From its roots aggregating spot cable television buys for advertisers, NCC Media has learned how to “rationalize the irrational.” This will certainly come in handy as it expands beyond linear TV into digital.

“Historically, we were seen as just an ad rep organization and what we’re trying to do is build adtech underneath it that supports it and drive operational efficiencies into that space,” says NCC Media Chief Data Officer Bob Ivins. In this interview with Beet.TV, he discusses how NCC hopes to unify audience targeting transactions across TV distributors and shares his thoughts on viewer data and privacy.

“I think that the cable operators have all operated in their own swim lanes,” Ivins says. “They’ve taken their subscriber files, they’ve appended variables to it or attributes to it, they’ve used that within their infrastructure to do zone-based addressability, but they’ve all been kind of one-off.”

Some operators are versed in video on demand and digital but there’s no uniformity.

“You end up with this bingo board of distributor and capabilities and there’s no one line or one row that matches for everybody. What NCC is trying to do is we’re trying to harmonize, standardize and federate those capabilities so that you can actually do one buy, one place and have national capabilities within an infrastructure.”

Consumer TV and digital data from NCC owners Charter Communications, Comcast and Cox Communications forms the basis of a converged data set that NCC says will represent “the largest data set in television,” as CEO Nicolle Pangis explains in this video interview.

Ivins joined NCC in July 2018, having played a pioneering role in the development of the data-driven advertising ecosystem for three decades. He held executive roles at comScore, Mindshare, Comcast, Yahoo and Nielsen.

Noting that “we rationalized the irrational going back in time,” Ivins refers to a period when executing a local spot cable buy in a market like Philadelphia required transacting with anywhere from four to six operators.

“It was really hard to do an operation like that. NCC stepped in, they harmonized the process so you had one order, they distributed the execution, you had one set of affidavits that went back to the client,” Ivins says. “We’re kind of doing the exact same thing, but now instead of in that environment we’re doing it a new environment and hopefully we’ll extend it to cross-platform.”

Asked about data and privacy, Ivins believes the industry recognizes its responsibility in ingesting and understanding behavioral data. Given the head start that digital media companies have in advanced consumer targeting, “I think it’s now time for the TV industry to really take advantage of that.”

Consumers should have an “active opportunity” to understand what companies like NCC intend to do with their data, according to Ivins. “And I think that notice and choice needs to get really solidified in the industry and if it does, I think we should have the rights to do it. As long as the consumer knows what we’re doing with it.”