Viacom’s Colleen Fahey Rush longs for the day when target definitions that fuel the proprietary advanced television solutions built by individual media companies can be standardized. However, “I think it’s going to take a little longer than 12 months for what comes next,” Rush says in an interview with Beet.TV.
The company’s EVP and Chief Research Officer acknowledges that “There’s a lot going on when it comes to research and measurement” for better targeting of TV viewers. “And there’s a lot going on when it comes to us not waiting for Nielsen and comScore to get their act together for true cross-platform, complete measurement,” Rush says.
For Viacom, its most promising solution thus far is its Vantage platform, “which is really about advanced segments targeting,” she adds. In other words, “Bringing some of the targeting practices that have been very familiar to people in the digital space to TV. But it’s still sight, sound and motion within the context of premium content.”
As MediaPost reports, Vantage gave Viacom a big lift in the recent Upfront negotiations between buyers and sellers, exceeding internal expectations. On a recent earnings call, CEO Philippe Dauman said the company expected to triple the number of Vantage deals from the prior year but had eclipsed that goal, according to MediaPost.
Instead of aiming at broad audiences like women 18-49 or men 18-34, advanced targeting gives advertisers and agencies “much crisper definitions of who that Taco Bell breakfast burrito customer is. It’s not just men 18 to 34,” Rush says.
By deploying the proper audience definition along with other data sets besides Nielsen or comScore data “so you can find that breakfast burrito customer on all of your different programs, on all of your different brands, isn’t that a powerful proposition?” asks Rush. “Yes it is, and we’re getting a lot of traction with a lot of different types of marketers.”
While that’s all well and good, Rush looks ahead to standardized audience definitions across media sellers.
“Companies like Viacom and others have been building advanced audience solutions, but right now they’re separate,” she observes. “One thing that maybe would be powerful to come next is if we could somehow work across media companies so that the target definitions can be standardized.”
Such collaboration would attract more advertisers. “And it will scale faster. Which I think will be valuable to the marketer as well as valuable to the media company. But I think that could take a little bit of time,” Rush says.