Playing both ends against the middle is an age-old tactic with which most children and parents are familiar. For TiVo, in its new iteration after being acquired by Rovi, the idiom sums up the combined forces being brought to bear on the business of audience targeting.
Working the front end and back end of television audience targeting and measurement is TiVo’s legacy research analytics, which provides insights into networks and programs. “But there’s this whole middle layer where the ad sellers actually have to operationalize the promise of audience targeting. They have to look at the inventory level, what ad inventory, what avails are going to deliver this audience target,” Joan FitzGerald, VP, Product Management & Business Development at TiVo, says in an interview with Beet.TV.
That middle is Rovi’s sweet spot. TiVo’s viewership data merged with Rovi’s analytics tools will enable better targeting of media spend for marketers and improved advertising inventory yield for media sellers. Rovi is best known as the company that has provided the onscreen TV guide listings and metadata that power the media-search function on many platforms, along with advertising analytics and cloud services.
After the TiVo acquisition, the resulting entity kept the TiVo brand name. TiVo generates reports containing indices showing how programs rank for certain target audiences. “If you were a broadcaster and have a certain program and you’re achieving a 120 index for Ford F150 buyers, that means your show is likely to have 20 percent more Ford F150 buyers in the audience,” explains FitzGerald, who spent six years at ratings provider Arbitron and an equal tenure at metrics company comScore.
But when it comes to sellers actually deploying their inventory, “You’re not going to deliver the highest target every time,” FitzGerald says. “You’re going to have a mix of targets for the advertisers, because the reality is you’re guaranteeing based on GRP’s.”
As the industry moves toward guarantees based on reach, TiVo will help media sellers optimize their inventory based on what is known about those audiences in the past.
FitzGerald acknowledges that Nielsen is still “a super important part of the equation” and its data is used by TiVo for currency measurement purposes. “Age and gender targeting is not going away. But bringing these alternatives in there to provide more visibility into the system is one of the major road map items,” says FitzGerald.