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Advanced Ads: Gillman: Screen Size Influences Viewing Behavior

TWC Ad Sales Chief Looking for Data to Inform Multiplatform Ad Load, Messaging Choices 2/27/2014 4:48 PM Eastern


New York-- As Time Warner Cable Media Services has entered the world of TV Everywhere via a platform that enables advertisers to dynamically insert customizable, targeted ads into live TV feeds across various devices, the head of the MSO’s ad sales unit wants to gauge consumers' viewing behaviors and how that should better inform attendant ad loads and messaging.

Joan Gillman, executive vice president and COO of TWC Media Services, said that with the video world becoming even more fragmented via the IPTV environment, the TWC Media Ads Everywhere platform is helping the operator and its clients to better understand varied vehicle consumption and how they compare to linear TV watching.

Gillman, speaking during the opening keynote at NewBay Media’s "Advanced Advertising: Profiting from a Targeted Audience" event at the Grand Hyatt here Thursday afternoon, said early returns show that IPTV video looks very similar to linear consumption in that viewers spend more time with smart TVs or devices connected to the bigger screens than they do with tablets, down to smartphones. Noting that the shows are the same, she said “it’s the screen influencing the behavior, not the content.”

That, in turn, begs questions about whether the ad load should be the same, or if different commercials should be put into the mix. Gillman said that in 2014 TWC Media Services wants to set up data collection points to prove whether it makes sense to use similar ad models and creative, or deploy fresh strategies thereunto.

Gillman said that where devices are located may also factor into the equation, pointing out that in many cases rooms, where subscribers previously hooked up second and third TVs to cable, are now home to Roku and Xbox units. She also said that video consumption is different in the living room than in other parts of the home, and that tablets are now functioning as second screens in bedrooms. She noted that where WiFi is in the home it is technically possible to denote where particular shows are being watched and on what platform.

Multichannel News editor in chief Mark Robichaux turned the conversation to politics in Texas, as the Lone Star state is holding primaries for 33 races on March 4. Gillman said that advertising lessons can be learned from this arena, and that TWC Media Services has seen different approaches from set-top box data from the Obama presidential re-election campaign, and the ramp-up to last year's New York City Mayoral race.

Gillman said that in New York the candidates' schedule focus was on six networks, whereas in Texas it’s “going 24 or 26 deep” with targets on specific shows. She said that executives running political campaigns have access to files containing information about those likely to vote, and those who are categorized as swing voters.  As lists get narrower, she said, the campaign managers have to determine what message to send to those who are sure to turn out to vote, versus those on the fence. “They are very smart about narrow targeting,” she said.   

Gillman said that given campaigns' relatively short windows -- and decisions shaped from voter file, census map and set-top box data -- leaders have to make calls quickly, and they can judge by the end result whether media determinations were correctly or wrongly played.

As for the ad industry at large, Gillman said the ecosystem is complex and that a lot of automation is required. The goal is that as product/service campaigns unfold there will be enough data available for media/planning executives to “course correct” and optimize in mid-flight. “We’re not really going to move the needle until we act on the data,” she said.



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