A+E Taps Rovi For TV Ad-Vantage

Programmer Rolls Out Rovi’s Data-Driven Ad Optimizer Platform

A+E Networks is the first announced programmer to roll out a data-driven platform from Rovi aimed at helping TV advertisers reach targeted audiences.

A+E is using that platform, called Ad Optimizer, to sell inventory and drive more value across its stable of linear TV channels, a group that includes A&E, Lifetime, History, and Military History, among others.

Ad Optimizer is not an addressable advertising system, but instead uses a variety of data sources to generate ad plans that can target specific audience profiles based on what’s known about a programmer's ad inventory and the data that’s available to Rovi’s platform. That audience-based selling approach, by way of example, could look across A+E’s inventory to determine which upcoming avails over-index to a likely buyer of Ford trucks.

Instead of focusing on buying inventory that skews toward men who are 18 to 39 years old, for example, “we just take that [targeting] to the next step,” John Hoctor, Rovi’s general manager, analytics, said.

Rovi considers Ad Optimizer data-agnostic, as it’s capable of linking set-top data with data sets from sources such as Nielsen and Rentrak to build targeted audiences for advertisers. The idea is to deliver the kind of audience granularity offered in digital ad platforms but bridging it to workflows that are used by TV ad buyers and seller.

“We really tried to coexist with the TV ecosystem rather than try to change the TV ecosystem…and leverage additional data sets to understand the true target audience for an advertiser,” Hoctor said. “There’s a lot of pressure from advertisers and their agencies to understand with more granularity what the audience characteristics are of the placements that are being made.”

“Rovi’s analytics platform will allow us to offer our advertising customers similar levels of data-driven audience targeting that they’ve become accustomed to with digital media,” said Mel Berning, president, chief revenue officer, A+E Networks, in a statement. “We are excited to leverage the power of the Rovi Ad Optimizer because it allows us to manage our inventory more effectively, which will further differentiate A+E Networks in our ability to deliver even more value to our advertisers.”

“Rovi’s Ad Optimizer is a natural fit for Horizon Media because the platform speaks directly to a television buyer,” David Campanelli, senior vice president, director of national television, Horizon Media, an ad buyer that will also take advantage of Ad Optimizer. “Being able to easily and intelligently transact A+E Networks inventory takes the guesswork out of TV ad buying.”

While Ad Optimizer is not a programmatic advertising system, partners can tie Ad Optimizer to into their own automated, programmatic platforms, Hoctor said.

A+E is the first announced programmer to deploy Ad Optimizer, a product that Rovi introduced at the 2014 International CES. Other still-unnamed cable networks and MSOs are also deploying it, according to Hoctor.

Rovi’s Ad Optimizer competes with companies such as AOL’s Adap.tv, Videology, TubeMogul and others that have developed advanced advertising systems for the digital realm but are likewise extending those platforms to support traditional TV advertising ecosystems. Another is AT&T Ad Works, whose Blueprint platform uses anonymous and aggregate proprietary viewership data from 15 million U-verse boxes to develop customized, data-optimized media plans.