New York -- The set-top box is a gold mine of consumer data, agreed the pundits on the Success Stories panel at B&C/Multichannel's Advanced Advertising event here Wednesday, and the savvier operators are far along in gathering, analyzing and monetizing that intelligence.
Moderator Tim Hanlon, founder and CEO of The Vertere Group, noted that television may have finally joined the web in having access to Big Data. "Until recently we were not able to crowbar open the set top box," he said.
Hanlon was joined onstage at the Roosevelt Hotel ballroom by Cathy Hetzel, corporate president and president, AMI division, Rentrak; and Warren Schlichting, senior vice president of media sales and analytics at Dish Network. Schlichting said Dish was getting real revenue from a national addressable ad product. "It's real and it works and we're enjoying real business with it," he said.
As many as 8 million of Dish's 14 million subscriber homes are equipped for addressable ads. And the spots go well beyond the geo-targeted ads cable has been serving for years. "I'm not turning my back on nine years in cable," he said, "but these are not zoned ads."
Examples of advanced advertising showcased by the panelists included Dish sending different spots to homeowners and renters, and two ad campaigns by Obama For America leading up to Election Day: one that addressed adults 35-64 in swing states, and a more sophisticated one using Dish subs and the PAC's voter list to specifically target sporadic voters and swing voters.
"It's about making the buy much more effective," said Hetzel.
Schlicting said Dish seeks to work with other subscription TV carriers to increase its addressable ads footprint. "We've extended a hand of partnership to other operators," he said. "We have to work together on this. We have to make it easy for people to buy scale."
Hetzel said Rentrak's census-based measurement is already there. "We have the opportunity to pull all the information together," she said. "We are ready."