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VideoAmp unites TV and digital audiences with ‘ATV Ignite’

VideoAmp, the RTL Group-backed ad tech provider that enables cross-platform media planning, buying and measurement, says it’s created the first “truly cross-screen” advertising solution that pairs linear TV audiences with digital data. The product, called ATV Ignite, is an SaaS platform for marketers when planning linear TV media buying.

“Our mission has been from the beginning to enable content owners and advertisers to transact across screens seamless,” said Jay Prasad, chief strategy and business officer at VideoAmp. “That is a very big vision. It’s not necessarily the easiest to execute, because things are silo’d. The data in television and digital are totally separate, and getting them to work together is no easy task.”

That separation has indeed been one of the stumbling blocks in getting more advanced targeting capabilities to the TV set. The confluence of TV and video is all but inevitable at this point, but the advertising world has been slower to adapt to these changes. “At some point, there won’t be TV and video, there will just be video,” Prasad said. “But you can’t forget that 60%, 70%, 80% of all video advertising dollars are still linear TV.”

VideoAmp is trying to create an opportunity in that pain point. It’s not just bringing digital intelligence into the world linear TV. The company is also trying to optimize the planning and buying of ad inventory, in order to reach targeted demographics, no matter what screen they’re using, and in a way that fits how linear TV advertising is bought:  upfront commitments, scatter buys, programmatic exchanges and private marketplaces.

“We didn’t want to only be about digital,” Prasad said. “We wanted to think about how we can start with a linear TV product that’s already architected – and the connection and hooks are all there – to be connected to all of the other digital formats.”

By doing that, the company hopes to enable the type of cross-platform ad buying and selling that will allow marketers and networks to more easily respond to the rapid fragmentation of audiences and shifting viewer habits.

“We’ve been able to create a link between digital identity and linear TV viewership,” Prasad said. “That is allowing us to create these applications that become the foundation for optimizing and buying television in a new way, and the next step of connecting those TV plans to cross-create plans.”

In order to close that gap between TV and digital, VideoAmp partnered with comScore, gaining access to data from some 40 million set-top boxes. “That probably translates to somewhere between 14 million and 15 million households,” Prasad said. “We were able to integrate the raw viewership data from what comScore is collecting across all these different cable operators.” VideoAmp’s ATV Ignite matches that TV viewing data with the company’s device graph, which tracks IP addresses, device IDs and cookies that is 170 million consumers strong; along with DMA schedule and program data from third-party TV analytics firms. VideoAmp has partnered with LiveRamp, Neustar, and NinthDecimal for data and WideOrbit and Clypd advanced TV inventory.

Taken all together, the SaaS platform enables marketers to quickly create data-driven media plans on the fly, “doing all of these billions of rows of calculations in seconds,” he said. For marketers planning their media buys, the ATV Ignite platform is able to identify what shows, dayparts and channels index well for the target audience.

“Instead of slotting the SUV ads wherever, you’re slotting them into programming that indexes high for SUV buyers,” Prasad said.  “That’s taking a digital approach to advertising and bringing it to television.” The platform is able to better optimize the upfront schedule and add more intelligence into scatter buys.

“The byproduct of this optimization and planning being done with digital data is that we are already connected with all the digital inventory. We can find SUV buyers on mobile, OTT and desktop already,” Prasad said. “We can actually give you reach and frequency against this target audience between television and digital.”

The idea is to give marketers the ability to reach the same target audiences across digital and linear, and using the same data sets – which VideoAmp claims is a new precedent in the business. “That’s a big step in the industry,” Prasad said.

To us it does seem a new idea, but many TV platforms are going down the programmatic route, giving direct access to audiences through demographics, rather than through content that generally attracts a particular demographic, and you can’t do both.

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