what people are watching,” says Mark Gall, chief revenue officer of Alphonso, one of the companies enabling the new practice.

“We have distribution in one out of three US households, where we have the Alphonso SDK (software development kit). We’re able to recognise what’s on TV in one out of every three US TV households.

“The (consumers’) smartphone goes to the store and we’re able to identify that smartphone’s been in a store nine minutes, you’re purchasing a product, and you’re able to use Nielsen Catalina or ROI to demonstrate a sale.”

This kind of attribution for TV ad viewership could change the game, bringing far greater certainty to TV ad spending – and perhaps even change TV advertising in to a medium used by companies that don’t just want to raise awareness, they want to achieve specific end sales.

This video is from The Advanced TV Summit at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by AlphonsoFor more from the series, please visit this page.
AI Will Be Huge, But Hidden: Luma’s Kawaja Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:07:11 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — Who would ever have thought that the world’s biggest festival for celebrating creativity in marketing would have ended up discussing artificial intelligence, blockchain and cognitive technologies?

But all these new-wave developments could be set to revolutionise advertising, as well as the other industries they touch.

Companies like IBM and Microsoft are pitching their cognitive software technologies as helping to power deeper ad experiences or video recognition, amongst other applications. At the Cannes Lions advertising festival, IBM is showcasing its Watson AI tech, which also powers ad experiences with The Weather Company.

And the ad-tech sector’s biggest deal-maker says AI could be a big deal.

“AI is a big deal,” says Terence Kawaja, the CEO of media M&A advisory LUMA Partners. “It’s going to be everywhere – and yet it’s not a sector in and of itself.

“It’s going to be like ‘Intel Inside’ – every facet of workflow, monetisation, data will utilise AI. AI will be revolutionary but it will be on the inside, it should be ubiquitous.

“There’s great potential, especially when you get an industry (like advertising) that deals with billions and billions of payments and impressions. But it will be a ways to come.”

Once just for people in the ad community, Cannes Lions has now joined the ranks of CES and Davos amongst a handful of global super-conferences that now attract executive delegates from outside of their traditional core constituencies.

And Kawaja thinks the next wave of much-needed ad-tech consolidation is going to have been fuelled by this week’s Cannes festival.

“This has truly become a deal festival as much as it is about advertising or creative,” he adds.

“So many companies are here – the big strategic buyers, tech companies, agencies, all the media players – because it’s an aggregation of senior people.

“We’ve been inundated with discussions and dialog. I would expect a significant amount of activity to come out of the discussions that either started or at least were forward here in Cannes.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business and Watson. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Mastercard Ad Intelligence’s Jay Sears: More Brands Focused On Business Outcomes Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:04:19 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Advertisers have made big strides in understanding issues like digital ad viewability and consumer attention. Now they need to focus more on understanding business outcomes.

To Jay Sears, this means focusing not on proxies or clicks or even intention “but actual sales lift as the result of an exposed population seeing an ad.”

In this interview with Beet.TV, Sears, who is SVP of the Ad Intelligence unit of Mastercard, talks about assisting brands in the categories of restaurants, retail, travel and telcos and the emergence of more infrastructure around planning and measurement.

Although advertising starts with understanding consumer behavior, starting with purchase intent and ending with actual purchase, there are many steps in between, according to Sears.

Because of its trove of privacy compliant consumer data, Mastercard Ad Intelligence is “in a unique position to help the advertiser in the start of that journey and also to complete the journey and understand the return on ad spend and what the impact has been on sales,” he says.

While a lot of infrastructure that grew up around ad technology continues to consolidate, what’s probably more interesting for brands is the convergence of advertising technology and marketing technology.

In marketing tech, there’s an understanding of planning and insights and measurement. Meanwhile, ad-tech has concentrated more on activation.

“As these two things come together, the marketer is weighing in more heavily in the decision making, which is a sign of marketing maturity and it’s a good thing,” says Sears.

He foresees a whole lot more infrastructure built out around “measurement and around planning and understanding in an audience-driven way.”

Asked to reflect on the evolution of media agencies, Sears observes that many have taken capabilities around data-driven advertising that were originally developed in specialty groups within a holding company “and making them broadly available in their operating agencies and pushing them closer to clients. That should be a big benefit for clients.”

A major trend he sees is brands taking action on managing their ad investments as they relate to business outcomes, having already solved for things like viewabiity and attention.

“So just keep going and let’s understand the impact all the way down to purchase, to sales impact,” Sears says.

This video is from The Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Britain’s Sky is Building ‘Common Addressable TV Currency’ With Rival Virgin Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:22:41 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES — The UK’s two leading pay-TV providers have teamed to develop a “common currency” for addressable TV advertising in the country.

Sky (satellite) and Virgin Media (cable) may be fierce rivals, but this week they announced a “strategic partnership” to scale advanced TV ad targeting opportunities, against the common enemy of online platforms.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Sky’s advanced TV advertising director Jamie West singles out two online behemoths, not Virgin, as competition.

