Control of data and the future of TV advertising hero graphic

Control of data and the future of TV advertising

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By Phil Keys


TV of Tomorrow is a bi-annual bi-coastal event gathering movers and shakers from the television industry to discuss, as the event name suggests, the future of television. The Spring 2018 TV of Tomorrow event, held in the beautiful setting of the Presidio in San Francisco, was particularly focused on the future of TV advertising. Intertrust’s own Talal Shamoon was invited to participate in the final panel discussion of the event fittingly entitled “The Big Picture: Advertising and the TV of Tomorrow.” The conversation appropriately soon delved into some of the intricacies and controversies surrounding the life blood of the next generation of TV advertising: data.

The panel started off with the moderator, Tom Morgan of, quoting a TV executive saying that a popular U.S. TV show Judge Judy served more audience ads every day than all of the video ads from YouTube in a day. He used this to set off a discussion of the continuing large advertising budgets for traditional broadcast TV versus “digital,” i.e. Internet based advertising. Several members of the panel made the point that digital really has the potential to increase the market size of TV advertising by allowing things like campaigns that can continue from the TV set to mobile and other screens that consumers use in their lives.

Shamoon cautioned the optimism with a couple of points. One is that with Android increasingly showing up in TVs and cars as well as smartphones, Google is gaining more control over the data flowing into the advertising market. Shamoon said the industry needs to avoid “everything becoming a channel on Google.” The other was that privacy issues have potentially disabled targeted advertising business models. The GDPR regulations that recently went into effect in the European Union “was designed to reign in Facebook and Google but is putting everyone else on their feet because everyone has a bunch of radioactive data leaking all over the Internet, (Shamoon)” Intertrust saw this issue coming some time ago and responded by bringing to market Personagraph, a customer data platform designed from the ground up to use rights management to respect data privacy and security. Shamoon suggested a platform like Personagraph could be used by TV companies to “Googleize yourself,” i.e. gain control over your own data and use it for your own business models.

Others can also control your data
Jodie McAfee, the senior vice president of sales and marketing at Inscape, was also on the panel. Inscape is a company that gathers TV audience data through the use of automatic content recognition (ACR), technology that analyzes the content being played back on a TV or other devices. Inscape uses ACR to come up with audience viewing data from smart TV sets. McAfee described a conversation his company had with a representative from a major television network group. Since Inscape gathered their own data, they could license data about the network’s viewership back to the network. They also could license data from their competitors. ”Wait, you’re licensing our competitors data?” said McAfee quoting the representative, then noting “the dot connection that happened in that conversation, yeah we can do that too.”

What is likely to have happened was the network realized that if they could get their competitor’s data, the reverse was also true. This conversation emphasized the reality many media companies face today, namely that the methods for gathering data about media in the digital age have greatly increased, further diluting the control media companies have over it. Shamoon’s suggestion that media companies can use today’s technology to gain more control over their own data seems particularly apt in light of this reality.

The importance of control over data was reflected in another thread in the conversation, namely that the television set is now just one point in the consumer’s digital journey that marketers are trying to reach. As Shamoon pointed out, mobile and data analytics technology is now reaching the point where marketers can follow a consumer from the ad on the TV set to where they actually go to the store to purchase the product. “You’ve got enough sensors on a person with mobile devices and sensors and things like that to where you can literally have this continuous advertising experience,” (Shamoon). Abbey Thomas, the chief marketing officer of Tremor Video DSP agreed. “We think of that like a carousel; there are so many different points, places, and contacts to reach that new mom who needs to go out and buy diapers,” (Thomas). Thomas said this gave advertisers more flexibility in creating messages to reach their customers than the old 30 second commercial spots TV used to serve up.

With all these possibilities, media companies need to consider where they are in the advertising value chain. Controlling their own data will increase their capability of making that position a more profitable one.


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