CANNES – Even if unified cross-screen audience measurement remains a bridge too far at present, understanding linear television audiences gets better all the time. This is something that A+E Networks can attest to following an engagement with TV analytics firm 605 in which ad exposure data was matched with transactional records.

The result, as moderator Matt Spiegel of MediaLink termed it during an MEC-sponsored panel discussion at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, could well be dubbed “myth busting.”

The A+E project involved some 350 million ad-exposure records for 40 million addressable-TV-enabled households over a few months matched with transactional data to produce indices, according to panelist Ben Tatta, Co-Founder & President of 605.

While it’s true that a network like Lifetime is a great venue for reaching buyers of health care, beauty and packaged-goods products, digging deeper unearthed some interesting insights, said panelist Mel Berning, A+E’s President and Chief Revenue Officer.

“What we’re also finding out is that it’s a wonderful environment for reaching women who are the principle decision makers for buying cars. Or investments,” Berning explained.

“One of the things that was really interesting was that across the board for all of the A+E Networks, responsiveness to TV way over-indexed versus the average television viewer,” said Tatta.

Now for the myth busting. It turns out that Lifetime over-indexed both for viewers who are particularly weight conscious and those who are burger lovers. Men’s apparel was among the top-indexed categories for Lifetime viewers, while A+E overall “indexed high against younger families,” running counter to “today’s myth that younger audiences are migrating off the dial,” said Tatta.

As the discussion turned to how a company like A+E balances programming across platforms with the most appropriate ad formats, Berning separated out linear. For those nearly 100 million households, “The quality of the viewing experience is such a key factor to the environment on those networks,” he said. “We’re thinking about ad loads, we’re thinking about the ability to reduce clutter, to deliver a more engaged audience to the ad.”

With cross-platform, advertisers are at “different places in terms of the way they’re thinking about building their media plan across platforms,” Berning said. “It’s very easy to engage advertisers in terms of their requirements for linear. As you then engage them on what are your requirements on other platforms, there is a huge organizational effort to bring all of those pieces together.”

This video is from The Advanced TV Summit at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by Alphonso. For more from the series, please visit this page.