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Turner’s Levy Thinks Audience Buying Will Grow in Upfront

Lower commercial loads pay off, network president says 5/15/2017 8:00 AM Eastern
Turner president David Levy: Doubling down on targeted ads in the upfront

Turner wants to double the number of advertisers it has buying targeted audiences during this upfront.

Related: Day-by-Day Guide to the Upfronts May 15-18 [subscription required]

One of the pioneers in adopting data-driven advertising, Turner is also one of the founders of Open AP, a consortium that plans to standardize the way target audiences are defined and measured.

With issues in the digital world regarding ad placement, efficiency and measurement abounding, Turner president David Levy figures marketers are eager to get the kind of targeting digital promises from TV and Open AP that will simplify the process.

“We’ve had numerous conversations about it with advertisers,” Levy said. “There’s a lot of interest and I think it’s going to play a big part in this upfront.”

Related: Complete Coverage of the 2017 Upfronts

Levy said he’d like to see a large percentage of Turner’s upfront based on audiences, but he noted that it’s clear how many advertisers are ready to jump in.

“I think we had close to 25 advertisers last year in audience segments,” he said. “If I can double that number, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Related: Abruzzese’s Guide to the Upfronts [subscription required]

When clients buy audiences, there are several advantages for Turner. The buys are network-agnostic and daypart-agnostic, which opens the door to more clients taking inventory they might not have otherwise.

Levy also believes video-on-demand is going to play a much bigger role in the upfront and that most deals will be done on the C7 metric because changes in audience behavior have rendered C3 outdated.

Turner’s brands now take an “omni-channel approach,” across platforms. “That’s basically digital, mobile, VOD and television all rolled up so your brand is seen on more devices and more platforms than ever today.”

Turner has also been looking to put consumers first, improving the viewer experience by lowering ad loads on some of its networks. Original programs on TNT and TBS carry lighter loads. Commercials have been cut in half on truTV.

These are no longer experiments or tests. Levy said Turner will be showing advertisers the results, which have been higher ratings for the network, and higher recall and purchase intent for clients.

“These are factors you’re willing to pay for if you’re in an environment that works,” Levy said.

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