For most of the three decades that David Levy has been with Turner, it’s been advertising first, distribution second and consumer experience third. “We’ve now flipped that over the last couple of years and consumer experience is number one, distribution second and advertising third,” Levy says.
As he looks ahead to CES 2019, he talks about “redefining” television, outdated audience metrics and the need to preserve the traditional cable/satellite/telco distribution business as viewing fragments across devices.
“Television has to be redefined and has to be redefined in a few different places,” prominent among them the big screen that hangs on a wall, Levy says in this interview with Beet.TV. “Television programing is still a very, very popular thing that people watch.”
Also in need of reordering is Nielsen’s “outdated metric system that we’ve been using really since the 1960’s. Television isn’t about primetime only. It’s about all dayparts. “We need to think about not selling this in dayparts but selling it in audience segments.”
He expects that among the topics of conversation at CES will be addressable targeting and attribution of campaigns to business outcomes.
Asked about the effect of AT&T’s bringing Warner Media into its arsenal of advertising and media assets, Levy points to premium content. “On the AT&T side, they were looking for that quality, premium programming and I think that’s one of the reasons why they purchased us.”
For Turner, “why I think it’s so attractive from an AT&T perspective is the data they’re going to provide,” encompassing 170 million consumer touchpoints. “That data, coupled with our first-party data and mapping it together, is going to allow us to have better information around a few things.”
With viewers as the top priority, the data will help to inform program production, provide a better understanding of viewers and facilitate better targeting for clients. But there are more fundamental issues as well.
“First and foremost, we need to keep the ecosystem that we live in today very healthy,” Levy says. “We have a great relationship with our cable operators, with our satellite providers and with our telco companies and now the virtual MVPD’s. That is a very healthy business and is going to continue to be a very healthy business at our company.”
But as a modern media company, on top of that ecosystem “we also need to have a one-on-one relationship with the consumer. Personalize content for them if need be.”
He notes that truTV has reduced almost 50% of all the primetime inventory to half of what it was three years ago, while all of TNT programming originals are now produced with about 50% fewer ads. “We’re trying to give the consumer a better experience, which is very, very important.”
Using data to generate more contextually relevant advertising amid less commercial load “is going to be a better consumer experience also.”