Dentsu, Comscore partnership set to boost local TV measurement with advanced analytics

Local television has just received a major upgrade in its measurement tools: measurement service Comscore and agency holding company Dentsu have unveiled a year-long test of the use of advanced analytics in local investing, taking the medium well beyond outdated age and gender demographics — the modern-day equivalent of Writing with stone and chisel.

Dentsu has signed up for Comscore’s local TV currency, which is largely based on input from set-top boxes, and will use the data for purchase and post-buy evaluation across its three media agencies: Carat, dentsuX and iProspect . Although it’s a supplemental currency feed, it could one day replace other data sources, said Jennifer Hungerbuhler, executive vice president of local and audio investment at Dentsu Media US

For years, the local television business has worked in the shadow of national television to attract advertising money. This is largely the result of less sophisticated measurement tools and the fact that it’s easier for national advertisers to shop nationally than it is to string together regional purchases for national reach (although this can sometimes be less expensive).

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The application of the Comscore currency to actual purchases is scheduled to go live in January 2023, but has been tested in two of the top 10 local TV markets over the past year, Hungerbuhler said. “Because we’re testing it, it’s complementary, but it has the potential to replace it as we continue to grow as we scale our customer base to leverage advanced audiences,” she said.

“This is an industry first and a tremendous shift for the local advertising measurement market,” said Carol Hinnant, Comscore’s chief revenue officer, who noted that this will benefit not only the top 25 markets, but well into the 100s Market size (TV markets are ranked by viewership and extend into the 200s).

“The value proposition is that we’re only trying to have the luxury of choice if you want to do something beyond age and gender for the locals, similar to what has been available on the national site for many years,” added Kate Roganti, Sr Vice President of Commercial at Comscore.

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Hungerbuhler said two Dentsu customers were involved in the testing, neither of which she would name other than to name their categories: retail and quick-service restaurants.

“In the past, our TV buyers haven’t been able to take advantage of expanded audiences and data-driven purchasing,” she said. “Through our partnership with Comscore, we can now leverage this audience that we created in M1 [Dentsu’s internal data platform], and matching it with Comscore set-top box data to help us better understand the viewing preferences of our audiences in each market. Now we can start transacting – we will be able to guarantee and buy and post to that audience.”

At the Television Bureau of Advertising’s annual Forward conference Thursday in New York, TVB President Steve Lanzano interviewed Adam Gerber, GroupM’s Executive Director of US Investment Strategy, who agreed the time was right for local television to become a much more complex media market if it is to remain competitive.

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“Measurement is a big issue for our clients, especially as they move from historical models where they focused on intrusive advertising models (via exposure and reach) to models that are about results and accountability,” Gerber told Lanzano . “There is a lot of work that we need to do as an industry to help manage this sea change that is having a tremendous impact on us as agencies. Because all the tools we used back then haven’t changed—planning tools, which we use to predict what’s going to happen, and the actual activation tools, which we use to drive deals and manage purchases. These will not work in the new world as things move to a much more impression-based model with dynamic insertion.”

Dentsu, Comscore partnership set to boost local TV measurement with advanced analytics

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