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.