Friday, June 25, 2010

What Alan Wurtzel Isn’t Telling You

Alan Wurtzel is the president of research and media development for NBC Universal Television Group.

He recently spoke about the limits of set-top box data. Other journalists picked up the story and ran headlines that read: Limitations Found In Set-Top Box Data. Which, for those of us who draw conclusions from headlines without reading further, can be very misleading.

Are there limitations? Yes. If you want to use set-top box data as a means to fine-tuning your buy based on demographic data, good luck.

But what Wurtzel didn’t mention is what set-top box data can deliver. It can tell us when a viewer opted-in to watch an advertiser’s message and when they opted out of that message. In other words, set-top box data can deliver in and out metrics for the creative itself.

These aren’t the metrics that any media buyer would be interested in. But, they are metrics advertisers should be interested in. Because what these metrics tell the advertiser is how much of their advertising is actually being consumed by the viewers.

If they ran a 60-second spot, were all 60 seconds watched? Or, only 10 of those 60 seconds? And, if it was only 10 seconds out of the 60, should the advertiser still pay their creative agency full-fare for the 50 seconds that weren’t consumed?

After all, isn’t the agency’s job to create interest and engagement in the advertising they produce?

Especially if the consumer initially opted in to watch the spot. In other words, they’ve already exhibited some initial interest. The job of the agency is to then maintain that interest.

Wurtzel has that data. Wurtzel could sell that data.

Why isn’t Wurtzel talking about that? Because the truth is, the numbers aren’t very encouraging. Most of the commercials that run, even those that people choose to opt-in to, aren’t delivering their money’s worth to the advertiser.

If I were a marketer, I’d want to know that.

If I were a network, I wouldn’t want my advertisers to know that. Unless, of course, they pay me a lot of money for that data.

So, is it a lack of a monetization plan, or a lack of relevant data that is keeping Mr. Wurtzel quiet?

My money is on the former.

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