Dolans re-emerge with 605 audience measurement deal at Charter

The Dolans, the New York family which is famous for once owning New York’s favorite cable firm Cablevision, as well as Madison Square Gardens, has got back onto the pay TV horse with a new Audience Measurement system from its firm 605. Charter this week took a share in, and partnered 605, agreeing to share its click data (set top viewing data extracted from remote control usage) with the company.

What 605 does is offer a highly granular method for reaching key audiences for advertisers. It’s not programmatic exactly, but works out the most sensible programs for advertisers to advertise in if they want to reach certain types of categories of viewers, such as those keen to buy a new car.

605 is described as an advanced data analytics company and with the Charter deal boasts that it now has access to the viewing preferences of 40 million US homes. Charter now gets to appoint two directors to the board of 605 a company run by Kristin Dolan, based on the company the Dolan Family Ventures group acquired last November, trading as Analytics Media Group. James Dolan is the executive chairman.

The move should be seen, not so much as a way to avoid the influence of Nielsen’s audience measurement, but to accentuate parts of Charter’s assets, so that local Charter advertising becomes more appealing. Much of the local cable advertising slots go unsold right now, partly because the more generic Nielsen data can promise little about them.

Its website described what the technology does, “Our television optimization engine ingests custom TV ratings, audience overlap data, and the price of available TV inventory, then generates a detailed media plan which optimizes reach, frequency and cost per impression to a particular target audience. You are then free to purchase your media from wherever you would like.”

Charter will now provide 605 with aggregated and anonymized TV platform data from all of its cable systems nationally without sharing any of a customers’ personally identifiable data. 605 will apply analytics to that data to improve advertising and campaign measurement options and the Charter advertising sales force will take that to market. Meanwhile 605 will be able to market that data for purposes other than ad sales.

Kristin Dolan, said “Programmers, distributors, advertisers and agencies are moving quickly to embrace audience-based advertising and measurement and we are at the forefront of this trend. We believe our efforts can accelerate the transformation in the advertising industry’s approach to measurement and accountability by moving beyond traditional ratings to include impressions in buying decisions. Given our close and longstanding relationship with their management team, we are pleased to have Charter as our strategic partner at 605.” Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge worked at Cablevision until 2011.

The system has already been working at Charter since May through its Spectrum Reach operation, known as the AudienceApp. Spectrum Reach will launch the product in Austin on August 15 and complete the roll out across the company’s entire footprint by mid-2018. However once it is rolled out internally, Charter may well go up against Nielsen with the same data, by selling it directly to advertising agencies.

In the past Charter has sold access to the same data to Nielsen and far more recently to ComScore which also processes set-top box data from Dish, AT&T, DirecTV and Cox. We’re unsure if ComScore will continue to have access once this deal with 605 is in play, but cannot see why not. No details of the deal with 605 were released in terms of Charter’s financial contribution, nor its ownership level in 605.