Back in 2015, Viacom was one of the first broadcast owners to sell ads based on data about advertisers’ audiences.

The product it launched to do that was called Vantage, and is now also used by rivals like Fox. In this video interview with Beet.TV, the man who runs it explains the undertaking.

“How do we plan the campaign?,” asks Gabe Bevilacqua, the SVP for product management for advanced advertising at Viacom. “For us, this has been a major product investment in first, our linear optimization platform, which is Vantage.

“With Vantage, what we need to do is get really, really smart about how very specific target audiences are watching television, both in linear as well as in other environments.

“That’s a big investments for us in data science, to understand not just how many target impressions can we expect in each unit on our portfolio’s weekly schedule, but also getting into things like how do we start to predict reach?”

Other programmers have since launched in to offering ad buyers the ability to use data sets in targeting TV viewers, even in linear.

Bevilacqua’s Viacom is a member of OpenAP – the consortium also comprising NBCU, Turner and Fox – through which the groups strive to impose commonality on audience data sets, easing the path for advertisers to buy targeted campaigns across the networks.

Fox tok on Viacom’s Vantage in mid-2018.

“This is a huge investment for us,” Bevilacqua says. “We are on year five of developing Vantage. We feel really good about the product and the outcomes that we can deliver, but (it’s a) ton of work for us.”

This video was produced in New York City at Identity in Focus: Understanding the Cross-Screen Consumer in a Fragmented World, a Beet.TV Leadership Forum, presented by 4INFO and hosted by Viacom. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.