“We’re trying to build a common currency and platform for advertisers to transact addressable TV,” he says.

“Our universe potential will grow to some 30 million individuals in the UK. That puts us on a level playing field with the big tech giants, whether that be Facebook or Google, in terms of reach.”

So, what is the partnership all about?

Sky’s AdSmart has been in market now for three years, and works by storing TV ads on satellite set-top boxes for playback in commercial breaks, targeted based on Sky’s deep customer data. It is arguably the world’s leading advanced TV ad targeting deployment, and is due for expansion to Sky’s Ireland, Italy and Germany operations.

Virgin will now begin using AdSmart for its own addressable offering.

Specifically, Virgin Media will enable AdSmart data targeting for customised ad delivery through its platform, for channels owned by Sky or its channel partners NBCU, Fox, A+E and Viacom/Channel 5.

West is realistic about addressable’s roll-out pace. “We haven’t got every single agency using addressable week-in, week-out or month-in, month-out,” he acknowledges, but says the benefits are significant. “Addressable brings optionality and choice – it means TV is more flexible for a brand.”

AI-Powered ‘Digital Humans’ Debut at Cannes Lions Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:54:42 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – First off, don’t call them avatars. They’re “digital humans” with their own biologically inspired emotional models. And they are ready to help bring brands to life in amazing ways.

In this, Soul Machines Co-Founder & CEO Mark Sagar walks The Weather Company CMO Jordan Bitterman through three immersive and utterly absorbing examples of how AI technology is “humanizing” computing.  The Weather Company is part of IBM’s Watson group and Watson is being used by Soul Machines.

“You can basically bring anything to life, whether it’s a virtual spokesperson or we can even animate non-human characters,” Sagar says as he begins to summon virtual humans on a computer screen. “So it creates a level of engagement never seen before.”

The first example that Sagar presents is a baby girl who appears to be sitting in a car seat directly facing him. “She can see my face. She’s responding to me. She’s not copying me. She’s got her own emotional models,” Sagar explains.

This becomes evident when Sagar moves away from the computer. The girl’s expression sours as her eyes try to find him. A graph superimposed on the computer screen shows her stress level rising. When Sagar comes back into view and speaks, she smiles. “I’m basically calming her down with my voice and my facial expressions. Just like you do with a child.”

When he shows her a book, she tells him what it is. Her pupils respond as he adjusts her simulated level of dopamine.

The next two examples are virtual female adults who are programmed to be able to interact with humans, for example answering questions from customers on behalf of brands. All the while showing genuine human emotions.

“We’ve actually got absolutely precise control over what their faces can do,” Sagar says, noting that every single virtual eyelash is constructed individually.

To Sagar, such uses of technology represents for brands a “whole vocabulary which has been untapped so far in terms of human computer interaction and it’s totally ready to go now.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business and Watson. For more from the series, please visit this page.

[m]PLATFORM COO Nicolle Pangis Explains GroupM’s Entry To AI Via Co-Pilot Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:46:26 +0000 [...]]]> CANNES – Just as brands want to have a singular view of their users and prospects, forward-thinking media investment companies know they can no longer maintain channel-specific teams. It takes big investments in technology—some of it artificial intelligence-enhanced—to accomplish both.

In the past 12 months alone, GroupM launched its global [m]PLATFORM and then bolstered its Xaxis programmatic digital media platform with the machine learning initiative called Co-Pilot and finally the acquisition of Triad Retail Media.

[m]PLATFORM is aimed at “streamlining and simplifying” so that GroupM’s clients can “see their consumers and prospective in the same way across the globe,” Nicolle Pangis, the Global COO of [m]PLATFORM, says in this interview with Beet.TV.

From an organizational standpoint, [m]PLATFORM has brought together teams that used to plan, activate, execute and optimized clients’ investments across channels. This process had historically been done “in different pockets in the agency,” Pangis says. “Now we’re at the point of maturation of our industry that it makes sense to bring those all back together and create a single view.”

The biggest single acquisition by Xaxis was that of Triad, which helps retailers sell ads on their websites, for a sum in the neighborhood of $300 million, as The Wall Street Journal reports. Scaling through Xaxis’s many international offices affords Triad the opportunity to help retailers that don’t already sell ads on their websites.

Co-Pilot represents the entry point to machine learning, which is one aspect of AI. In the simplest terms, Co-Pilot’s contribution to brands engaging effectively with consumers is its ability to predict what may happen when ads are served “or what has the highest probability of happening” based on what it’s seen in the past.

“The great thing about technologies like this is that it can take both data that is specifically advertiser driven or just macro economic driven,” says Pangis.

Like other AI-inspired technology, Co-Pilot “learns as it goes.”

Among its abilities are predicting whether a particular ad impression might be viewable based on history and whether a specific consumer has engaged with ads before.

“As a technology it’s not one that is stagnant,” Pangis says. “It’s not like you put a model in and you leave it forever. You’re constantly putting in models and they’re constantly learning.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.