Some people use data to better target advertising at consumers, others use it to better embrace viewers of content, and still others use data to do both at the same time.

In the latter case, Viacom is exploiting the new opportunities to use consumer intelligence not just to help out its advertisers but also to boost its own consumption.

As somebody who is trying to get people to engage with our brands … and to be able to deliver creative content that’s relevant for individual consumers, that’s driven by what we know about the consumer … is really a great, tremendous advancement,” according to Julian  Zilberbrand, EVP Audience Science at Viacom, in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“You’ll see by our ratings numbers, which are on the upswing, that approach has really had a direct impact on what our linear ratings.”

Amongst Viacom’s initiatives in the use of data to improve TV and advertising, the company is a member of the OpenAP consortium – alongside Fox and Turner – that aims to make the selling of audience-based TV ads better using common audience data sets.

In quarterly earnings reported this summer, Viacom ad sales dipped slightly versus the prior year but sales of content to pay-TV partners grew slightly. But, as pay-TV companies themselves face a challenge to hold on to viewers, the latter is not expected to continue.

Zilberbrand says the aim is to cater to viewers’ passions.

“We believe holistically that our fans are really the base of what we’re trying to do,” he adds. “We’re trying to please and create value for our fans. The more we engage with them, and the more we know about them, the better we’re able to deliver customised content that fits their need.”

This interview was recorded at the TV Data Deep Dive with Alphonso, presented by The Drum, during Advertising Week in New York City.