With a glass half-full, the era of addressable and connected television promises advertisers precision targeting to individual households and digitals-style, data-informed ad planning.

Many in the industry with the scars from trying to make it happen would tell you a different story.

That is why, in the last two years, we have seen a series of initiatives and consortia aiming at harmonizing the spaghetti-like system of understanding and buying across a growing plethora of platforms.

Now another initiative, the TV Data Initiative, is launching, to tackle what it says is a “mess”.

New Initiative

In this discussion recorded for Beet.TV, the two people behind TV Data Initiative discuss what is happening:

In essence, the initiative is a thought leadership exercise that aims to help light the path to a more joined-up future.

Members include DISH Media, Blockgraph, TransUnion with TruOptik, MadHive, TVSquared, Eyeota and VideoAmp.

“Our plan is really to engage pretty wide in deeply with the industry over the months ahead and put together a really thoughtful diagnostic of the market,” says Watts.

“It’s going to be a big all-inclusive project, lots of engagement with the industry, lots of thoughtful research events and seminars.”

The Problem

So, why are the two Jons getting involved?

“Our research early on when we were piecing this together, suggested that it’s not working as well as it could do, and there’s huge opportunity to improve,” Watts says.

Steuer goes farther. “This is a mess,” he says.

  • “There are many different data sets that can be used to enhance the impact of, of television, but they’re hard to get to, they’re hard to use, and they’re even in many ways hard for advertisers to understand.”
  • “The ecosystem is very fragmented and poorly defined. There are tons of different inventory pools that are, in some cases, solved by multiple different providers, but the buy-side doesn’t necessarily understand that there’s no real independent auditing of data and no unified cross-platform measurement solution today.
  • “(Data targeting) is still cumbersome and difficult and expensive … this is happening in a world where there are growing concerns about consumer privacy and security and changes to the data landscape.”

The Solution

The pair aim to help by conducting research, holding talks, seminars and workshops, Watts says:

  • “(We will provide a) really clear overview of the landscape to look at the different relationships between the different participants in the ecosystem.”
  • “We’re particularly going to look at the use cases, the data, and unpack what needs to happen from a workflow point of view to execute around those.”
  • “We’re going to have to assess some of the barriers and blockages and look at the scope for collective action to address and unpack those.”

“Hopefully by the summer, we’ll have a really useful thoughtful piece of work that can really help industry to move forward.”