SAN JUAN, PR — Not many entertainment companies out there can claim the audience scale that Disney can.

After several acquisitions like Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox in recent years, that scale has growth even further, as the company also looks to develop a stronger relationship of its own with paying customers.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Dana McGraw – Vice President, Audience Modeling & Data Science, Disney & ESPN Advertising Sales and Distribution – lifts the lid on how Disney is leveraging consumer data across its range of services, and how it will do so in the future.

“As the Walt Disney company we have a wealth of first party data so it puts us in a really good position to be able to kind of understand our consumers and our guests,” McGraw says.

“We have a kind of corporate-level data management platform that houses data, that helps us have clean data that’s easily managed across. And then from an ad sales perspective, we really operate a bit separately from that so that we make sure that we’re respecting, permissioning and consent in the utmost form.

“We have many, many touch points. We have theme parks, we have our movie studio, we have consumer products business, retail store business as well … ESPN, ABC, Freeform now with Nat Geo and FX on board. So there’s all of these touch points including all of our owned and operated apps, businesses and all the different ways you can interact with us.”

McGraw explains that Disney is working on using that data to deeply understand different types of customers.

Then it is feeding those understandings back in to making different ad spaces available to the right ad buyer.

“We’ve built models on all different kinds of behavioural aspects – gamers versus non gamers, movie theatre goers, all different sort of audience segments that people can buy and we can then target against,” she says.

“Now we’ve extended into offering that same inventory on connected TV. And of course the longterm vision is to think about how do you advertise sequentially, whether it be linear to digital? So you are exposed on linear, what’s the next in the sequence? So it’s not just the incrementality of connected TV which is certainly of significant importance to most advertisers, but it’s also the supplementality.”

Following the acquisitions which have significantly grown the scale, reach and influence of Disney, the company is busy tweaking its new portfolio assets to sing from the same data hymnsheet.

McGraw says she is “extending our models to all of the Fox assets that we inherited”.

Across the piece, the idea is to knit together a consumer’s life across all of the Disney footprint, from screen to theme park, in a bid to understand their next actions.

“That’s been a work to sort of ingest that data, understand the data and extend any models so that you can truly buy across our portfolio on an audience segment behaviorally targeted basis,” she adds.

“Offering that at scale on connected TV over time is really exciting to us. You start thinking about the sequence of messaging and not just the reach or incremental reach and reach of frequency.

“You’re thinking about sequencing (ads) more holistically. So those things are really exciting. It’s exciting to us. If you look at our footprint and we sort of have this really broad reach, so now how do we make that even more meaningful for an advertiser?”

McGraw was interviewed by TV[R]EV co-founder Alan Wolk at Beet Retreat San Juan 2020, where she was a participant.

This video was produced at the Beet Retreat San Juan 2020 sponsored by 605, DISH Media, NBCU, Roundel & Tubi. For more videos from the series, please visit this landing page.