ORLANDO—FreeWheel’s DRIVE is a new suite of advanced advertising solutions designed to provide the “missing link” to reaching OTT and VOD viewers: holistic measurement. By partnering with Nielsen and its Digital Ad Ratings (DAR), buyers can apply age and gender targeting and/or measurement and guarantees to advanced TV campaigns.

“We’re trying to put this all together, create scale and apply data and measurement so it’s a really transparent, easy to execute environment for buyers,” says Brian Wallach, SVP, Chief Revenue Officer, Advanced TV, FreeWheel Markets.

In this interview with Beet.TV at the recent Association of National Advertisers’ Masters of Marketing Conference, Wallach explains how partnering with Nielsen also benefits digital media buyers and talks about the big rise in live digital TV viewing and the challenges ahead for reaching those audiences.

“We’re seeing a lot of growth in live TV consumption on apps and connected TV devices. That’s a huge opportunity. That’s probably one of the biggest areas that we see growing quickly,” he says.

Unlike some people, Wallach doesn’t believe that the trend of viewers migrating from linear TV is a catastrophe. “I think there’s still plenty of scale in linear TV. We’re just all trying to focus on the new living room and the TV being a device rather than it being the distribution means,” he says.

“It’s really exciting to us because linear TV buyers are asking how to do their linear campaigns with age and gender and GRPs and also tap into this new supply in OTT,” Wallach adds. “And we’re the only people in town really that have this kind of scale on full-episode inventory across the TV programmer universe versus a whole bunch of clips or long-tail websites that are trying to mimic that experience.”

Nielsen’s DAR provides a comprehensive view of digital audiences in a way comparable to linear TV. Using FreeWheel’s proprietary methodology, DRIVE enables marketers to assess total TV reach across linear and digital viewing, control reach and frequency, and ultimately, tie outcomes to anonymized, household-level data, according to a FreeWheel news release. Wallach says the need for DRIVE’s capabilities spans both linear TV and digital media buyers.

“As you start to explore different measurement types and all the different data partners that we’ll work with out there, making scale against this inventory isn’t just a TV buyers need. Digital buyers are looking for this type of need as well and they have all sorts of psychographic data that they want to target against and we’ll be able to unlock that on this inventory at scale within the next couple of months.”

Looking ahead, Wallach summarizes the challenges related to the rise in viewing of live programming via non-linear means, namely the way it’s delivered. With a traditional digital video ad campaign, there’s a start date and an end date, with everything in between evenly paced over the course of the flight.

“Live happens when live happens. So it’s going to take some time to create a difference in planning and execution and people acknowledging that it’s still great quality inventory and it’s actually really good scale in digital as a complement to TV.”

This series “Growing Brands and Driving Results,” was produced at the ANA Masters in Marketing ’18 conference in Orlando. The series is sponsored by the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. Please find additional coverage here.