LOS ANGELES — It is an irony of the modern media age that, in an era of abundant data, so much of it remains out of reach.

That leaves agencies like Essence striving to knit together solutions for advertisers using the data streams they can get their hands on.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Mike Fisher, VP, Advanced TV & Audio, Essence, explains what he is doing to compel TV makers to open their viewing data back up.

Tectonic TV

“The landscape is very fragmented, fragmented more than ever before,” Fisher complains, in the discussion with Mediatel Events co-founder Justin Lebbon.

“People aren’t just watching linear or just watching addressably-delivered on-demand or just watching streaming – they’re watching all three.

“So anything that we can get from this media seller that allows us to apply an identity – a measurement factor, any sort of audience awareness to the buy – is critical for us to be able to structure a cross platform, cross screen, cross delivery buy that looks to our clients like traditional television.”

The drive to commingle

For a while, it looked like automated content recognition (ACR), which identifies what is on a viewing screen and turns it into available data, would piece things together.

But, as the electronics manufacturers have realized the value of that data, more of them have begun holding on to it. Now some are complaining of the emergence of a new “walled garden” – television.

That perturbs Fisher.

“We’re seeing that, especially on the linear side, the automated content recognition (ACR data) vendors aren’t allowing their data to be commingled,” he says.

‘Pressure’ to renegotiate ACR

Whilst TV manufacturers may see ACR is a differentiator, Fisher says he doesn’t see ACR vendors as competitors. Instead, he just wants “a whole-house view of media consumption happening in the bedroom, happening in the living room, happening in the bathroom … or else it’s going to be no good us”.

So, what can an agency like Essence do about it all?

Fisher is confident agencies can play hard-ball, putting “pressure” on the tech providers.

“We’re able to start putting in our deal terms (with) these solutions that we’re looking for and use our power to move the ecosystem forward,” he says.

“It’s going to take three or four more years – three or four more upfront (ad sales) cycles, the way we think – to actually make it realistic enough to have scale. But we’ve started making some good steps.”

You are watching coverage from Beet Retreat Santa Monica 2021, presented by FreeWheel, IRIS.TV, Samba TV, TransUnion & Warner Music Group. For more videos, please visit this page.