SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—As the industry learns to transact in new and hopefully more uniform ways, Disney is building targeting segments that will ultimately represent the totality of its audiences. It’s a process over which Disney has far more control than, say, reconciling disparities in current digital measurement options.

To make audience targeting more mainstream and move away from age and gender demographics requires a combination of technology and education, says Laura Nelson, SVP, Audience Solutions, Disney Advertising Sales. It’s a question of “how do we transform this industry into transacting in new ways,” Nelson says in this interview at Beet Retreat 2018.

“The ability to go and negotiate a deal and have the right conversations with the right people, both on the publisher side and on the buying side, is a challenge.”

Things like framing and negotiating deals during the annual Upfront selling ritual are among the obstacles. “When a large amount of money is transacted in a quick period of time, how do you get into the nitty gritty of an advanced deal makes it more challenging and can sometimes slow down a process that people don’t necessarily want to be very slow,” Nelson says.

In the quest for more advanced targeting, advertisers are a big part of the push. Meanwhile, agencies that are under more competitive pressure than ever before try to navigate the maze of publishers they need to deal with to transact business. “But I also think they’re incredibly busy,” she says of the buy-side crowd.

Asked how comScore and Nielsen could swiftly conjure up a solution to ease cross-platform complications, Nelson points to “great disparities between the measurement, particularly on the digital side. So how you’re actually transacting with the client and the value of a buy varies depending on the source. And that creates a lot of issues on our side from an inventory management perspective and a forecasting perspective.”

With new mediums like OTT “exploding,” she says “measurement needs to catch up with transactions.”

From a privacy standpoint, Disney’s approach to harnessing user data for targeting purposes is “careful and cautious” as it creates unique audience segments from fans and guests. That spectrum includes users of mobile gaming and websites, people with a known affinity for Disney products and content and, ultimately, information about fans of ESPN “so that we can create audience segments that represent the totality of our audience and make partnerships with our clients to match that information to then target against.

“The goal is to pre-target who they’re looking for ahead of time so that at the back end when you’re closing the loop you know you’ve reached that person versus trying to guess.”

This video was produced in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Beet.TV executive retreat. Please find more videos from the series on this page. The Beet Retreat was presented by NCC along with Amobee, Dish Media, Oath and Google.