LAS VEGAS – If multichannel video programming distributors won’t share their set-top box data, how do media buyers and sellers expand the practice of audience buying? Not quickly.

This is the main takeaway from a Beet.TV panel discussion at CES 2017 focusing on advanced television targeting. Held at held the OMD Oasis at The Venetian, the panel featured sell-side executives from NBCUniversal and Turner, TV data specialist Kristin Dolan and Omnicom Media Group’s Chief Research Officer, Jonathan Steuer.

Steuer started things off on a positive note by opining that the industry has made more progress in using set-top box data for audience targeting and performance measurement in the last 18 months than it had in the past eight years. The elephant in the room: How buyers can use the data at scale across multiple TV networks and inventory pools in the most efficient way.

“The at scale is the tricky part,” said Steuer, whose research background includes a long stint at TiVo.

The desire for data consolidation didn’t come as a surprise to Denise Colella, SVP, Advanced Ad Products & Strategy at NBCU. “I think we hear that loud and clear from all the folks on the buy side,” said Colella. “People want to do more audience buying. It isn’t easy.”

She added that it’s “incumbent upon us as an industry to figure out how do we facilitate more buying of audience products.”

Michael Strober, EVP, Client Strategy & Ad Innovation at Turner, agreed that the process must be made more user friendly, particularly in comparison with the current modus operandi of most TV ad buyers.

“Agencies are structured and can do an enormous amount of business buying on Nielsen demo guarantees and running schedules. It’s a machine,” said Strober. “You talk about audience targeting and it’s like you threw a wrench in the gears.”

Since MVPD’s “won’t share their data,” moderator Matt Spiegel from MediaLink asked how data consolidation could occur.

Acknowledging reality, Strober said, “Those guys aren’t going to send data to each other” and suggested they should “put it in some sort of common format in one or a few different common repositories that made it possible for folks on our side of the table to access it.”

Kristin Dolan, CEO of 605, which helps buyers and sellers analyze audience data, said consolidation would help everyone. “On the sell side the opportunity to have people really want your inventory because it’s going to reach the people they’re trying to reach is helpful. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?” said Dolan.

Asked by Spiegel what entity could do the consolidating, Steuer suggested it would have to be standalone companies “because the alternative is people grading their own homework.”

Dolan also cited the reluctance to share on the part of MVPD’s, but said their data could be anonymized so that it can’t be used improperly. “Everybody’s trying to solve the same problem of how do I contribute without it negatively impacting me,” said Dolan. “I want the benefit but I don’t want the negative.”

This video was produced as part Beet. TV’s coverage of CES 2017 presented by 605. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.