If you’ve ever dressed like a Ninja Turtle or a SpongeBob character, you know what it’s like to be a passionate fan of a television show. Viacom spends a lot of time studying what its fans do online and offline and uses the data to best connect them with brands.

“Fans are at the heart of everything we do at Viacom,” says Gabe Bevilacqua, SVP, Product Management, Viacom Vantage. “And that gets expressed a lot of ways.”

Fan insights are key to matching Viacom’s brands with marketers seeking to ride the coattails of viewer enthusiasm. “What we try to do is take some data and apply it and understand a little more deeply what makes a fan. To make that real for the marketer,” Bevilacqua says in this interview with Beet.TV.

Studying TV ad engagement, Viacom analyzes second-by-second viewing data, differences in context and differences across audiences. “To the other end of the spectrum, we also think about how fans engage with specific brands,” he says.

It’s not about making gut decisions to decide which brands are best aligned with which viewers but studying affinity maps and audience models to find “a great fit for this show or this star.”

Asked about conversations during this year’s TV Upfront regarding more advanced targeting of linear audiences, Bevilacqua says the launch of the OpenAP consortium of Fox, Turner and Viacom is not a beta test or a pilot program.

“We’ve done this a lot of times. We are in full-scale product mode,” he says.

OpenAP goes beyond simply targeting specific audiences just to find higher concentrations of them.

“There’s other marketing objectives and goals, everything from the integrated marketing elements to let’s think about reach and how we’re using data to manage reach against a target. Let’s think about how we’re managing frequency,” Bevilacqua says.

This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.