ESPN is heading to this year’s Cannes Lions as part of Walt Disney Co.’s “one-stop shop” platform, as the sports giant begins to experiment with household-addressable television and retargeting OTT viewers across its digital footprint. “Disney certainly has a lot to say at Cannes this year,” ESPN’s Vikram Somaya, SVP, Global Data Officer & Ad Platforms, says in this interview with Beet.TV.
“We do believe that the horse has left the stable in terms of us looking at audience buying on linear.”
While it’s been doing linear optimization for ad targeting, Disney has begun to see “what addressable looks and feels like for our audiences,” says Somaya. This year and next, the company will work with addressable partners to target ads at the household level.
ESPN offers a product that “essentially takes what we’re doing on OTT, which is completely measurable from a digital perspective, and then retargets those messages across our digital footprint,” Somaya explains. An ESPN viewer who is known to have seen a 30-second spot on OTT can be sequentially targeted with digital ads across the ESPN digital portfolio.
“As part of our integration more broadly with the Walt Disney Company we’re now looking to see how we do that broadly across all of the Walt Disney Company properties,” he says.
With the retargeting offering, ESPN can take a 30-second brand spot and “connect it to a series of digital notions that can actually do something as complex as sequential advertising to a single viewer. We can take a thirty-second spot and do a series of sixes against that same audience member across our digital networks.”
Based on ESPN’s own research and that of partners it’s worked with, the retargeting “has a really positive impact.”
Another ESPN offering, called “reactive TV,” enables advertisers to build campaigns around major sports milestones that are known in advance—for example, a player’s home run tally.
Having recently reorganized its sales, technology, direct-to-consumer and international businesses under Kevin Mayer, who had been Chief Strategy Officer at Disney, “we are now open for business as a one-stop shop,” says Somaya in reference to the upcoming Cannes event. “A lot of the conversations we will be having in Cannes will be around that notion.
This video is part of The Road to Cannes, a preview of topics to be addressed at Cannes Lions. The series is presented by the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. For more videos from the series, please visit this page. FreeWheel is a Comcast company.