CANNES — In the year of its tenth anniversary, and after five years working on the technology, Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) is bolting on machine learning to some of its existing services.

NCS is the unit which uses consumer data to help consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies target ads more effectively.

Coinciding with Cannes Lions, it announced it would add machine learning – the practice through which algorithms can learn underlying patterns so as to perform repetitive future tasks without explicit instruction – to its targeting and measurement products:

  • NCS Target – for creating audience segments
  • NCS Sales Effect – for sales lift measurement
  • More services coming later in 2019

“We’ve been working on machine learning and artificial intelligence for the last five years, with a lot of testing and rigour,” says NCS’ CEO Linda Dupree, in this video interview with Beet.TV. “We’re harvesting a lot of the innovation work that we’ve invested in for a long period of time.”

Why is NCS adding machine learning? In order to speed up the creation of audience segments and the measurement of sales lift from advertisements – so that Nielsen Catalina Solutions can begin to play a different role for customers.

“We have to find new ways to accelerate, to add agility to the system,” Dupree says. “It’s really to add more time, time for reflection, for reflection around insights for our clients, reflection time and consulting time for Nielsen Catalina associates, so that they can actually dig in with clients and with brands and better understand what those data are telling us.”

There are few specific details as yet on how machine learning will be deployed to speed up these processes.

A year ago, a survey found almost a third of advertising and publishing professionals do not confidently understand the potential application of artificial intelligence to their work.

NCS’s Dupree tells MTM co-founder Jon Watts for Beet.TV that, in 2019, many brands are finding it harder to win new customers, so there is a renewed focus on retaining existing ones.

This video is part of Beet.TV coverage of the Future of TV is Now, a day-long event presented by Innovid.  To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.   You can find all of Beet.TV’s coverage of Cannes on this page