Now that audiences have so many TV viewing options, advertisers risk duplicating or misdirecting their efforts to deliver the right ads to the right viewer.

So companies like VideoAmp are aiming to build a more reliable way to gain a single, cross-device, cross-service profile of a viewer.

In its latest such effort, the LA-based company has built a platform that unites two key types of disparate viewing-platform data:

  • Smart TV audience behavior, as revealed by automated content recognition (ACR) tracking of viewers’ actual device behaviour, from two smart TV makers.
  • Set-top box viewing data from 38 MVPDs.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Michael Parkes, VideoAmp’s chief revenue officer, explains why such a system is necessary for planning, buying and measuring ads.

OTT (over-the-top TV) has been a huge challenge to measure,” Parkes says. “Not all of the devices within the OTT landscape pass IDs that can be used for advertising.

“IP address is an identifier used within OTT which can be reliable (or) unreliable. So OTT and the ability to match that to traditional digital mobile IDs and cookies is a big challenge, and something that we’ve been working to solve.”

Commingling and deduplicating

VideoAmp’s solution is one of several that aims to “commingle” viewing data from OTT devices and more conventional set-top boxes, both of which may be used alternately by a household, and to assign ownership of those devices to a given, anonymized household, in order to help advertisers avoid repeatedly exposing viewers to the same ads.

VideoAmp’s covers 26 million households and 37 million devices.

We can see full TV viewership as well as ad exposure data across all of those households,” Parkes says. “We can measure almost any audience across that, whether it’s an in-market auto buyer, or whether it’s someone that purchased (a) particular product. Clients  can overlay that understanding against their traditional Nielsen age, gender, GRP planning and measurement capabilities.”

VideoAmp’s dataset doesn’t just splice the two major platform sources together. It also includes using demographic weights to correct for demographic skews, as well as modeling audiences to match the size and composition of the US census.

And it purports to mitigate the effects of “phantom viewing” sessions, where cable TV boxes are often left on even when the TV is turned off.

Omnicom Media Group is using it within its own Omni TV planning and measurement tool, and it hopes the suite could be the foundation for an industry-wide measurement dataset, according to chief research officer Jonathan Steuer, quoted in VideoAmp’s announcement.